The Test Is Changing! Here's What You Need To Know.

The Test Is Changing! Here's What You Need To Know. 15/11/2017

So, the Driving Test in England, Scotland and Wales is changing on the 4th December 2017, but what does this mean? How will it change and who does it affect?

In short, the changes will affect anyone taking a Practical Driving Test on or after 4th December 2017. Here’s some important information on what we think are the important bits (here is a link. to the DVSA’s official page on the changes)

4 main changes

1. More time spent (20 mins) on the ‘Independent Drive’

The independent driving section is being extended from 10 minutes, to 20 minutes. During this ‘Independent Drive’, you must drive without constant direction from the examiner. Bearing in mind the whole test takes around 40 minutes, this Independent phase is now going to account for half the total test time!

2. Following a Sat Nav

During the ‘Independent Drive’ section of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. Don’t worry, you won’t need to set the route, or be able to operate the Sat Nav. All you have to do is follow the instructions it gives. This means you can practice using a Sat Nav using any make or model.

Please note that you can’t use your own Sat Nav on test though, it has to be the one supplied by the examiner. If you’re unsure of where to go after the Sat Nav has given an instruction, you are allowed to get confirmation from the examiner. It also doesn’t matter if you go the wrong way, so long as you do it safely and don’t make a fault.

The DVSA have said that 1 in 5 tests will not use a Sat Nav. In this instance, you’ll be asked to follow a set of sign posts leading to a destination.

3. Changes to the reversing manoeuvres

Out go the ‘left and right reverse around a corner’ and also the ‘turn-in-the-road’ (commonly known as the 3-point turn). These three manoeuvres will no longer be part of the test, but the DVSA say that you should still be taught them by your instructor as you may need to do them once you have passed.

With the new format, you’ll be asked to do 1 of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • Reverse park – (known as the parallel park) at the side of the road
  • Park in a bay – you might be asked to either drive in and reverse back out, or reverse in and then drive out (your examiner will tell you which to do
  • Pull up (as if parking) on the right-hand side of the road, then you’ll reverse for 2 car lengths and re-join the traffic

Your instructor will teach you how to do all of these manoeuvres well, so it won’t matter which one you get on your test.

4. A couple of vehicle safety questions

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety check questions during your driving test – these are already part of the current test and are commonly referred to as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question (with this you will explain how you’d carry out a safety task). This will be at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (with this one you will show how you’d carry out a safety task). This will be while you’re driving - for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

The pass mark, emergency stop, length of test and cost are not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

1 in 3 tests will still involve an emergency stop. Your instructor will train you how to do this and move away again safely.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

So, why change the driving test?

In a nutshell, it’s all to do with Road Safety. Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over 25% of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.
The DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed and injured in collisions. It’s also clear that they’re introducing more ‘real life’ skill testing with the Sat Nav guided drive and the ‘Show me’ questions, on the move.
These changes are being made because:

  • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) - changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
  • 52% of car drivers now have a Sat Nav and this will increase. The DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable - they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

If you have any questions about the new driving test, you would speak with your instructor in the first instance. Alternatively, you can contact us with any queries on 0800 316 3633 (free from UK landlines and mobiles).

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