Since December 2017, the driving test has changed to a new format. The aim of this is to improve new learners safety on the road ensure new drivers have the skills required for driving confidently in the future. The driving test normally lasts around 40 minutes and there are four key areas where the test has changed.
Independent driving increased
Previously, you had to drive independently on your driving test. However this only lasted around 10 minutes and involved the driving examiner providing you with directions to follow. The amount of independent driving has now doubled to roughly half of the test, around 20 minutes. This means learners must think more about the roads they are driving on and be confident on as they could be taken on a variety of different roads.
Following Sat nav directions
As part of the independent driving part of the driving test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The examiner will bring their own sat nav and will also set-up the route and directions, so you do not need to learn how to use the sat nav. Instead, you need to be able to follow the directions that it is providing. It’s estimated that approximately 80% of tests will involve using a sat nav. Those that don’t will involve following traffic signs instead. This is great real world driving experience as lot’s of people buy sat navs once they have passed their test.
Change in reversing manoeuvres
In the past, the three-point turn and reversing round a corner could both be tested on the driving test. However this is no longer the case, but you should still be taught them by your instructor. Instead, you will now be asked to do one of the three manoeuvres below:
- Bay parking – reversing in to a parking space and driving out or driving into a parking space and reversing out.
- Parallel parking at the side on the road
- Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing and rejoining traffic.
Answering a question on vehicle safety when driving
You will still be asked questions about vehicle safety. However, these will now be when you are driving, instead of at the beginning of the test. There will be a ‘tell me’ question where you will explain how to carry out a safety task. There will also be a ‘show me’ question where you will have to show carrying out a safety task. For example, showing how to use the wipers to wash the windscreen.
These changes affect everything taking out a driving test. The time of the driving test is not changing and is still roughly 40 minutes long and the cost is also staying the same. The changes to the driving test are being made to reduce the number of young people involved in collisions. You can read more about changes to the driving test on the Government website.