Later this year, it is widely expected that changes will be made to the practical driving test in the UK, with some new elements being introduced and some of the current ones removed.
You’ll no longer be asked to do a turn in the road, for example. But the ‘independent drive’ section, where you are asked to follow road signs to a certain destination for 10 minutes, will be longer – and you’ll need to follow a sat nav instead.
What changes are being made to the practical driving test?
The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is proposing changes to the driving test, which could take effect later this year. A consultation took place last year and a trial has been taking place in 32 locations around the country with more than 4,500 learner drivers and 850 instructors in 32 locations.
If the changes go ahead, this is how the driving test might change:
1. The independent driving part of your test will be twice as long – 20 minutes instead of 10.
2. During the independent drive, you’ll be asked to use a Satellite Navigation system to find your way to a location of the examiner’s choice, rather than using road signs.
3. You’ll no longer be asked to perform a reverse around the corner manoeuvre. Instead, you could be asked to show the examiner how well you can reverse into, and out of, a parking bay.
4. Two of your vehicle safety questions will be asked while on the move, instead of at the start of the test. This could be something like being asked to operate the rear heated window whilst driving.
Why are the changes needed?
The DVSA wants to make the test more reflective of the type of driving that you will be doing, once you’ve passed your test.
So, the new driving test is more focused on the key skills you’ll need for day to day driving. Of course the use of sat-navs is much more common now than it was just a few years ago – so it makes sense that they want to make the ‘independent drive’ part of your test look at how well you find your way using one of the devices. The key will be using the sat nav for directions, but remembering to ‘read’ the road for information about speed, positioning and any hazards.
Will the new driving test be harder to pass?
With the right preparation from your driving instructor, it shouldn’t be. At Progress Driving School we’ll make sure that when the changes come into force in our area, that all our learners know exactly what to expect and are as well-prepared as they can be.
The DVSA has said that it hopes, by putting more emphasis on independent driving during the test, that pupils will do more of this whilst out on their lessons beforehand. This will help you get used to all kinds of realistic traffic conditions and more closely replicate the kinds of journeys you might want to make once you pass your test.
The proposals also men that manoeuvres will be incorporated into the test in a more natural way – this could mean that, rather than finding a quiet back street, the examiner will be looking to see your vehicle handling skills and how you interact with other road users in a “more active environment”. The DVSA have indicated that they do believe this will be more “challenging” than it currently is – in fact, that is their intention.
Above all, the aim of the driving test is to see whether you are a safe driver – which is ultimately what you, we and the DVSA all want!
What if I don’t have a sat nav?
Don’t worry – we’ll provide this for your test. We’ll also make sure you get chance to practice using it in the run up to your test.
Just ask your Progress driving instructor who will be happy to advise you.
Ready to start learning to drive with Progress Driving School?
We offer competitively priced driving instruction in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Atherton, Croft, Culcheth, Garswood, Glazebury, Golborne, Haydock, Leigh, Lowton, Newton-le-Willows, St Helens, Tyldesley, Warrington, Wigan an surrounding areas.