On Monday 4th December 2017, some very significant alterations were made to the UK practical driving test.
If you didn’t know about them in detail by now, then it is worth reading on and becoming familiar with them. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) aimed to make the test more modern and appropriate for the digital age we are in, as well as a better measure of the safety of learner drivers.
So what’s different? Well, there are four main big changes, but the roads on which the practical driving tests will be taking place have also been changed. In the past, quiet and low-risk roads have been used for a large part of driving examinations, which isn’t necessarily representative of high-speed traffic conditions. Consequently, the test will be changed to include more high-speed and high-traffic routes. As these type of roads are where most accidents leading to casualties take place, this revision endeavours to reduce deaths on the road from collisions by making sure that learner drivers are assessed in these conditions.
As well as the tests taking place on busier routes, there has been an increase in the time the learner spends driving independently, without any instructions from the examiner. While this has always been a section of around ten minutes in duration, the DVSA has decided to increase that to twenty minutes. New drivers report that the independent driving section of the test helps make driving out on the road for the first time a lot easier. Therefore this should help build confidence and independent skills in learners, as well as giving examiners more opportunity to identify faults.
With 52% of car drivers owning a sat-nav, it’s no wonder that this is now a part of the UK practical driving test. Indeed, as part of the independent driving section, the learner must demonstrate aptitude at following sat-nav directions. The examiner will supply the sat-nav (they are using TomTom Start 52s) and set the destination. It doesn’t matter if a wrong turn is made, but of course any dangerous faults will be penalised. Not all drivers will be asked to demonstrate following a sat-nav – one in five will be asked to follow road signs to a destination as was the case before.
Reversing around a corner and performing a turn in the road are now a thing of the past. Instead, the DVSA has decided that learners must perform one of three reversing manoeuvres: park parallel to the road, park in a bay (reversing in/out), or pull up on the right-hand side of the road and reverse backwards for two full car-lengths before rejoining traffic. If you are preparing to take your practical test and you can’t do any of these, you should get practicing!
Finally, there is a change to the safety questions. You will be asked a “tell me” question before you start driving, and a “show me” question during the practical test while you are driving. No one wants to be caught off-guard in their driving test, so learn these changes well.
Go Learn 2 Drive has been providing local driving lessons in North Wales and currently operate in the following towns: