Passing your driving test and buying a car for the first time can be a landmark occasion in life. Although driving a car should be enjoyable as well as promoting independence, confidence is a key factor to enhance the driver experience which. The latest changes by the Driving Standards Authority (DVSA) to the UK Driving Test aims to build more confidence in new drivers, bringing more realistic driving situations under scrutiny.

Safety on the roads is paramount, and this has been reflected in the driving test changes which took effect from 4 December 2017. The new driving test retains much of the original elements, but there are four key differences which focus on independent driving, sat nav management, reverse manoeuvring and safety questions from the examiner.

Independent Driving

Prior to the changes, the driving test in 2017 required drivers to drive to a destination without assistance from the examiner for a period of ten minutes. With the changes, drivers are expected to drive independently for twenty minutes in order to demonstrate their ability to negotiate driving in ‘real-life’. The principle behind this increase is to allow examiners more time to assess for faults, although up to fifteen minor faults are permitted during the entirety of the test.

Use of Sat Nav

For the new driving test, an examiner can pre-set a Sat Nav for the driver to follow instructions during the independent driving section. If a driver takes an incorrect turn while following the Sat Nav, they will not be penalised and are allowed to ask the examiner to confirm the destination. It is expected that 4 out of 5 tests will include Sat Nav, with the remainder using road signs. Linked to independent driving, the Sat Nav addition under the driving test changes aims to give drivers a realistic driving experience, particularly as over 50% of drivers use Sat Nav.

Changes for Reverse Manoeuvres

Turn in the road and reverse around a corner manoeuvres applicable to the driving test of 2017 have been replaced in the new driving test by 3 new parking manoeuvres. The examiner will now ask the driver to carry out one of the following.

  • The driver to park parallel to the side of a road.
  • In a bay – the driver must drive in then reverse out, or vice versa.
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of a road, proceed to reverse 2 car lengths, and then re-join traffic.

Safety Questions

Under the new test, a further dimension to driver safety awareness has been added. While the examiner will continue to ask the driver a ‘tell me’ safety question prior to driving, for example how to test the brakes, a further question will be asked during driving. A ‘show me’ question might be requesting a driver to apply dipped headlights.

The new driving test changes aim to increase road safety and reflect driving technology like Sat Navs. The length of the test, however, remains unchanged, as does the cost and pass mark. Buying that first car can mean safer drivers enjoying safer roads.

Hoping to pass your driving test and get behind the wheel of your first car soon? Good luck from Avon Valley Garage!

A guide to the new UK driving test