Driving tests are set to undergo the biggest change in generations in a bid to help new drivers to be safer and more independent on the roads. The DVSA has announced that prospective drivers need to demonstrate “real life” driving skills if they want to pass their test, with changes coming into force from 4 December 2017.
“Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world. But there is scope to do more to keep road users safe – particularly newly-qualified drivers,” said Gareth Llewellyn, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) chief executive. “Making sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving.”
1. The independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
The independent driving section of your test is set to double from ten minutes to 20 minutes – meaning it will now take up roughly half of the 40 minute exam. The DVSA explains that during this part of the test, you have to drive “without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner”.
2. You may have to follow directions from a sat nav
Most candidates will now be asked to follow directions from a sat nav during the independent driving part of the test. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it. One in five driving tests won’t use a sat nav and you’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.
3. Reversing manoeuvres are changing
The dreaded ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, although you will still be taught them by your instructor. Instead, you’ll be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres. This could be to parallel park at the side of the road, park in a bay (either driving in and reversing out or reversing in and driving out), or to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic.
4. You’ll have to answer two safety questions while you’re driving
Get ready to multi-task! You’ll be asked two vehicle safety questions while you’re driving, which the DVSA says are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. You’ll be asked the ‘tell me’ question at the start of your test, before you start driving, and the ‘show me’ question while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.
Not everything is changing though; the test will still last around 40 minutes and the pass mark will remain the same, with no more than 15 minor driving faults and no major faults will secure you with a pass.