For those people that are in the process of learning to drive and may be looking to take their test at the end of 2017, or the following year, be aware that requirements for the practical driving test will be changing from 4th December. These changes, confirmed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), are to modernise the driving test so it reflects today’s driving and acknowledges areas that require more attention.
Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.”
There will be four new additions to current practices of the practical theory test, which take into account new technology and more realistic driving scenarios and manoeuvres. Here, we will take you through what the intended changes are and how they will affect taking the driving test.
Increase to independent driving time
During a practical test, drivers are required to independently drive (i.e. without turn-by-turn directions from an examiner) for 10 minutes. The new changes will mean this time is doubled to 20 minutes, making it account for roughly half of the practical driving test.
Ability to follow sat nav directions
With sat navs playing an important role in navigating today’s roads, it will become a requirement that drivers be able to follow instructions from one. You will be provided with a working sat nav by your examiner, who will set it up and set the route for you to follow.
Replace unrealistic manoeuvres
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will be removed from the test and replaced with one of the following:
- Parallel parking at the side of the road
- Bay parking, either driving in and reversing out or vice versa
- Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for two car lengths and rejoining the traffic
Although you won’t be tested on all of the moves, you should still be taught them by your instructor.
Vehicle safety questions while driving
For the first time, motorists will be asked theory questions while they are driving. Usually, the vehicle will be stationary while the questions are asked. The questions are known as ‘show me, tell me’ and you will be asked one of each. The ‘show me’ question will involve showing how you would carry out a safety task while driving; for example, using the windscreen wipers to clean the window. The ‘tell me’ question takes place before start driving and involves you explaining how you would carry out a task safely.
How will these changes affect the test?
There will be no changes to the length, cost or marking process of the test. The test will still take approximately 40 minutes and require no more than 15 driving faults and no serious/dangerous faults to pass. Examiners will still mark the test in the same way, with the same things counting towards a fault.