Learning To Drive? Today Tests Became A Whole Lot Different

driving test
Michael Jung/Shutterstock.com

If you’re living in London, chances are either you’ve passed your driving test but don’t have a car, or you just can’t be bothered to learn – and why would you when we have night tubes and buses?

If you’re living outside the city, you’re bound to be either learning, or already have a car to roam around in.

But for those who are learning in England, Scotland and Wales, things are about to change quite dramatically.

According to Gov.uk, the previous practical driving test involved:

  • An eyesight check (i.e. “can you read that sign from this distance?”)
  • “Show me, tell me” vehicle safety instructions
  • General driving ability
  • Reversing your vehicle
  • Independent driving

But, as of today – 4 December 2017, there are  four new adaptions to the test – well we suppose that makes sense since cars, driving and technology in general has changed in recent years.

Gareth Llewellyn, chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has explained why these alterations to the test needed to be made:

“There is scope to do more to keep road users safe – particularly newly-qualified drivers.

“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”

So here’s what will happen in the new updated practical tests

1. Independent driving – increase to 20 minutes

This bit will double in time from the current 10 minutes. The DVSA description explains how the learner drivers will be driving “without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner”.

This section will be about half of the test’s total time, which is about 40 minutes from start to finish.

2. The candidate will be following directions from a sat nav

Considering most other exams these days include social media and the internet, it was only a matter of time before this was going to happen.

Driving examiners will set up a sat nav in the test car and four out of every five provisional drivers will be expected to follow instructions from that, rather than the examiner.

What happens to that one-in-five drivers? Well they won’t be asked to follow a sat nav, but they will have to follow traffic signs instead. This whole bit is like a Russian roulette because you won’t have a clue whether you’ll be following a sat nav or traffic signs until your actual test.

3. Reversing manoeuvres that you know (but no one loves) will also be altered

No more reversing around a corner or turning-in-the-road manoeuvres. Instead, you’ll be examined on one of the following:

  • Parallel park by the side of the road
  • Park in a bay (drive in and reverse out or reverse in and drive out – again, you won’t know which until the test)
  • Pull up on the right hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and re-join the traffic.

So, if reversing wasn’t really your strong point, better start practicing now.

4.Get ready to answer two vehicle safety questions… WHILE you’re driving

Not good at multi-tasking? Well you’d better get practicing, pronto! DVSA says that the questions will be the “show me, tell me” questions, requiring the candidate to prove they understand how a certain safety function in the test car works, such as washing the windscreen, etc.

What’s the pass mark and cost?

This bit hasn’t changed. You still need to finish your test with less than 15 minor mistakes and zero major faults, so there aren’t any extra hoops to jump through. Plus the cost will stay the same with it being £62 on a weekday and £75 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Read more: What Are The Tough New Driving Laws For Using A Mobile Phone At The Wheel?