posted 9 months ago

New Driving Test Rules Better Prepare Learners For The Road Ahead

Practical test evolves to help learners form safer, better, long term relationships with their vehicles

Why driving test evolved

Learner drivers must pass a revised test before enjoying the freedom of the open road from December 4th 2017, The DVSA (Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) explained. Changes ensure the test better reflects the modern, real-life, scenarios faced when travelling to work, to college, and for the pleasure of sitting behind the wheel.

The driving test has changed – throughout England, Scotland and Wales only - for a simple reason. The Agency said the biggest killer of youngsters is traffic collisions. Rather than becoming casualty figures it wants them to enjoy their cars, cruise the roads safely and benefit from the thrills having a licence bestows.

Independent driving

The test has changed in several areas. The independent driving section is now twenty minutes long rather than ten minutes, for example. It requires learners to proceed without instruction. It proves that they have a relationship with vehicles that enables them to cope with their quirks, traffic, and unexpected situations.

The Agency argued: “New drivers find independent driving training valuable. They relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test.”

Satellite navigation

Most candidates now follow sat-nav instruction, too. The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency has, therefore, recognised that half of drivers rely on such machines to make their motoring adventures easier, more enjoyable and safer. Examiners provide the sat-navs, choose the routes, and cannot fail learners for taking wrong turns.

Reversing manoeuvres

Reversing test requirements have evolved to better reflect the typical challenges of (say) stopping briefly in a busy city to pick-up family members. Learners no longer have to reverse around corners or turn-in-the-road, for example – but must still learn such techniques. Instead, the examiners require learners to either: 

  • Parallel park at the side of the road
  • Park in a bay (drive in and reverse out or reverse in and drive out)
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse two car lengths and rejoin traffic

Show me tell me

As before, learners must pass a show me tell me section of the test. Tell me is a safety question prior to setting-off. “Tell me how to confirm what the recommended tyre pressures are”, for example. Having suitable tyre pressures helps keep loved ones safe.

Show me, in contrast, now happens while driving. “Show me how to clean the windscreen while moving by using the wipers”, for example. It proves – among other things – that learners have the capacity to listen to passengers speak and still operate a vehicle. 

No change to duration, marking criteria or cost

The driving test is still about forty minutes long. As before, candidates pass if they make no more than fifteen driving faults (excluding serious and dangerous). All prices remain the same, too.