In spite of industrial action by driving examiners today and tomorrow, the new driving test has finally gone live and features a host of changes.
The controversial new-style test is finally here and affects all tests in England, Scotland and Wales. From a heavily revised independent driving section to new manoeuvres, we profile the big changes so you’ll know exactly what to expect on your big day.
What’s Changing in the Driving Test from Today
There are four big changes to expect:
1. Independent Driving
Currently, the independent driving section of the test lasts 10 minutes; this will be extended to 20 minutes from today and make up around half of the test. You will be expected to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner as well. The intention? To put the examiner in the best possible position to judge your driving ability more accurately in real-world conditions.
2. Sat Nav
During the independent driving section, instead of the examiner telling you where to go, you will be required to follow the directions on a sat nav instead – this is to make the test more ‘modern’. In practise, the examiner will provide and set up the sat nav’s route for you so all you’ll need to focus on is following the route, not worrying about the technology itself.
Bear in mind that you can’t use your own sat nav and that if you do happen to take a wrong turn, you won’t be penalised unless you make a fault. Finally, you may be the 1-in-5 of learners who won’t be selected to use a sat nav during the test – instead, you will need to follow traffic signs instead.
3. Reversing Manoeuvres
Say goodbye to the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres. While the DVSA will no longer be testing the two manoeuvres, it still expects your ADI to teach them to you during your lessons. Replacing them are one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:
• Parallel parking at the side of the road
• Parking in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out
• Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for two-car lengths and rejoining the traffic.
4. Answering Two Vehicle Safety Questions
Expect to be asked two safety questions:
Before Test Starts
One ‘Tell Me’ question focusing on how you would carry out a particular safety task
During The Test
One ‘Show Me’ question focusing on how you would carry out a particular safety task.
What’s NOT Changing in the Driving Test
The pass mark remains at no more than 15 driving faults and with no serious or dangerous faults whatsoever. The examiner will still be marking you on the same things as before plus the driving test’s running length will remain the same – around 40 minutes. Finally, the cost of the test won’t be changing either.
While examiners aren’t happy with some of the changes, what do you think? Do you feel the test needed to be changed or would you have preferred it to stay the same?