Big changes are afoot for learner drivers at the end of 2017 – so here’s what to expect.
After months of speculation, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has finally confirmed that changes to the driving test will be rolled out on Monday 4th December, 2017. The new-style test will affect all tests in England, Scotland and Wales and at this stage, will only apply to the car driving test.
What’s Changing in the Driving Test in 2017
There are four big changes coming down the road:
1. Independent Driving
Currently, the independent driving section of the test lasts 10 minutes; this will be extended to 20 minutes from December 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 in 2017
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.
Why Changes Are Being Made to the Driving Test in 2017
Despite the UK being one of the safest countries in the world when it comes to driving, the DVSA wants to reduce accident figures even further – and the public agrees according to the consultation the agency carried out while coming up with the new test structure:
of the public agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are test
agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving.
At Theory Test Pro, we believe anything that can help young drivers get the best and safest possible start to their driving careers is essential – but what do you think? Are you happy with the new changes or would you prefer for the test to remain the same?
Image © Paul Inkles