New Practical Test Is “Dangerous” Claim Driving Instructors

by Adam Phillips - 3 Min Read

Big changes to the driving test touch down in December – but some instructors are not happy with the new manoeuvres while many drivers believe the new test doesn’t go far enough.

When the new test was confirmed in April, the change that dominated headlines was the introduction of sat navs. The move was met with thumbs up across the board but on closer inspection of all the changes to the practical test, one is now causing serious concern among instructors.

While the ‘reversing round a corner’ and ‘performing a three-point turn’ manoeuvres have both been retired (because they apparently don’t reflect modern driving), one of the replacement manoeuvres has raised the heckles of ADIs: “Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths”.

In a nutshell, learners taking the test will be expected to cross over to the other side of the road into the path of oncoming traffic before reversing for the required distance. From there, they will then invariably need to pull out safely, again into the flow of oncoming traffic.

ADIs Demand Changes to New Driving Test

Its inclusion has infuriated instructors so much that one, Anthony Cove, has even started an online petition to have the manoeuvre removed. On the petition, Anthony states: “This is an unnecessary and dangerous exercise which also goes against the Highway Code (rule 239). Another proposed new part of the test is driving into a parking space and reversing out. Again I was always told to reverse in then drive out as it’s easier to look for pedestrians.”

Other instructors have also spoken out with ADI Ann Moyes writing that “I’ve always disagreed with these two particular introductions to the new test. But they don’t listen to the folks who are out there trying to actually teach people why they now have to contravene the Highway code to pass their test. All my students when I explain think it’s stupid and dangerous.”

And the very people charged with conducting the new test don’t appear to be happy either as retired examiner William Young explains: “It is bad enough at times getting a candidate to move off after a normal stop, never mind moving off on the wrong side of the road. Another example of people in the Ivory Tower making decisions that affect the lives of others… Why don’t they consult examiners before they make these ludicrous decisions.”

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Set up by instructor Anthony Cove, the Change.org petition is demanding the removal of what some ADIs believe are two dangerous manoeuvres that are to be used in the new driving test.

Drivers Want the New Test To Go Further

According to a recent survey conducted by Confused.com, motorists aren’t enamoured of the manoeuvre either with 43% questioning the wisdom of asking drivers to pull over into incoming traffic. But their concerns don’t end there with 33% believing that the new test won’t reduce the number of people being killed or seriously injured on our roads.

Ultimately, motorists believe that the new test doesn’t go far enough with 66% stating that night driving should feature and 73% saying motorway driving must be included. But the biggest demand from motorists is for ‘driving etiquette’ to be taught in lessons including the risks of middle-lane hogging, tailgating, phone use and other bad habits that are rampant on UK roads.

Confused.com’s motoring editor, Amanda Stretton, says: “To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers. This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage, and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride.”

What Motorists Want Included in New Driving Test

Here are the full results of Confused.com‘s survey into what motorists want to see introduced to the new practical driving test:

Motorway driving – 73%

Night time driving – 66%

Tailgating – 65%

Middle lane hogging – 52%

Indicating etiquette – 52%

Improved cyclist awareness – 49%

All weather driving – 47%

Selfish parking – 36%

Thank you wave – 20%

Financial knowledge – 18%

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16 Comments

  1. Laurence Jacquemin

    None of what is being added to the driver test is ‘dangerous’, it is advisable to avoid parking on the right and driving forwards into bays, but I very much doubt anyone can say they have never done neither, sometimes it is required.

    So the question is: Do you either avoid teaching someone it and just hope when they have to do it they can get it right and do it safely OR teach them to do it safely and encourage them to avoid doing it in the future due to the potential dangers?

    • Ian Hare ADI

      Every thorough ADI already teaches people everyday driving whilst encouraging best practice, this shouldn’t mean that it is tested as if it were best practice

  2. Jon collyer

    By teaching it you are surely encouraging people to do more often as they think it us the normal thing to do.

    All we can do as instructors is teach them how to do it safely and advise them against them doing it.
    Same with forward bay parking. Show them how but advise them why it’s really dangerous.

    Also when they go the wrong way when using a sat nav.
    What are we going to do to get out of the problem
    .,turn in the road or left reverse the 2 manoeuvres they are taking out.

  3. Barray Som

    With the greatest of respect thats absolute rubbish Laurence suggesting the pull up on right manoeuvre is not dangerous. The potential for catastrophe is akin to training new drivers to being trained to “U” turns on mini-roundabouts as this is also not good driving practice nor illegal either.

    • Peter Jubb

      With even greater respect Barry, I would suggest that moving across the road to pull up on the right is no more “dangerous” than turning right against oncoming traffic – what counts is that it is done safely with correct observation and analysis of the situation, the very same criteria that is taught for turning right from major to minor. I agree that it is preferable to park on the left if possible, but how many parking spaces fit that bill in your local town or village. What is important is that any possible legal maneuver is taught, and taught to be done safely.

      On the subject of driving into bays and reversing out, again, it may not be best practice, but it is realistic – you only need take a look at a typical supermarket car park to realize that it can be a struggle to get between the cars to load your shopping if, parked rear end in and so, until supermarkets change the layout of car parks to accommodate “best practice” parking, I see the need to teach safe reversing out because the first time your new driver goes to the supermarket, I bet they drive in just like everybody else.

  4. Chris Bensted

    Inaccurate, misinformed and a real shame.

    Speaking for my own training as an instructor and co-owner of Better Driver Training, I am having to make one minor addition (on a technicality) to accommodate the new test criteria. This includes keeping the Turning in the Road (there isn’t a requirement for a 3 point turn) which is a key set of skills needed for the ‘new’ pulling forward into a bay. Also teaching as ever dynamic manoeuvres like the left reverse corner, right reverse corner, bell mouth turn (taxi turn) and other practical car control exercises.
    It is down to ADIs (Approved Driving Instructors) to deliver training in accordance, or in excess of, the National Standards for Driving (this can be found on Gov.uk).

    Pulling up on the right will be done on suitable roads and is largely part of real life – I do this daily in the road I live on. The best explanation I’ve heard from the DVSA is that it will be done on roads similar to those where the parallel park is performed. It will not be on busy main roads etc.

    I live in an area with currently no bay parks on test. A large number of ADIs don’t teach bay parking as it isn’t needed to pass. My advice to any new drivers/learners is to find an instructor who doesn’t teach to test restriction and we make them into the driver they want to be, for life. Talk to your potential trainer and see if they have an interest in you, your goals and how you learn best.

  5. Kevin Taylor

    Many instructors just do not get the thinking behind the test changes, first of all, driving into a bay is done by over 90% of drivers because it’s the only way to get their shopping into the back of the car. Now, regardless of what ADI’s teach, pupils will always do what is the easiest way for them, and any ADI who says their pupils won’t do it are either naive or lying because they will, it’s human nature. The same rules apply to parking on the right, the Highway Code is advice, it’s not traffic law.

    So, surely it makes sense to make sure your pupils can do these things safely, instead of just saying never do this. With regards to dropping the reverse corners and T.I.R, it does not make one bit of difference whether its tested or not, all ADI’s should still be teaching it, just because something is not tested doesn’t mean you don’t teach it, after all, are we not teaching pupils to drive safely for the rest of their lives or is the old problem still out there of teaching to pass a test.

    All this should be clearly covered by ADI trainers, its what I taught my PDI’s for 30 years and many of my ADI’s were graded 6 because of their approach to teaching. So, come on you qualified instructors, put the test out of your mind and teach your pupils everything that’s necessary to produce sensible, safer drivers, that’s what we are paid for, and the test will merely be a situation that your pupil has to experience in their journey of learning safe driving.

  6. Sean Burns

    I don’t see any problem with teaching the ‘new manoeuvres’ however new drivers really need to learn the skills of ‘turning in the road’ and ‘reversing around corners’. I would argue that these skills are vital to all drivers. I would hope that driving instructors continue to teach this even though it will no longer be tested.

  7. Martin Evans

    I think these changes have highlighted differences in ADI’s attitude and how they approach teaching learners.

    Would it be fair to say those that object to the new test are perhaps more traditional in their views and not focussed on encouraging practical, thinking drivers?

    • Kevin Taylor

      I think you have hit the nail on the head Martin, unfortunately, this has been a long standing problem in driver training, it’s not always the instructor’s fault though, some of it is down to poor quality training supplied to them by sub-standard training establishments.

  8. Daryl Evans ADI

    With respect to other instructors.Parking on the right in the dark is in fact illegal.I know the tests are conducted in daylight hours,however a lot of instruction ,in Winter,is carried out in the dark

  9. Ivor Carr

    There is nothing illegal about pulling up on the right. it seems that some instructors, presumably including the one who started the petition don’t distinguish between pulling up and parking.

  10. n evans

    with regard to parking in car park bays bearing in mind examiners in my area allow pupils to hit a metal post at the end of the test bay on many ocassions what if they hit a car whilst parking what will the examiner do how will it affect insurance? how long will supermarkets and similar areas put up with the large amount of cars entering and leaving the areas . I agree parking on the right may be suitable but in winter months many pupils cannot do lessons in the day so will only ever get chance to do it at night which is dangerous with headlights and rain.

  11. G Wilson

    This petition is the usual head-in-the-sand attitude to any change to driver training. The instructors who are complaining about this updating of the test should move with the times. It may be illegal to park facing the oncoming traffic in the dark, but tests are normally peformed in daylight hours, also they are not parking, they are pulling up and then reversing and then driving on again so they are not parking. If a pupil can only learn in the dark then how will they cope with the daylight when they have to do their test? So that argument is nonsense, at some point in their training they must surely drive in the daylight so that is when they should be taught the technique. Much better to teach them a safe method than to just ignore it and hope it will go away.

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