The latest updates from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency reveal that even driving examiners have had their doubts about the new test – but are they still worried?
Regular followers of our blogs will know that some driving instructors are unhappy with the new manoeuvres being introduced to the revised practical driving test – in particular, pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths.
The issue? Learners having to cross over to the other side of the road into the path of potentially oncoming traffic, reverse and then pull out safely, again into the flow of oncoming traffic.
The new move came under fire from all quarters – even from examiners themselves. Retired examiner William Young explained: “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… Why don’t [the DVSA] consult examiners before they make these ludicrous decisions.”
What examiners think of the new driving test
According to a DLVA blog written by driving examiners reviewing the new test, they were also hesitant: “I did have some initial worries, as there have been some concerns about some elements of the test, such as timings, and the new manoeuvres,” writes Dave Wedgewood, a local driving test manager. “However, my concerns were misplaced.”
Examiners also felt that the new test made the whole experience easier as driving examiner Laura Unwin explains: “Before the training, I was concerned about how the sat nav and different manoeuvres would work. However, I found the sat nav easy to fit and easy to use. The new test felt much smoother and it’s great that we can do manoeuvres and angled starts during the independent drive.”
What examiners will do during the new driving test
To get an insight into how exactly the examiner will judge you and your driving ability, we recommend casting an eye over the new Examiner Guidance that goes through every element that examiners will judge you on when overseeing your test – and even how to mark you using the revised Driving Test Report sheet.
From definitions of faults and preparing for the test to the tiniest details including name badges, the guidance also details precisely what you should expect during the controversial ‘pull up on the right’ exercise – and what the circumstances are when an examiner will intervene if a problem arises once pulled up at the side of the road.
“If a vehicle pulls in front of the candidate prior to the completion of the exercise, the examiner should take control of the situation and advise the candidate to reverse back further to allow a clear view ahead,” states the guidance.
“If a vehicle blocks the candidate from reversing, the manoeuvre should be aborted and a manoeuvre attempted later in the test. If this situation causes the candidate’s view to be severely restricted then the examiner should offer some assistance.”
For more information about what to expect during the exercise, view this DVLA video that takes you through the process:
If you have any queries about the new practical driving test, then read our comprehensive guide to all the changes here to ensure you are fully prepared.