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The new driving test: What you need to knowBack

There is less than a month to go before the new driving test comes into force. From Monday, December 4, new car drivers in England, Scotland and Wales will have to demonstrate a new set of skills aimed at making sure they can navigate their way through a lifetime of safe driving.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency hopes the new test will reduce the number of road collisions – the biggest killer of teenagers. Here’s what you need to know about the changes:


The 4 driving test changes

1. Increased independent driving

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up.

They will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where they’re going if they’re not sure. It won’t matter if they go the wrong way unless they make a fault while doing it.

One in five driving tests won’t use a sat nav. Candidates will need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but they should still be taught by the instructor.

Drivers will be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road
  • Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4. Answering a vehicle safety question while driving

The examiner will ask two vehicle safety questions during the driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.


How the new test will work

All car driving tests taken from December 4, 2017 will follow the new format. This includes if:

  • You fail a test before then, and retake your test from 4 December 2017
    your test is cancelled or moved for any reason, and your new test date is from 4 December 2017
  • Your driving instructor should have been teaching you everything you need to know to drive safely, so you shouldn’t need to worry about learning anything new.


Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.

The driving test cost will also stay the same.


Why the changes?

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

These changes are being made because:

  • Most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
  • Fifty two per cent of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • Research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test




Posted by Beth Rose on 07/11/2017