More real-world driving test tweaks will be added to the exam, in an effort to bring it in line with more modern motorist behaviour

Learner drivers will be subject to a more modernised driving test from 4 December onwards, with a focus on more current driving styles.

Four changes will be introduced to the test:

  • More often used manoeuvres like reverse bay-parking replacing outdated ones such as reversing around a corner
  • Following directions given by a sat-nav system, as an alternative to following road signs
  • Extending the independent driving section of the driving test from 10 to 20 minutes
  • Asking safety questions while the driver is on the road, for example, asking the driver to use the rear heated screen while on the move

The sat-nav part of the test is to reflect the DVSA’s findings that around 50% of drivers use a sat-nav, although this was the least popular revision in the batch; 29% of the 3900 members of the public polled about the revisions were not in favour of introducing the change.

By comparison, only 12%, 21% and 22% disagreed with the independent driving extension, reversing manoeuvres and safety question respectively.

The DVSA says these test sections are aimed at making sure the test is as up-to-date as it can be, while fully evaluating drivers’ independent driving skills.

Sat-nav systems built in to phones are of particular prominence, given the government’s recent doubling of fines and points for drivers caught using their phones at the wheel. 

Although the test will test only legal use of sat-nav systems, the new section will pay focus to the possibility of distraction caused by the devices, as well as the devices' use of fewer quiet residential roads, which, when coupled with the replacement of the manoeuvres which need to take place on these roads, means a wider variety of roads - both safe and less traditionally safe to new drivers - will be included.

Edmund King, president of the AA, welcomes these changes, and told Autocar: “We know that new drivers are a higher risk on the roads, therefore we need to better prepare them for real-world driving. These changes will test drivers in a more realistic manner which is essential to improving their safety once their L plates are removed. The changes, particularly the extended independent driving and use of a sat nav, should help to produce better, safer motorists.

“We have already had positive feedback from our driving instructors and their pupils and therefore fully support these proposed changes.

“In the future, we will need to see further changes to the test when we have more electric, connected and semi-autonomous cars on our roads.”

Read more: 

UK driving test set for changes in 2017

Learner drivers to be allowed onto motorways in 2018

Autocar launches safer learner driver scheme

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Comments
6

16 April 2017
If this stops people driving into rivers and the sea because the disembodied voice in their satnav tells them that is the way to Tesco then that's a good thing.

 

16 April 2017
Reverse bay parking is easy, you just press a button then drive past the space. Reversing around a corner is trickier.

16 April 2017
Reverse bay parking is easy, you just press a button then drive past the space. Reversing around a corner is trickier.

16 April 2017
Why was there no test previously for reading a map book ? Testing for following satnav is not safety related, navigation was considered as secondary to car control and recognising dangerous situations and road signs. Are drivers to be tested on mobile phone use in case there is an accident and need help ? Too many committee meetings and think tanks me thinks.Thank the lord I past my test 35 yrs ago. ;-)

19 April 2017
Andrew 61 wrote:

Why was there no test previously for reading a map book ? Testing for following satnav is not safety related, navigation was considered as secondary to car control and recognising dangerous situations and road signs. Are drivers to be tested on mobile phone use in case there is an accident and need help ? Too many committee meetings and think tanks me thinks.Thank the lord I past my test 35 yrs ago. ;-)

You are correct. Sat nav use isn't an intrinsic part of driving. And while I would hope that the inclusion of reversing into bays may encourage more to do so after passing the test, because it seems a vast majority as it stands drive in and then get annoyed when one sounds the horn at them to prevent them hitting one's car as they blindly scoot out backwards without taking care to ensure their way is clear, yet I am sure that reversing around a corner should still be a requirement at the same time. It's a different skill, especially in terms of observation in all three directions.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

17 April 2017
Perfect for the future Uber drivers, setting the sat nav as they won't know their way around in this country yet and parking in a bay whilst dropping off the perpetually unemployed at Aldi to stock up on cheap beer and crisp mulitpacks for the weekend. Putting the Great back into Britain!

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