A new UK driving test has come into force today, designed to focus on modern driving styles and road scenarios in a bid to bring the format up to date.
Candidates are now faced with more manoeuvres, such as reverse bay-parking, while dated ones such as reversing around a corner will be removed.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) research shows that half of motorists use sat-nav, but around a quarter of accidents involving new drivers are caused by them being distracted. The new test aims to address this by integrating a sat-nav into the test for the first time.
Drivers taking the test will now be asked to follow directions to a predetermined destination, enabling examiners to assess a driver's ability to follow instruction while also adhering to road signs.
The independent driving section of the driving test, where drivers are asked to follow signs to a destination without further instruction from the examiner or sat-nav, will also be extended from 10 to 20 minutes.
Additionally, examiners will now ask safety questions while the driver is on the move, or even ask them to use turn on certain controls, such as the rear heated screen.
Edmund King, president of the AA, welcomed the changes, telling 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.”