In just under a month’s time the UK driving test will undergo its biggest shake-up in decades.
From December 4 a number of changes to the practical test will be introduced putting more emphasis on “real life” driving, including independent driving and using in-car technology.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says the changes are being introduced to ensure the test is relevant in the 21st century and that new motorists have all the skills they need for a lifetime of safe driving.
So for all the learners out there here’s a breakdown of what to expect from December 4:
More independent driving
The period of independent driving – without turn-by-turn instructions from the examiner – is doubling from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.
Follow directions from a sat nav
To reflect the fact many new cars come with satellite navigation, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from an in-car system.
The examiner will provide and set up the system – a TomTom Start 52 – and the driver will have to follow its instructions.
You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you 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.
Changes to manoeuvres
Two manoeuvres have been removed from the test and replaced with new ones.
Candidates will no longer have to perform a turn in the road or reverse around a corner. Instead, they will be asked to perform one of the three following 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 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
New show-me, tell-me questions
Previously, candidates were asked two vehicle safety questions before setting off. Now, they will be asked one “tell-me” question – where they must explain how they would carry out a safety task – before beginning the drive and one “show-me” question – where they must demonstrate how to carry out a safety task – while driving.
These questions cover everything from opening the windows to checking if the car’s ABS is working. You can find a full list of the questions here