On Monday 4th December 2017, some changes to the UK practical driving test came into effect
If you are a learner driver preparing to take your test this year, a driving instructor or an examiner, it is important to be familiar with these revisions. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced these new changes with the goal of making the test more relevant, modern and to most effectively tackle the number of casualties on the road.
Where the driving tests will be taking place is the first notable change. In the past, quiet and low-traffic routes have been a large proponent of the practical examinations. Now the DVSA is opting to include an increased number of high-speed and high-traffic routes, as these are the type of roads where the majority of fatalities as a result of traffic collisions occur. Another adjustment to the test concerns the safety questions – motorists will now be asked a “tell me” question before they start driving, and a “show me” question during driving.
In addition to this, the independent driving portion of the practical test is being extended from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Lots of new drivers have reported that the independent driving section helped them build confidence before going out on the road on their own. The extension allows the examiner to scrutinise the motorist’s skills for a longer period of time, and any faults (you are allowed up to 15 minor faults and fail instantly if you commit a dangerous fault) are more likely to be spotted.
To bring the practical driving test into the digital age, taking direction from a sat-nav has been included. Indeed, since more than half of all car drivers own a sat-nav, this is a logical step forward. As part of the independent driving section, the examiner will provide a sat-nav and input a destination that the driver must navigate to. The sat-navs that will be used in the test are TomTom Start 52s, but one in five of drivers will be asked to follow road signs like in the old test.
Reverse manoeuvres are the final element of the UK practical driving test that the DVSA is changing. You can forget about the turn in the road and reverse around a corner. Now there are three potential reversing manoeuvres, you will be asked to perform one of them: parallel parking on the side of the road, reversing or driving into a bay (and then driving/reversing back out), or you will be asked to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths, and then rejoin traffic.
Many examiners were unhappy with the last change, since the Highway Code states that you should not park up facing the flow of traffic (Rule 239). Nevertheless, these are the revisions that have been implemented and it is vital to be aware of them all. Especially if you are a learner driver preparing for your test, an examiner, or an instructor.
Williams Driving School has been providing local driving lessons in Devon for many years and currently operate in the following towns: