April 18, 2017, 4:07 pm
The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is making changes to the driving test to be more relevant to the current behaviour of drivers. These changes begin on 4 December 2017. The changes will include the use of a sat nav system as supplied by the driving examiner. Other changes include the increase of independent driving time by 10 minutes, answering driver safety questions, and changes to the reverse manoeuvres being tested.
Independent Driving and Sat Nav Use
The current version of the test includes 10 minutes of independent driving time. This time will be increased to 20 minutes. During this independent driving time, some drivers will be asked to follow the instructions given by a sat nav.
The new driver can ask questions if any directions seem unclear. The examiner will not penalize a new driver for making a mistake in following the directions. However, the examiner will penalize the new drivers for any driving mistakes made during this time.
Each examiner will provide the sat nav to be used during the test. New drivers being tested will not be allowed to use their own sat nav as part of the test. The inclusion of sat nav in driving test reflects changes in how people drive. More than half of UK drivers use a sat nav.
Not all new drivers being tested will be asked to demonstrate their ability to follow the directions from a sat nav. Approximately one in five new drivers will not be asked to use the examiner’s sat nav.
For years, the driving test included a “reverse around a corner” manoeuvre and 3-point turn, also called the “turn in the road” reverse manoeuvre. These two manoeuvres will no longer be tested. The DVSA says that these reverse manoeuvres should still be learned by new drivers even though they are not on the test.
The driving examiner will ask the new driver to complete a reverse manoeuvre. The examiner will ask those taking the test to parallel park, pull into a car park and reverse out, reverse into a car park and drive out, or pull-up on the right side of the road and rejoin traffic after reversing for two car lengths.
During the test, the examiner will ask the learner driver two safety questions. The examiner may ask the learner driver to show them how to use a safety feature of the car such the windscreen washer. The examiner also may ask the driver to explain how something is done before the driving part of the test begins.
Future Exam Changes
The DVSA says that there will be more changes in the near future. The test is evolving to address safety concerns and make sure that new drivers are prepared to drive safely under a variety of traffic conditions. Typically, new drivers utilize low-traffic areas such as suburbs to practice. The DVSA is considering changes to increase the time drivers spend practicing and to have them include more heavily traveled roads.
As driving behaviour adapts with technology, the test is expected to continue to evolve. The future may see the use of autonomous vehicle technology to make sure new drivers are knowledgeable on how to use the new features safely.
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