Driving test changes: Everything you need to know about the four proposed alterations

It’s good news for those who hate reversing around a corner

Sarah Young
Monday 09 October 2017 09:21
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Driving tests are about to undergo the biggest change for generations in a bid to encourage motorists to be safer and more independent on the roads.

From December 4, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have revealed that in addition to mirror, signal, manoeuvring, prospective drivers will have to demonstrate “real life” driving skills if they want to pass their test.

“Great Britain's roads are among the safest in the world. But there is scope to do more to keep road users safe – particularly newly-qualified drivers,” said Gareth Llewellyn, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) chief executive.

“Making sure the test better assesses a driver's ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving.”

The alterations have been tested with more than 4,500 learner drivers and 850 instructors in 32 locations across Britain and are hoped to better reflect real world driving.

So, what exactly will be changing?

Currently, learner drivers are encouraged to perform 10 minutes of independent driving but as of December 4, this will be increased to 20 minutes using a satnav or road traffic signs.

That’s right, the ability to correctly use a satnav is also being introduced with four in five drivers being asked to use one during their test. The equipment will be provided and set by the examiner and all will use a standardised TomTom Start 52 model.

It’s good news for those who hate reversing around a corner too as the new changes mean this manoeuvre will no longer be tested. Instead, you’ll be asked to demonstrate one of the following three – parallel park at the side of the road; park in a bay; and pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic.

The final big change is the addition of new “show me, tell me” questions which include explaining how to check the brakes are working, where you would find the recommended tyre pressure, and how to check the headlights and tail lights are working.

The “show me” portion of the test however now happens while driving and asks learner drivers to demonstrate how to wash and clean the windscreen, switch on headlights, set the demister, operate the horn and open and close the side windows.

Not everything’s changing though, prospective drivers can expect the test to still last around 40 minutes and the pass mark will remain the same - no more than 15 minor driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults will get you a licence.

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