It has been just over 3 months since the new driving test was introduced in England, Scotland and Wales. You’re probably wondering what is different about the new driving test. Below is a quick update on what to expect of the new driving test.

Independent Driving

The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced a 10 minute interval of independent driving back in October 2010 as part of the driving test. The independent driving part of the test was introduced so the driving examiner could assess the pupil’s ability to drive independently, using road signs and with little instruction from the examiner.

The new driving test has extended the length of the independent driving part of the test, from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. With the overall test being around 40 minutes, this now means the independent section of the test is half of the driving examination.

The Use of a Sat Nav

4 out of 5 driving tests that take place, will include the use of a satellite navigation system, during the independent driving section of the test. Research has shown that around 52% of drivers own a Sat Nav and use it on a regular basis, which is the DVSA feels that it is relevant for the new driving test. You don’t have to worry about being able to operate the Sat Nav as the examiners will bring and set up their own system. The examiner will have a pre-set route on the Sat Nav, which you will be expected to follow.

It is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if you follow the directions incorrectly, as long as you are driving safely. As the examiner is only recording driving faults, it doesn’t matter if you go in the wrong direction, as long as you are not making any driving mistakes. For example, if the Sat Nav asks you to turn left, but you signal right and then turn right, you won’t get penalised so long as you turned right safely.

Road Signs

1 out of 5 driving tests that take place, the pupil will be required to follow road signs for the independent driving section of the test. The examiner will request that you follow the road signs to a specific location, giving updates when necessary. If you feel that the road traffic signs are not visible, then the examiner will provide direction until a sign becomes visible.

Again, it is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if you follow the directions incorrectly, as long as you are driving safely.

Show Me, Tell Me Questions

As previously, you will be asked 2 vehicle safety questions, otherwise known as the ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question at the beginning of your test, before you start driving. This requires the pupil to explain how a feature of the car works or how it can be tested.
  • ‘show me’ question while you’re driving. This is designed to test how the pupil responds to performing a certain task, such as turning on headlights, whilst driving safely.

New Manoeuvers

Examiners will no longer be testing the ‘reverse around a corner’ and the ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres, however they will still be taught by your driving instructor.

However, you will still be required to perform one of the following manoeuvres:

  • Bay Park – to drive into and then reverse out of a bay safely, or to reverse in and then drive out of a bay safely. The examiner will instruct you as to which one you will be carrying out.
  • Parallel Park – to reverse park at the side of the road using no more than 2 car lengths.
  • Pull up on the right hand side of the road safely, reverse back 2 car lengths and then re-join the traffic safely.

A Word of Advice

Just a few tips to help with your driving test:

  • Due to the change in the practical test, it is important to brush up on your theory test knowledge to ensure you are familiar with road signs and what you can and cannot do on the road.
  • Remember, it makes no difference to the result of your driving test if you make incorrect turns during the independent section of the driving test, so long as you are driving safely.
  • Driving tests can be stressful. If you feel stressed at any point during the test, pull over in a safe, legal and convenient place to compose yourself.

Good Luck!