Did you know that at the end of 2017, some drastic changes were implemented into the UK practical driving test?

Do you know exactly what has been changed? It’s critical that learners preparing for their practical examinations, their driving instructors, and examiners themselves are all well-acquainted with these changes. These revisions were introduced in order to make the test more relevant in the digital age we live in, and in an attempt to reduce deaths on the road.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have decided to update the practical driving tests to include more high-speed and high-traffic roads, and less of the quiet, low-risk roads that were the standard in the past. The reason being is that there are more fatal casualties from traffic accidents on high-speed roads, so this amendment is a way to try and improve the safety assessment of learner drivers. They must prove they can drive safely on these roads, which previously wasn’t integral to the test.

Another way in which the UK practical driving test is being changed is by adding a sat-nav directed section. The driving examiner will provide and set the route for the sat-nav, and the learner must follow its directions to a destination. In the modern technological world we live in, some would say this was long overdue, as over half of all car drivers have a sat-nav. The sat-navs used in driving exams will be TomTom Start 52, and one in five of tests will not include the sat-nav section. Instead, the learner will be asked to follow road signs as was always the case previously.

In addition, the DVSA wanted to increase the amount of time learners are driving independently in the practical examination. This has been upped from ten minutes to twenty minutes. There are a few reasons to increase the length of time that the learner has to drive independently, without direction from the examiner – the extra ten minutes gives the examiner more time to spot any faults, and driving without guidance is such a crucial skill which should be evaluated.

There is also a change to the safety questions: learner drivers will be asked a “tell me” (describe to me) question before driving begins, and a “show me” (demonstrate to me) question during driving.

Two of the reversing manoeuvres have been discarded – so you can say goodbye to reversing round a corner and turning around in the road. Now, new drivers will be expected to perform one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • Parallel parking at the side of the road
  • Parking in a bay (drive in/reverse out or reverse in/drive out)
  • Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing for two full car lengths and rejoining traffic

The last manoeuvre has led to a lot of criticism, as many examiners contend that it violates the Highway Code (Rule 239) and is dangerous. Yet, the overwhelming majority of the public support the amendments to the driving exam. Whether you agree with the changes to the UK practical driving test or not, we must familiarise ourselves with them.

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Rugby School of Motoring has been providing local driving lessons in the Rugby area and currently operate in the following towns: