The requirements for passing your driving test are changing. From the 4th December this year, the structure will differ for England, Scotland and Wales. Additional testing of certain skills and a shift in examinable manoeuvres are being introduced to keep up 21st century driving. Make sure you’re prepared for your test by making yourself aware of the change!
So, what are they?
- Independent driving
Firstly, the independent driving section of the test will be extended from 10 minutes to 20. This means that roughly half of your overall test time will be independent driving without turn-by-turn instructions from the examiner.
The examiner will be looking for safe, confident and steady operation of the vehicle. The purpose of this section of the test is to assess your ability to read and follow road signs and markings.
Listen to each instruction carefully, and if you are in any doubt about which direction you are being asked to take, ask the examiner to repeat themselves for clarification. You won’t lose marks for double checking!
- Sat Nav
Secondly, this December will mark the introduction of testing with a sat nav. This is to reflect their rise in popularity, with 52% of all cars being fitted with the device. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency assert that drivers ought to be prepared in real life situations, rehearsing drivers from what could be a distraction to a driving enhancement tool.
While most learners will experience this aspect of the test, one in 5 tests won’t use it, so don’t be thrown if you’re one of them!
The examiner will set the route on the sat nav and ask you to follow it, so it doesn’t matter which model you practice with. If you’re not entirely sure which way the sat nav is asking you to go, it is more than acceptable to ask the examiner for confirmation. You won’t be marked down for going the wrong way, unless you make a driving error while doing so.
Your examiner will still ask you to perform a randomly selected manoeuvre. However, the list of what the examiner can call on has changed.
No longer will candidates be tested on their ‘reverse around a corner’, or a ‘turn in the road’. Instead, examiners will assess one of the following three exercises;
- Parallel park at the side of the road
- Bay parking (either reversing in or driving in front first)
- Pull up on the right side of the road, before reversing two car lengths and re-joining the moving traffic.
Make sure that your instructor has practiced you on all three manoeuvres, as well as the two that have been removed from the list.
- Show me tell me
Before you get in the car, you will be asked a safety question about the vehicle. This is known as the ‘tell me’ part of the test.
The ‘show me’ section refers to performing an action while driving, such as showing the examiner how you would wash the windscreen, or how you would check to see if your lights were working.
The good news is that the rest of the test is largely remaining the same!
- The pass mark has stayed the same, with 15 minor faults considered acceptable
- The cost of the test remains the same – £23 for the Theory test and £62 for the Driving test (or £75 at weekends)
- The length of the test will be same, at 40 minutes long
Although the changes are subtle, they’re well worth practising until perfect. Enter your test with confidence, knowing that you’ve done everything you can to become a safe and competent driver.