Since the first driving test in 1935, more than 46 million tests have been taken in the United Kingdom. Although there have been a number of new rules and regulations introduced over the years, for the past 20 at least, the practical driving test has remained more or less the same. Although road safety has greatly improved from those early days, despite the huge increase in vehicles on the road, many experts argue that more can be done.
By revising the practical test, it is hoped that drivers will be able to demonstrate more independent driving periods and perform real-world manoeuvres. Research has found that a proportion of learner drivers only learn the minimum they need to in order to pass their test. This is a worrying thought, as there are so many other areas of driving that the current test fails to take into account.
Because the driving test can’t cover everything that a learner will need to know, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency want to make it more like a ‘real journey’. This will hopefully mean a more comprehensive view of the driver’s ability and make sure that they are more complete drivers.
The proposal includes:
– An increase in the independent driving section of the test, from 10 minutes to 20 minutes
– The incorporation of satnav driving, by asking the learner to follow satnav instructions rather than road signs
– Replacement of the outdated ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more common ones, such as parking in a space and then reversing out again.
– Parking on the right side of the road and then pulling away again.
It is important that safety on the road is always being assessed and that any changes that might help to lower the fatality figures are considered. Driving behaviour has changed a great deal in recent years, which is why the introduction of the satnav to the test, as well as pulling away from the opposite side of the road, can be so valuable.
At the moment these are just proposed changes to the test. Drivers have been asked for their opinion and the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency will now debate the results. Should the changes come into action, it will no doubt fundamentally change the way that we teach our learners at Baileys Driving School. We would welcome the progressive examples given above, and look forward to applying them to our lessons moving forward!