The UK’s driving test went through some changest as of 4 December 2017. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has introduced the new driving test in England, Scotland and Wales – the changes in the current test have been designed to ensure new drivers have the skills they need to drive safely on the UK’s roads. Driving instructors are expected to be teaching learner drivers everything they need to know for the new car driving test – the main aim is that learners know how to drive safely.

Audi dealership, Vindis, shed light on the new rules in the driving world for learner drivers – what can they expect from the new car driving test?

New changes       

There will be four changes that will be the most recognisable in the new driving test – learner drivers should not need to learn anything new as driving instructors are expected to have been teaching drivers everything they need to know. The changes are to ensure new drivers are fully equipped and prepared for real-life driving and have enough experience of modern day driving practices. For now, the changes will only apply to car driving tests. The new changes are as followed:

The independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

From 4 December, independent driving now lasts for around half of the full driving test, around 20 minutes, as opposed to 10 minutes. Independent driving requires the driver to drive safely on the roads without having turn-by-turn instructions from the examiner.

Learner drivers will need to follow instructions from a Sat Nav

The DVSA want to make sure that all new drivers have enough experience using a sat nav before they pass their test and drive alone. With 52% of car drivers now owning a sat nav, or have one integrated into their vehicles, the test will ensure drivers can follow directions from one safely.

The sat nav will be provided and set up by the examiner. Drivers will be expected to safely follow directions from the TomTom Start 52, however, drivers will not fail if they go the wrong way, as long as they are driving safely.

One in five driving tests will not use a sat nav and instead, the driver will be asked to follow traditional traffic signs.

The reversing manoeuvres will be changed

Traditionally drivers could be asked to do a ‘reverse around a corner’ or a ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvre, but moving forward, these manoeuvres will be scrapped from the test. While the old manoeuvres will not be tested in your driving exam, your driving instructor should still teach you these manoeuvres.

Three manoeuvres that you could be tested on now are:

  • Parallel park at the side of the road.
  • Park in the bay, you will be asked to either drive into a space and reverse out, or reverse into a space and drive out.
  • Pull up on the right-hand side of the road and asked to reverse for two car lengths and then re-join the traffic.

Answer vehicle safety questions while driving

Moving forward, the ‘tell me’ question will be asked at the start of your test, and the ‘show me’ will be asked while you drive – as opposed to both questions being asked at the beginning of your test. For example, you could be asked to demonstrate how to wash the windscreen etc.

Other than those four changes, the remainder of the test is expected to remain the same. It will still last approximately 40 minutes and you will pass if you make no more than 15 minor faults and no serious dangerous driving faults.

Motorway experience for learner drivers

Motorways have always been a no-go area for L-plates, but it has now been announced that from 2018, the law will change and learner drivers will finally be allowed to drive on motorways – but there are some conditions to the rule change.

There are conditions to the rule change though, learners can only drive on a motorway before passing their test if they are accompanied by a qualified driving instructor, in a dual-control car. Driving instructors won’t be given any additional training, however, the DVSA will provide extra learning materials and an updated car driving syllabus.

New drivers often take on motorway routes alone for the first time, with little or no experience, the rule change aims to eliminate this lack of experience. Driving on motorways with your driving instructor means that newly qualified drivers don’t have to drive motorways for the first time on their own – the aim is that they will already have experience driving on the faster roads, with multiple lanes.

According to Pete Williams from the RAC, “Giving learners the option to gain valuable experience on our fastest and busiest roads should further improve safety and enhance the confidence of new drivers.”

To which Jasmine Halstead, head of learning and development for British School of Motoring had the same attitude, saying: “If learners aren’t allowed to practice on motorways under supervision then some will avoid motorways, and others will use motorways incorrectly when they have passed their test. Hence it is great news for road safety that learners will be able to drive on motorways under supervision.”