What are the UK driving test changes from December 4, 2017? Read our full guide here

The UK driving test will change from December 4 2017, with the addition of four new sections including the use of sat-nav and real-life parking manoeuvres to replace reversing around a corner.

Government ministers say the new test is designed to ensure learner drivers have the confidence and ability to drive on their own.

The updated examination will see ‘reversing around a corner’ scrapped in favour of more real-life scenarios such as reversing in and out of a parking bay.

Other additions to the test will include a section where drivers use satellite-navigation to find their way between examiner-set destinations.

Candidates will also be asked to operate ancillary functions – such as switching on a rear heated screen while they’re driving,

What are the driving test changes from December 4, 2017?

The new driving test will come into force on 4 December 2017. The four changes are:

1) An increase of the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes:

This section currently lasts around 10 minutes, but will be extended to 20 minutes from December 4.

Candidates will be asked to drive without ‘turn-by-turn’ directions from the examiner.

With the extension, this will now account for around 50% of the test time.

2) Asking candidates to follow directions on a sat-nav as an alternative to following road signs:

During this section the independent driving section of the test, the majority of candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat-nav device.

The examiner will provide the route and set it up in the device. You won’t be asked to programme the sat-nav unit, so it doesn’t matter what make or model you practise with.

However, you won’t be able to use your own sat-nav device. The examiner will provide one for the driving examination.

You can ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if unsure. It will not matter if you go the wrong way, providing you don’t make a mistake while you’re doing it.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

The DVSA says that 1-in-5 driving tests won’t include the use of sat-nav, these will include the use of road signs instead.

3) Replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reversing around a corner’ and ‘turn in road’ with more ‘real-life’ scenarios, such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay:

While these won’t be included in the test from December, instructors should still teach them.

During the test, candidates will be asked to do one of the following reversing manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4) Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while the candidate is driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear heated screen:

The examiner will ask candidates two vehicle safety questions during the driving test – these are the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

DVSA describes these questions as follows:

  • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

The test won’t be getting any easier either, with the pass mark remaining the same – no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

Timing won’t change, either, the new version of the test will remain at around 40 minutes.

The changes will only apply to the driving test to start with.

Revealing the changes, Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “These changes announced today will help reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skills they need to use our roads safely.

“Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century – for example, the introduction of sat navs, will go a long way towards doing this.”

The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) believes lessening the focus on slow-speed manoeuvres in quiet low risk roads and increasing independent driving will allow examiners to better assess a learner’s ability to drive safely on higher-risk roads, where statistics show they have most crashes.

A public consultation revealed 88% of people agreed with increasing the independent driving to 20 minutes, while 8 out of 10 backed plans to axe reversing around a corner. A similar percentage support the new ‘show me’ element of the test, but just 71% were positive about introducing sat-navs to the test.

RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding, said: “We are very supportive of the revisions DVSA is making to the practical driving test, which will mean candidates undergo a far more realistic assessment of their readiness to take to the road unsupervised.”

“Much has changed since the first driving test was taken in 1935, and it must be right that the test evolves, just as the cars we drive are themselves changing to incorporate ever more driver assist technology such as inbuilt sat nav systems. Novice drivers need to demonstrate the right skills and driving style to cope with the new environment.”

“Clearly driving examiners and instructors both need time to adjust to the new test, in particular to ensure that candidates are well-prepared, nevertheless it is good to know that the new test will be running by the end of this calendar year.”

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