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UK Driving Tests Set to Change in 2017

The practical driving exam for learner drivers in the UK will be undergoing various changes towards the end of this year. In order to bring the test further in line with modern driving behaviour, the test will undergo tweaks which will be effective from 4 December 2017. So, what can you expect as a learner driver?

Four Main Changes to Driving Test

The four big changes are:

  1. Outdated manoeuvres like reversing around a corner will be shunted, in favour of more common manoeuvres such as reverse bay parking.
  2. The learner driver will have to follow directions given by a sat nav instead of (or as well as) road signs.
  3. The independent driving part of the test will be extended to 20 minutes (from ten minutes).
  4. Safety questions will be asked while the driver is on the road. For example, a driver undergoing the test might be asked to use the rear heated screens at a random time.

Why All the Changes?

The changes have been brought in to these test sections by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in order to make sure the test is fully modernised, while still able to assess the learner’s skills properly. Much research has been carried out by the DVSA to make sure that the most relevant parts of the test are updated. The sat-nav addition was introduced following findings that showed around half of all drivers use a sat-nav. The new part of the test that deals with sat-navs will concentrate on the fact that it could be possible that the device may distract a driver. This is particularly the case when drivers use phones with built-in sat navs or mapping apps.

Changes Could Prevent Accidents

A spokesman for the AA said that the changes are welcome. According to an interview with Autocar, he said: “We know that new drivers are a higher risk on the roads, therefore we need to better prepare them for real-world driving. These changes will test drivers in a more realistic manner, which is essential to improving their safety once their L plates are removed. In the future we will need to see further changes to the test when we have more electric, connected and semi-autonomous cars on our roads.”

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