On the 4th December, new driving test changes came  into place. These are set to cause some real differences in the assessment criteria, and mean that all new learner drivers are going to be affected.

The changes have been confirmed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and represent some of the largest changes to the test since theory tests were introduced in 1996. Among the changes are a number of alterations to the test which reflect how we use cars now instead of when the tests were last set, such as allowing new drivers to use sat-navs during their tests.

Other notable changes include drivers no longer having to perform a turn in the road or  reversing around a corner. Instead, drivers will be asked to perform one of the following new manoeuvres:

  • Parallel parking
  • Bay parking
  • Pulling up on the right hand side of a road before reversing and then pulling off again.

In addition, drivers will be asked a vehicle safety question while driving:

Before driving – Drivers will be asked a ‘tell me’ question, where they are required to explain how to perform a safety check.

Whilst driving – Drivers will be asked a ‘show me’ question where they will be required to demonstrate a safety check, such as showing how to wash the windscreen using car controls.

The changes also place a larger emphasis on independent driving, increasing the amount of time dedicated to this from 10 to 20 minutes.

Why are the changes happening?

These changes, according to the DVSA, reflect modern attitudes to driving, and an attempt to continue to make Britain’s roads safer.

According to Gov.uk statistics released before the changes, 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav. As a result, the DVSA wants new drivers to be trained on how to use them safely. And research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable – due to the fact that they can relate it to real-life driving once they’ve passed their test.

Tips for passing your test

Following these changes, we’ve got a few recommendations to help learner drivers prepare  for their test:

  • Get used to driving using a sat-nav in your lessons – Making sure that you’ve some good experience driving with a sat-nav in your car will mean that you’re used to navigating this way, and will stop you feeling caught off-guard when using one during your test. You could also have one in your own car for when you’re practicing with an existing driver.
  • Check the ‘Tell me, Show me’ questions beforehand – There’s a list of the questions that may be asked on the Government website, so make sure you know the answers to all of them before your test. Regularly test yourself on key details, like how to top up coolant or how to adjust headrests – following the official guidelines.
  • Don’t worry about missing directions during your test – According to the DVLA website, if you take a wrong turn anywhere, you won’t be failed unless you make a fault whilst doing it. If you turn off somewhere accidentally, or mishear an instruction, your examiner will navigate you back to the chosen route. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the examiner to repeat an instruction if you’re unsure.
  • Try independent driving beforehand – Independent driving can feel unusual to begin with, so make sure that you try this lots before you’re in a test situation. Your driving instructor will explain the process, but once you feel more confident you can practice more when you’re in your own car with the person supervising you. Get them to pick a nearby destination, and then follow the road signs in order to get there independently.
  • Explore your test route – If you’re taking your test in a different town or city to where you’ve been doing your lessons, try to plan a few times beforehand where you can drive around the test area to get familiar with the types of roads. Your driving instructor may plan to do this with you, or you could arrange to do this in your own car, or your parent’s car, with someone supervising.

It’s important to remember that the price of a test, duration and pass mark will be unaffected by this update. These changes were rolled out on the 4th December.

Just remember, practice makes perfect (or get’s you less than 15 minors and no majors which is good enough to get you a pass), so keep it up!

If you’re after more helpful driving tips, click here.

Good luck!