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UK Driving Test changes from December 2017

The Driving Test is changing.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The 4 main changes to the test are:

the independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav
the reversing manoeuvres will be changed
answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

Following directions from a sat nav

Following directions from a sat nav is a significant change to the current test.

Just as there were lots of questions when we originally introduced the independent driving part of the test, we know there’ll be questions about how using a sat nav will work.

DVSA will provide the sat nav for the test

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up using one of the stored test routes. The candidate won’t need to touch it.

We’ve been working with potential suppliers to find and buy a suitable sat nav. We’ll award a contract very soon, and let you know which make and model of sat nav we’ll be using.

However, I want to emphasise again that it doesn’t matter which sat nav you use for practice. It could be a built in sat nav, mobile phone or stand alone sat nav. We’re not testing the ability set a route in a sat nav – just the ability to follow directions from one.

Positioning the sat nav

The examiner will make sure the sat nav is positioned appropriately and safely.

In most cases, we won’t fix the sat nav to the windscreen – it will be on a special dash-mat so it doesn’t move or fall off. However, due to the design of some vehicles, there will be some cases where we need to mount it to the windscreen.

Reverse manoeuvres

We’ll use a wide variety of carparks for the bay parking exercise, such hotels, retail parks and supermarkets. Our driving test centre managers are finding the most suitable car parks for each test centre.

We’re also talking to national car parking organisations to agree a joint approach to using car parks for this part of the test.

Pulling up on the right

We know some of you had strong views about pulling up on the right.

While The Highway Code advises to not park against the flow of traffic during the day, it’s very important to remember that it’s an entirely legal manoeuvre.

On our busy roads, there will be times when a driver needs to pull up on the right – and they need to have the knowledge and skills to do it safely. It’s vital to use a safe and systematic routine, including observations and appropriate signals. These are the skills we’ll be assessing.

It’s also important that drivers know and understand what factors to take into consideration when looking for a safe, legal and convenient place to stop or park. For example, a busy main road with a constant flow of traffic would not be safe or convenient.

The candidate will need to use their understanding of these factors to choose an appropriate place to pull up on the right, when asked by the examiner.

‘Show me, tell me’ questions

Some responses to the consultation raised concerns about asking a ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving. The main points raised were that it could:

be a distraction
cause an issue for candidates with special needs
affect people unfamiliar with the layout of the car
I believe asking a ‘show me’ question whilst driving will be valuable preparation for types of things drivers need to do safely while driving. If someone has passed their test and is driving on the motorway, they can’t pull over to switch on their headlights.