The New Driving Test

As you’ve probably read now, the new driving test comes into effect on Monday 4 December. There are, broadly, three changes coming in:

1) The Independent Driving section of the test is being expanded from 10 to 20 minutes and will, in 4 out of 5 tests, be conducted by following a Sat Nav (supplied and programmed by the examiner). In the remaining tests candidates will be asked to follow road signs as per the current test.

2) The ‘Reverse around a corner’ and ‘Turn in the road’ manoeuvres are being dropped and replaced with driving into and then reversing out of a bay, and pulling up on the right hand side of the road, reversing two car lengths, then pulling away again.

3) One of the Show Me Tell Me questions will be asked whilst on the move (the other will, as presently, be asked at the start of the test).

We will still be teaching the ‘Reverse around a corner’ and ‘Turn in the road’ manoeuvres as they are valuable lessons in their own right and are manoeuvres that you may be called upon to do at any time in your driving.

The Show Me Tel Me questions will be changing slightly and I will be publishing these for students in the near future. In the meantime they can be seen on the DVSA website.

The DVSA have released a set of videos on YouTube to explain the new test and demonstrate the new manoeuvres:

Read the full DVSA article by clicking here


The Proposed New Driving Test

Last week I was at a meeting about the proposed changes to the practical driving test.  In April trials start at a number of test centres across the country to see the effectiveness of the proposals.  The changes that have been proposed are as follows:

  • The Turn In The Road and Reverse Left are to be dropped in favour of driving forwards into a parking bay then reversing out and pulling up on the right hand side of the road, reversing back two car lengths, then moving off again.
  • Currently two safety questions (Show Me / Tell Me) are asked at the start of the test. Now one of these will be asked during the test, while the candidate is on the move.
  • The Independent Drive section of the test will be increased from 10 minutes to 20 minutes and a Sat Nav utilised to give the route. This section will also include the normal checks of pulling the car in and pulling away and the reversing manoeuvre which are currently undertaken outside of the ID section.

As with when the Independent Driving section was added to the test a few years ago, these changes are designed to more accurately mimic real life driving.  Whilst very few people I’ve spoken to admit to pulling up on the right, reversing back a couple of car lengths and pulling off again, the reversing part is added to ensure it meets the legal requirement for a manoeuvre in the test.   The safety question on the move is designed to act as a distraction whilst driving, much as we come across every day.  Sat Navs will be supplied by the DVSA for the test and will be pre-programmed with a route, including stopping off points along the way.

The discussion turned to the outgoing manoeuvres, Turn In The Road and Reverse Left, and whether people would stop teaching them.  The general consensus (and one I subscribe to) is that we teach people to drive, not pass the test.  The Turn In The Road is an excellent way of beginning to teach a student the skills necessary to manoeuvre the car and both are important real world skills.  To stop teaching them would be to offer a service less than is being paid for.

What are your thoughts on the new test?  Please comment below.

FIA Announce New Formula E Series

The FIA has announced a new racing series – Formula E, starting in 2014.

Set to race on street circuits around the globe, Formula E is for electric vehicles only.  You can read more at the BBC site.

My only concern is the final line in this article:

…when a driver comes into the pits, he won’t just change his tyres.

He’ll change the whole car – swapping it for a new, and fully charged machine.

Surely this flies in the face of everything the FIA is attempting to do in other formulae in cost cutting?  Is there no way batteries can be switched in the pits, or is this just journalistic licence?

Practical Test Cancellation & Highway Code App

Two bits of news today.

I (or rather my students) have been fairly lucky in rarely having to cancel a test at short notice. The case has always been that, if you give more than 3 working days notice of a cancellation or change, you don’t lose your fee, with changes after this date costing you the £62 test fee. Fees could be safe in special circumstances (bereavement, illness, accident, etc) but I found out today that this is no longer the case. Now there are no allowances for such circumstances, thus you will lose your test fee if you cancel within the three working day window, whatever the reason.

Recently, the DSA have announced a new iPhone app based around the Highway Code. More details can be read at the DSA’a website. Not having an iPhone, I can’t vouch for the app, but if anyone has tried it, please let me know your thoughts. Available now for £3.99.

Don’t forget the Highway Code, as well as being available as a book, is free to view at Highway Code Online.