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.

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.

Twitter Feeds Update – Driving Test Success

Driving Test Success feed now added. These guys offer what is, in my opinion, the best material to help you study for your driving tests (practical and theory).

You can view their website at

If you have any suggestions for feeds we can add, please e-mail us at and we’ll see what we can do.

Independent Driving – Part of the Test From October 2010

From October 2010, students will be asked to drive independently for about 10 minutes during their test, following a series of directions, road signs, or a combination of both. This is designed to better prepare students for the real world when they will no longer be following directions from someone in the passenger seat.

The DSA have published this video on YouTube to show how it will work:

From the DSA’s publicity:

Independent driving: the facts

Independent driving will become part of the practical driving test in Great Britain in October 2010.

It’s tasking the candidate to drive for about 10 minutes, either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.

To help the candidate be clear about where they’re going, the examiner can show them a diagram too.

It doesn’t matter if candidates don’t remember every direction, or if they go the wrong way – that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

Newspaper reports

The claim in some newspapers that independent driving would lead to a fall in the driving test pass rate is based on early research where conditions did not reflect the eventual design of the new element of the test.

Subsequent trials with a larger number of participants and more closely reflecting the conditions in the planned new test showed no significant fall in the pass rate.