Out with the old, in with the new – driving test brought up to date

new driving test rules

As we enter 2018, we begin a new era for the driving test, for all those hoping to qualify for a driving licence in England, Scotland and Wales. Changes have been brought into effect to ensure that the criteria that new drivers are tested against is reflective of the modern driving experience. Initially these changes only apply to those applying for a car licence, although it is expected that these will be rolled out more widely in due course.

You’ll now have to follow a sat nav for part of the test

One of the most interesting changes is that part of the test will now require you to accurately follow instructions from a sat nav. This will be a route that has been pre-set by your examiner, so although you won’t know where it will take you, you’ll not have to worry about plugging the destination into the sat nav itself. But you will have to demonstrate that you can concentrate on the road, your observations and on the instructions simultaneously.

50/50 instructed/solo navigation

At the moment, the test comprises approximately 10 minutes where drivers are left to drive independently, i.e. not following detailed instructions from the examiner. This is now changing to allow more time for this. The independent driving time will double to roughly 20 minutes, which equates to around half of the allocated testing time. Part of this independent driving time will allow for the sat nav section outlined above.

Ensure that you are capable of executing basic safety tasks while driving

You should expect your examiner to ask you to perform two vehicle safety exercises while you’re driving. One of these will be asked before you set off, the other will be something you have to demonstrate while driving. It is important to be able to carry out rudimentary safety procedures when you’re driving a vehicle, such as turning the hazard warning lights on or squirting the windscreen with cleaning fluid.

No more ‘reverse around the corner’ manoeuvre

Much to the relief of some, the reverse around the corner manoeuvre and the three-point turn are no longer to be tested as part of the formal examination. You’ll be taught how to do these by your instructor, but they will no longer form part of the test. They are to be replaced by manoeuvres such as parallel parking at the roadside or parking in a car park bay – either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out.