In the UK, the car driving test is changing. The DVSA has announced that the new driving test will come into force on the 4th December 2017.

Changes to the way we drive

Modern technology has fundamentally changed the way we drive. To give two common examples:

  • More people are using sat navs to get from A to B
  • Factory-fitted cameras and proximity sensors are making reversing and parking easier

The DVSA decided to update the UK car driving test reflect this evolution in driving. British drivers will take an updated practical test designed to make sure they have the skills they need to drive in modern cars.

If you’re planning to take your driving test on or after the 4th December, it will pay to make sure you’re prepared for these changes.

To help you out, we’ve put together this summary of the most important differences in the new driving test. You might also find our free driving lesson resources useful too.

Satnavs are in

Sat navs are often fitted as standard in new cars. Satnav software can also be installed on modern smartphones. Many people now rely on navigation devices for every journey they make.

A smartphone satnav app, symbolising the fact that the new UK driving test will require satnav use.
Be prepared to use a satnav on your driving test from now on

The road network in Britain is becoming more complicated and more congested. Satnavs ease the burden on drivers by providing the most efficient directions and by suggesting alternative routes to avoid heavy traffic. As a new driver, you must feel confident listening to satnav instructions and be able to act on them safely.

The updated practical driving test will include a satellite navigation element in recognition of these changes. Not all tests will use a satnav, however — 1 in 5 tests will rely solely upon road signs, just like in the old test.

If your test does include the satnav element, your examiner will provide the navigation equipment and set up the route for you.

Test candidates will then be expected to listen to the directions given by the satnav and respond appropriately. Just like the old test, it still doesn’t matter if the candidate takes a wrong turn, provided they don’t make a driving fault whilst doing so.

Three-point turns are out

The DVSA is also updating the range of manoeuvres that learner drivers might be asked to perform during their test.

New drivers will no longer be asked to perform either a three-point turn or to reverse around a corner from December. However, they will still be expected to learn these skills – so make sure your driving instructor teaches them to you.

In the new test, candidates will be asked to perform one of the following manoeuvres:

  • Parallel parking
  • Parking in a bay
  • Reversing for two car lengths on the right-hand side of the road before re-joining the traffic

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Our driving test manoeuvres page shows you how to perform all the routines you might be expected to perform on your driving test.

More emphasis on independent driving skills

One of the most notable changes in the revised test is that the independent driving element will be much longer. Currently, this part lasts about 10 minutes. This will be increased to 20 minutes from December — roughly half the length of the test.

Learners won’t be given step-by-step instructions from their examiner during the independent driving section of the test. Instead, they’ll follow directions from the sat nav or drive independently.

Get prepared for the new practical driving test!

The best way to make sure you’re ready for the new driving test is to take lessons with a quality driving instructor. Whilst you’re here, why not meet our team and learn more about what makes our driving school different.