2017 UK driving test changes: what you need to know

The UK driving test has undergone numerous changes since it was first introduced in 1934. The latest revisions, proposed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, could see a number of familiar manoeuvres altered in favour of more up-to-date testing criteria.

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How could the UK driving test change?

In the current driving test, candidates are required to drive independently, without direction or instruction, for 10 minutes towards a specific destination. The revised test could see this period doubled in length, to 20 minutes, letting examiners more accurately judge a driver’s ability to navigate real-world traffic in a greater variety of conditions.

During this portion of the driving test, candidates are currently expected to follow road signs to reach their destination. Future tests could include a requirement to follow sat-nav directions instead. Not only would this make the test more representative of modern driving, but it would allow examiners to extend test routes to new locations.

Today’s driving tests require a number of key manoeuvres to be performed such as parallel parking, three-point turns and emergency stops. Traditionally, these have been examined in quiet country roads or residential areas – new plans could, however, see candidates be asked to perform them in busier areas surrounded by other road users.

A number of new manoeuvres could be introduced, too. Driving into and reversing out of a bay parking space and reversing two car lengths into a given space could feature on future tests. These could both help to further examine skills currently required to reverse around corners or perform turns in the road.

The final proposed change would allow examiners to ask vehicle-specific questions to candidates as they drive, rather than waiting until the car is parked. For example, the driver could be asked to demonstrate how to use the rear windscreen heater function while on the move. This would not only test candidates on their ability to operate numerous controls while driving, but would make better use of the testing time.

The governing body responsible for the UK driving test believes these changes could not only increase the pass rate, but could help contribute to cutting the number of people killed on the road each year, too.

Are all these changes final?

Before these revisions become an official part of the UK driving test, the proposal must undergo a consultation process – this will continue until August 25 2016. Anyone can respond to these suggestions and voice their opinion through an online questionnaire. The results of this public consultation will be published in due course.

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