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At long last, the driving test looks set for a refresh

Plans have been revealed for a change in how we take our driving tests - the first major shake-up since the introduction of the theory test in 1996.

Around 1,000 candidates will take part in an investigation into the skills that drivers need to manage on our roads today, which may lead to an update to the practical driving test.

Dumbing down or wising up?

Satnavs are a big talking point of the news, as the government considers introducing them into the practical test. Some feel that a focus on using them for directions instead of road signs would be 'dumbing down'.

However, with many young drivers seeing a satnav as essential kit, I think it's clear they need to be confident with using them correctly. And by correctly, I don't mean switching it on and putting in a post code.

What's important is how a driver balances satnav directions against common sense and makes decisions based on assessment of the situation rather than following blindly - an aspect of driving education that I think we've needed for a while now.

It's great to see the government considering the changing skills involved in being a good driver in the real world.

Richard King
ingenie founder and CEO

The driving test does need a major overhaul but let’s keep all the important essential skills - like reading signs, understanding maps and being able to do a three-point turn in the dead end road the satnav has just sent you down.

Quentin Willson
Motoring journalist

Insure Safer Driving Richard King, Quentin Willson

Richard King and Quentin Willson speaking at an ingenie road safety event

How technology fits into the future of driving

Another positive is a greater focus on in-car technology.

Learning how to avoid being distracted by technology - hands free calling and music players as well as satnavs - is vital to becoming a safe driver, and something that young drivers currently have little guidance on.

What could be changing in the practical test?

  • Dropping the three-point turn
  • Dropping the reverse around a corner
  • More focus on everyday manoeuvres like reversing out of a bay
  • Requiring the candidate to follow satnav directions during independent driving
  • Asking 'Show me, tell me' questions while the candidate is driving, instead of at the beginning of the test

If you've got all this to look forward to, take a look at our

6 tips for passing the practical test >

Richard King

By Richard King

As founder of ingenie, Richard is passionate about helping young drivers get on the road safely and affordably. He appears on TV campaigning to improve young driver safety.

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ingenie is a car insurance brand for young drivers aged 17-25. We fit a black box in your car to assess your driving style. We'll review your policy 3 times a year and those who drive well could receive a discount.

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