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4 driving test changes set for 2017

mobile phone with sat nav screen  

The New Year always brings about change and the driving world is no different. 2017 is set to introduce some driving test changes to include more realistic driving scenarios. We thought you'd probably want to know what that means if you're looking to start lessons.

All these changes will affect driving tests from 4 December 2017.

  1. Independent driving will increase to 20 minutes

    The part of your driving test where you're asked to drive independently is going to be made much longer - which feels like a good thing. This is the part of the test when you're in control and by making this double the amount of time, you can feel confident and more relaxed in the driving seat.

    Knowing you have 10 more minutes to do your thing should make you feel less panicked and, most importantly, allow you more time to show that you're good with the basics.

  2. Following satnav directions

    Don't panic but as part of that 20 minutes of driving, you'll be asked to follow a satnav for directions instead of listening to the instructor. This has come into focus because a lot more drivers are relying on satnavs to get them from A to B.

    52% of car drivers now have a satnav and the DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely.


    Driving with a satnav is definitely a skill that's important to have as it means concentrating on more than just the road ahead. It trains your brain to read the screen and the road at the same time, assessing each one and applying common sense before making a move.

    But don't worry - if the satnav starts telling you "you have reached your destination" when you're still at a roundabout, the examiner will be ready to step in and help you out.

    You won't be allowed to use your OWN satnav in the test - it'll be a device your examiner sets and you just have to follow its directions.

    If you've not yet driven with a satnav have a read of our advice first.
  3. More real-life manoeuvres

    So the 2 manoeuvres set to get the boot are reverse around a corner and turn in the road. (Pause for clapping and cheers?)

    These will be replaced with more real-life situations:

    • Driving into a parking bay in a public car park and reversing out
    • Pulling up on the right of the road, reversing a short distance and rejoining the traffic

    Confident driving in every situation is key and if you're anything like me, it's the everyday scenerios that you come across that can make you really anxious.

    Being able to drive into Sainsbury's car park without fearing that you're going to get stuck in a bay forever or scratch up the Audi next to you is going to be more useful to you than that turn in a quiet back-road with no one watching.

    The whole point is to prepare you for real-world driving. Why not go all-out and include drive-thru's in the test? Extra points for ordering your examiner a milkshake and fries.

    If you need a recap on your manoeuvres, here's the place to go.
  4. Being asked a safety question while you're driving

    We've all had that moment of sheer panic during a driving lesson when your instuctor suddenly asks you to turn your wipers on and you're like what?! sorry?! where?! me?!

    Well, this change to the test is going to be a good step to try to ease that reaction.

    As part of the show me, tell me questions that are currently in place, you'll be asked to complete an instruction inside the car (like adjusting your demister) while you're driving, instead of at the start of the test when you're parked up.

    Again - a much more useful skill to have for real-life driving.

Change is good

Our roads and the technology we use are constantly changing and making sure the driving test syllabus changes with them is really important.

As with any change, the initial months will probably be a bit new and scary, and will inevitably raise some concerns - just like the news on learners taking to the motorways. But keeping new drivers in bubble wrap during their lessons is not going to produce confident drivers and reduce crashes.

New drivers need to be fully equipped to deal with EVERY situation on the road before they set off on their own, and these changes should definitely help with that.

Katey Gregory

By Katey Gregory

Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social and content. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.