Driving test set for big changes - here is everything you need to know

Driving test changes
Driving test changes

If you're planning on taking your driving test later this year then you should be prepared to expect a few changes.

By December 4, young motorists will face a very different driving test with a new focus on driving safely and independently.

The revamp will be the biggest of its kind in the test's history and this is everything you need to know ahead of the changes.

Independent driving

Currently, young motorists are expected to do ten minutes of independent driving without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

However, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced that this will now be doubled to 20 minutes.

This will now make up around half of the test time.

Following sat nav directions

Sat navs have become a huge part of driving and, from December 4, learner drivers will be tested on their ability to follow these instructions rather than looking at road signs.

The equipment will be provided by the examiner (a TomTom Start 52) and will be set up for those taking their tests.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav and you’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

Manoeuvre changes

If you've ever dreaded the reverse around the corner manoeuvre then you're in luck - it will be scrapped under the new test.

This, as well as the 'turn-in-the-road' action, will be stopped with three other possible reversing manoeuvres introduced instead.

- parallel park at the side of the road - park in a bay

- either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

'Show me, tell me' questions

At the start of every test, learners are asked two 'show me, tell me' questions but these are going to change slightly.

Motorists will still be asked two vehicle safety questions, but the tell me question will be before they start driving with the show me question during the test.

This could be showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.

What isn't changing

The pass mark is staying the same meaning you will pass without any serious or dangerous faults and fewer than 15 minor driving faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.

And, most importantly, the cost of the test will not be increased.

Who it will affect

All car driving tests taken from December 4 will include the new changes. This includes if you fail a test before then and retake it after the changes are introduced.

Also, if your test is cancelled or moved for any reason to after this date then the changes will still apply.

Why are the changes being introduced

The DVSA said the changes are being introduced to reduce the number of people being killed in collisions.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: "DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

"Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.

"It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test."

Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said: Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.

These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.

The changes have been trialled on more than 4,300 learner drivers, and 860 driving instructors, in 32 locations across Britain.