Changes to the driving test

As you may or may not already be aware on the 4th December 2017 the driving test as we know it is going to change. There have been changes in the past but not for a long time has so many changes been implemented in one go.

So what is going to be different?

The 4 driving test changes

  1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

  1. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

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. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

  1. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • 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



  1. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers


Follow the link below to watch a video example of the new driving test:- 


Why are the changes being made?


Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

These changes are being made because:

  • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
  • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test

The changes follow a:

  • public consultation that over 3,900 people took part in
  • trial of the changes involving over 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors

The proposals were widely supported by the public. The results of the consultation show that:

  • 2% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
  • 8% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
  • 6% agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are tested
  • 4% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving


Should I be worried?


NO! The changes are being put in place for your benefit, safe driving is the goal. The current test also measures your skills however the DVSA recognise many things have changed and many road users use Sat Navs and the DVSA want to ensure this is being done safely.


What will happen if I fail my test on December the 3rd


You will need to re book the test and it will be advisable you book a few extra lessons to brush up on the new test changes if they have not already been covered on your previous lessons.