The Practical Driving Test is Changing in December 2017

There is some big news for those who are preparing to start driving lessons, as a number of changes to the current practical driving test format are on the horizon. These changes, while certainly not extreme in nature, will require both learners and instructors to make various changes to ensure learners are fully prepared for the test.

As of 4th December 2017, the following four changes to the practical driving test will be implemented.

Independent Driving

While independent driving, which refers to driving without following direct instruction from the examiner, is already a part of the practical test, the December changes will see this portion of the test take up 20 minutes, rather than 10. This accounts for approximately half of your test time. As always, remember that the key with independent driving is to focus more on safety than getting your directions absolutely spot on.

The Introduction of Sat-Navs

To go along with the increased focus on independent driving, many test candidates will now be asked to follow the directions of a satellite navigation system. Approximately 80 percent of practical tests will utilize the Sat-Nav, whereas the other 20 percent will call upon the learner to complete the independent driving portion using road signs.

As for the Sat-Nav itself, you will not be permitted to bring your own equipment to the practical test. Instead, the examiner will set up the system for you, meaning you only need to worry about following its directions.

As such, you can practice with practically any type of Sat-Nav without having to worry about not being able to set up correctly once the test comes around. To emphasize once again, place your focus on driving safely, rather than following instructions to the letter. If you miss a turning or lane change, don’t compromise the safety of other drivers or yourself in order to correct the issue.

Reversing Manoeuvres

Upon December 4th, 2017, the practical test will change so that you need to execute different reversing manoeuvres. Instead of the traditional turn in the road and reverse around a corner manoeuvres, you will be asked to complete one of the following:

-A parallel park at the side of the road.
-Parking in a bay, which will either involve reversing in and driving out, or driving in and reversing out.
-Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, stopping the car, and reversing for two car lengths before re-joining traffic.

Your driving instructor should adapt accordingly as the changes loom, while still teaching the previous manoeuvres as well.

Show Me, Tell Me

You will be asked two questions during the new driving test, once of which calls upon you to tell the driving instructor something, whereas the other requires you to show them something.

The “tell me” question will take place at the start of the practical test, before you begin driving, and will relate to a safety task.

The “show me” question will take place during the test and requires you to demonstrate a task, such as turning the headlights on or using the windscreen wipers.