Possible changes to the UK driving test

Driving tests see the end of three point turns and the introduction of sat nav training

driving test changesIn an effort to bring the UK driving test up to date the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced possible changes to the UK driving test which could see candidates required to learn how to drive while using a Sat Nav. It is also expected that the “turn in the road” – most commonly known as “the three point turn” and the “reverse around the corner” will be dropped from the test due to its lack of relevance modern driving.

Satellite navigation systems have become very popular over the last few years. A decade ago they were popular as devices which were plugged into the cigarette lighter of a car. They are so relevant to today’s driver that they are often likely to be inbuilt into the cars dashboard in more luxury models.

Driving test relevant to modern driving issues

As they are becoming so common place it only seems natural, if not necessary, to ensure they are used safely and effectively while manipulating all the controls of the car. Introducing this element to the UK driving test will take another factor of the modern day driving test one stage further. Currently the “independent driving” element of the test expects the candidate to find their way to a destination using conventional road signposts. In order to incorporate the new trial the DVSA is considering extending the “independent driving” section by up to 20 minutes.

The UK driving test has remained more or less the same for the past 20 years so this will be quite a major change to take on board for examiners and learners alike, but has been welcomed by the Driving Instructors Agency (DIA). Carol Brookfield, the Chief Executive at DIA, said in an interview with the Guardian “The DIA and its members will play a key role in the project as it is critical customers of the test, such as instructors and candidates have their input in making the test more fit for purpose and reflective of modern driving”.

Do we need the three-point turn in the exam?

The “three point turn” test and the “reverse around the corner” test both offer an excellent measure of drivers capabilities in manoeuvring the car, but these specific manoeuvres are not considered so relevant to today’s driver.  They will be dropped in favour of enhanced independent driving training.

As this will be a major change in the UK driving test, the DVSA will need to trial the proposed changes first. So in the first instance, over 1000 learners will be invited to join a trial of new practical exam measures designed to better reflect real-life driving. Eventually if results from the trial are good the new system will be cascaded down to all approved driving test centres and approved driving instructors

However, responses to the proposed changes haven’t all been positive. Specifically, the director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Steven Glaister welcomed changes which helped learners with the new dynamics involved in modern day driving but questioned whether removing elements such as the “three point turn” was taking away fundamental learning which is still essential.

As we enter the digital age computers are not just found on our desktops and mobile phones, they are becoming common in our cars too. This brings the opportunity to add new computerised driving aids such as the Sat Nav to the driver. As well as Sat Navs there are also tools such as hands free telephone sets and reversing cameras to name but a few. Should these also be taken into account in a driving test? Clearly the way we drive, and the assets we have at our finger-tips are changing every day.  To keep all motorists safe on the roads the driving tests needs to take on board those changes.

At Brighton Marina Driving Lessons we keep up to date with what you need to be safe on UK roads. We also offer a unique in car video system to help you with your training and a training package which can be customised to your individual style of learning. To learn more contact us on 01273 921906, fill in our website form


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