new practical driving test

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The UK practical driving test is changing from 4th December 2017. gives you the information you need to know about the changes coming in the new test as well as what you need to know and do to pass both the NEW and CURRENT tests.

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Changes to the format of the driving test have been trialled from spring 2015 by the dvsa. The trials have been at 20 selected driving test centres with driving instructors and their candidates that have opted in to the trials scheme. The trials finished in late 2016.

Changes planned for the new practical driving test will include:

  • The candidate using a satellite navigation system

  • It is understood that the driving examiners will provide their own pre-programmed Satnav device for each driving test and the candidate will follow the given route from the satnav for the independant drive portion of the test. It is expected that the independent portion of the test will increase from around 10 minutes to around 20 minutes.

  • Different manoeuvres

  • The reverse around a corner and turn in the road manoeuvres will be replaced by a more 'real world' scenario such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay' although it is antricipated there will only be one manouevre on the test as it is currently.

  • The candidate answering or demonstrating responses to the 'show me tell me' questions during the drive.

  • Whilst one of the two show me tell me questions may still be asked at the start of the test E.G 'show me how you would check the oil level', the other may be asked whilst the candidate is driving. This is likely to involve a physical response such as turning on the windcreen demister fan or heated rear window demister.

    The Current Practical Driving Test format
    started on 4th October 2010.

    new driving test The UK practical driving test format last changed in 2010. gives you the information you need to know about the test as well as what you need to know and do to pass the driving test.

    Over 50,000 people visited during the summer of 2010 to find information on the driving test changes. The site was UPDATED on October 9th 2010 to give full information on what is now the current UK practical test. Any future changes will be reported here well in advance of them happening so check back regularly.

    What are the Driving Test Changes?

    The new (from October 2010) driving test has two major changes from the 'old' / previous practical test.

    The first change is that you are only be required to carry out ONE driving manoeuvre (see details of manoeuvres in the New Driving Test Procedure section below) instead of the previous requirement for two manoeuvres. This is to allow more time for the new INDEPENDENT DRIVING part of the test which is the 2nd and most significant change.


    The independent drive part of the test lasts about 10 minutes.

    The candidate will be asked to do ONE of the following:

  • Drive to a destination following traffic signs.

  • Drive following a series of verbal directions - Diagrams will be shown to candidates given verbal directions.

  • Drive using a combination of both of the above methods.

  • The diagrams may show a simple route path such as, Follow to a road end and turn right - at the next road end turn left- at the roundabout turn right.

    During the Independent drive the candidate must still drive correctly as per the rest of the driving test including using correct observations, using mirrors correctly, obeying speed limits, road markings and signs etc etc, but completely independently, unaided and unprompted. MORE DETAILS BELOW IN THE TEST PROCEDURE SECTION.

    The New (from October 2010)
    Practical Driving Test Procedure

    Below is what happens in the Practical Driving Test.

    1) Both Parts of your driving licence (paper and plastic card) are checked by the driving examiner.

    2) Your eyesight is checked by reading a number plate of a car in the vacinity of the test centre.

    3) You will be asked two 'show me tell me' questions relating to your car's maintenance/ safety/ minor controls. An example question is "Show me how you would check the oil level on this car". For full a full list of show me tell me questions, answers, explanations and under bonnet pictures of tuition vehicles please visit WWW.SHOWMETELL.ME - Questions and answers.

    4) You will be asked to make yourself confortable in the driving seat and then the examiner will explain how the test will be conducted, and you will be told to drive up to speed limits, and to follow the road straight ahead unless told otherwise.

    5) You will be asked to start the engine and either drive away/ out of the carpark or to carry out a reversing manoeuvre into a parking bay in the test centre carpark. If you are asked to perform the reverse bay park manouevre on test it will normally be carried out at the start of the test, but candidates are sometimes asked to perform it at the end of the test on return to the test centre carpark.

    6) You will drive along a test route where your examiner will give you clear instructions such as "Take the next turning on the left please".

    The test route will involve minor roads and more major roads where the speed limit may be up to the national limit of 70mph. Dual carriageways may be used where they are available. You will NOT be asked to drive on motorways- this is illegal for learner drivers.

    You will be asked to park on a number of occassions on test, often before a manouevre etc.

    7) If you DID NOT carry out the reverse bay park at the start of the test, you will be asked to carry out ONE driving manouevre. The manouevres are:

  • Turn in the road using forward and reverse gears.
  • Reverse around a corner (corner to the left unless in a left hand drive vehicle or panel van, then it would be to the right).
  • Reverse / Parallel Park.
  • Reverse Bay Park at start, during or end of the test.

  • 8) INDEPENDENT DRIVING- This can be carried out at ANY time during the test.

    The examiner will ask you to pull up and park at a safe and convenient location. You will then be asked to either drive independently to a location such as 'Newtown' following road signs and markings, or be given a series of directions and shown a diagram to get to a destination. The diagram will typically have just 3 steps within it- for example-
    STEP 1) Turn right at the end of the road.
    STEP 2) Turn right at the roundabout.
    STEP 3) Turn right at the traffic lights.

    A single route may involve long roads in order to cover the whole 10 minute period, or you may be asked to park twice or even three times in succession, each time being given a new separate route, perhaps lasting just 3 or 5 minutes each.

    So, you could get one long independent driving route, two shorter routes or even three very short routes, either with diagrams or a mixture of diagrams and following signs.

    If you go the wrong way don't panic! The examiner will get you back on course and you will not receive a fault if your driving has been correct and safe. So if you turn left instead of right it is fine if you have signalled left, positioned correctly for a left turn, and the road to the left is not a no entry road etc etc.

    If you get lost or can't remember where you were supposed to go don't panic! You can ask where you need to go at any stage, but this is best done in good time so you can select the correct signal and lane etc where necessary. So if you are approaching a roundabout, you could ask the examiner which way to turn and he or she will tell you, and you will not receive a fault for asking. The same would be true for a crossroads or T junction situation etc.

    The examiner is not judging your navigation skills, but your ability to drive, position, signal etc independently.

    9) You MAY be asked to carry out an Emergency Stop.

    10) You will return to the test centre and be asked to park and switch off the engine.

    11) You will then be told the result and given a de-brief. During your test the examiner will have noted down any MINOR, SERIOUS or DANGEROUS driving faults. You will fail if you commit one or more serious or dangerous faults, or more than 15 minor faults.

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