Driving test gets one L of a shake-up in December 2017

Driving tests are being revamped – and Driving Works ensures our learners are ready for the updated exam.

From 4 December 2017, the British practical driving test is being overhauled to include new manoeuvres and sat nav directions. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says the changes are needed to reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

The L-test alterations have been designed to give new drivers the skills they’ll need for a lifetime of motoring. Old-fashioned exercises like three-point turns and reversing around a corner have been dropped, and a series of manoeuvres are taking their place. The aim is to make the driving test more relevant to modern independent motoring.

The four driving test changes of 4 December 2017 – what will they mean for you?

1. Independent driving test time doubled

From 4 December 2017 the independent driving element of the test will be doubled from 10 minutes to 20 minutes in length, during which you will need to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the examiner.

2. Following a sat nav
More than half of car drivers have a sat nav, and DVSA wants new drivers to use satellite navigation safely. Driving examiners will now ask you to follow directions from a sat nav, which will be provided and set up before the test begins.

Although DVSA is using TomTom Start 52 sat navs, it won’t matter what make of navigation unit you use for practice.

You’ll be allowed to ask the examiner for confirmation of directions if you aren’t sure what the TomTom said, and it won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing so.

A fifth of driving tests won’t use a sat nav, and you’ll need to follow road signs instead.

3. Revised reversing manoeuvres
Do you hate reversing around a corner or completing a turn in the road? You’re in luck, because the moves have been binned from the driving test because they’re no longer relevant to modern motoring.

Instead, your driving examiner will ask you to do one of three reversing moves:

    • parallel park at the side of the road
    • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (you’ll be told by the examiner which you have to do)
    • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic.

4. Answering questions while driving

It’s easy to become distracted while driving. You’ll now be required to prove you can maintain concentration behind the wheel while the examiner asks you a vehicle safety question while driving.

You’ll still be asked the ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how to carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you begin driving. Now you’ll be asked the ‘show me’ question (where you show how to carry out a safety task) while you’re driving the car – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the wipers.

No changes to pass marks

DVSA has confirmed the pass mark is staying the same – so you’ll still pass your test if you make no serious or dangerous faults, and no more than 15 minor driving faults.

No changes to prices

The cost of your driving test will stay the same, as will the time it takes – around 40 minutes.

Supporting safer drivers

The 4 December 2017 driving test changes have been widely supported by public consultation, and Driving Works is in favour of continued updates and improvements to the L test.

We believe the DVSA changes agree with the Driving Works ethos of teaching the skills you need to improve your driving for life.