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Changes to the practical driving test

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Where and when are you most likely to have a car accident?

Learning to drive can be stressful. Gaining enough confidence, skill and know-how to then pass the much-feared test at the end of all that even more so.

I remember failing on my first driving test and being extremely nervous throughout the entire time the beady eyed and very stern faced instructor poured over my every action. Even though I had failed, I remember being relieved that the whole ordeal was over.

Of course, I aced it the second time or so I tell everyone. I passed and that was enough. I have been driving now for over 15 years but I still remember that very clearly.

To add to that stress of course, the DVLA are looking to bring in changes to the practical driving test in December 2017 to look to marginally modernise the test. 

I can see that there have been very little in the way of changes to the test since “way back” in 2010.

So, what’s changed I hear you ask, well, sit down, get a brew (and a biscuit if you have any spare) and have a read at this:

  1. As it stands, the current pre-December 2017 test, allows for reading (whilst stopped) and following (from memory) directions from a map and/or road sign.

The big change for December 2017 is that, on top of the above, an extra ten minutes will be allowed for “following instructions given by a SatNav”.

  1. Presently, an examiner will ask you to perform either a “turn in the road” (previously known as a “three point turn” for all you oldies) and a “reverse around the corner”         

Perhaps the biggest of the three changes, you may be shocked (or not) to hear that these manoeuvres have been completely removed from the test as part of the December 2017 shake up. The DVLA have decided to replace these with “parallel park at the side of the road”, “park in a bay” and “pull up on the side of the road, reverse two car lengths and then rejoin traffic”.

  1. At the moment, examiners will ask one “show me” and one “tell me” question at the start of the driving test.

Now, the changes brought in December 2017, will see examiners asking one of these questions whilst the vehicle is in motion.

Nothing radical you may say but worth knowing regardless, especially if you happen to be one of the many nervous individuals learning to drive right now. 

Anyhow, I’m not saying it’s going to take you another three moments to reach your test but, I’d say you’re doing no harm going in loaded with a little extra knowledge by reading my blog. Victory loves preparation after all.

Hopefully, your instructor will be savvy enough to know about the forthcoming changes. If not, hey, I’m glad I could help.

By Steven Jones, road traffic accident claims handler in the personal injury team.