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How the driving test has been updated for 2018

Written by: Neil

Learning to drive is a rite of passage for every motorist, culminating in the ultimate end-of-level boss that is the practical driving test.

The tasks you were asked to do during your driving test may be quite different to what learners are requested to do these days, and that’s the case even more so following fresh changes designed to better reflect modern driving.

Technology is increasingly prevalent in new cars, with everything from touchscreen sat-nav to automatic self-braking systems now commonplace, and one of the four new changes addresses this head-on.


More than half of car drivers (52 per cent) now have a sat-nav, so it makes sense that most (roughly four in five) test candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat-nav for 20 minutes of the independent driving part of the test.

The examiner will enter the destination so the driver won’t have to worry about fiddling with the sat-nav itself and they won’t be penalised if they go the wrong way, unless they make a fault – like run a red light – in the process.


Another key change to the driving test is the length, with the duration of time out on the road being stretched by 20 minutes.

Candidates will have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner during this time.

Backtracking on reversing

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres have been scrapped, but will still be taught by instructors.

Drivers will still be asked to successfully perform certain reversing manoeuvres though, such as parallel parking at the side of the road or parking in a bay. They could also be asked to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths, then rejoin the traffic.

Question time

Examiners will ask the driver two vehicle safety questions while driving during their test.

This means they’ll be asked a ‘show me’ question, such as where you’d carry out a safety task while you’re driving (example: how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers), and a ‘tell me’ question, like explaining how you’d carry out a safety task.


While these changes seem like great ideas, the examiners themselves aren’t happy and claim they are being asked to work more for no extra pay. As a result, around 1,500 examiners went on strike when the changes were implemented on Monday (December 4th).

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, comments: “The DVSA says it has introduced the changes in a bid to improve road safety among road drivers. Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19, so any changes to address this should be welcomed.”

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Image: monkeybusinessimages via iStock