Driving test changes are on the way

UPDATED Jan 2015: Driving test changes you need to know about…

Big changes are coming to the driving test… find out what could be on the way here…

Big changes coming to a driving test near you soon

Big changes coming to a driving test near you soon

Yes, following on from big changes to the tax disc and driving licence, the next motoring essential to go under the knife is the driving test.

The three-point turn could soon become a thing of the past as the Government signals a consultation that could lead to the biggest shake-up for the driving test in almost 20 years.

Drivers might also be asked to prove to the examiner that they can listen to their sat-nav, or demonstrate they’re able to turn on the car’s heated rear screen while driving.

If you’re about to take the test, then make sure you check out our infographic looking at how likely you are to pass.

We’ve also got an instant road literacy test for full licence holders to see if they would still pass their test today.

UPDATE: Find out about important changes to Driving test

UPDATE: Find out about an important change to the Hazar Perception test here.

Read on to find what could be in, or out of the new driving test….

Driving test changes coming your way?

Driving test changes are on the way

Driving test changes are on the way

The UK’s practical driving test could be about to get its biggest shake-up in nearly 20 years, as the Government signalled plans to make the examination better reflect real-word driving habits and modern technology employed by motorists.

Around 1,000 learner drivers at 20 testing centres across Britain will take part in trials of a new practical exam next year. If popular, it’s expected the changes will become permanent, although the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) confirmed any changes would be subject to full public consultation.

Here are the main elements expected to be in or out for the new driving test – and what the experts say…

OUT: Three-point turn (turn in the road):

OUT – Three-point turn (turn in the road): This is where learners are asked to stop the car and turn around in no more than three vehicle movements. The DVSA says that this could be scrapped in favour of testing skills more likely to be used in everyday situations – such as pulling up at the side of the road and rejoining traffic.

What the experts say: AA President Edmund King has voiced surprise at the mooted exclusion of the turn in road, saying: “In our view a three-point turn is still an important manoeuvre for getting out of cul de sacs, dead ends and often car parks”.

OUT: Reversing around corners:

OUTReversing around corners: Feared by learners across the country, reversing around a corner without mounting the kerb could soon be kicked into automotive history. However, cut the celebrations short, it’s likely be replaced by more relevant tests such as reversing out of a parking bay. Reverse and parallel parking would  remain in the test.

What the experts say: Once again, the AA’s Edmund King is not convinced how future-proofed such a change would be. He said: “Eventually, self-parking cars will do away with parallel parking and, who knows, the driverless car might just do away with the test.”

IN – Test students' ability to use a sat-nav:

IN – Test students’ ability to use a sat-nav: As part of plans to increase the relatively new ‘independent driving’ element of the test from 10- to 20-minutes, candidates could be asked to demonstrate their ability to navigate to a predetermined location by using a sat-nav device.

What the experts say: Stephen Glaister, the director of the RAC Foundation, commented: “We all rely on our sat-navs, but they are not infallible and it is when they have led us down a dead end that we need to know how to do a three-point turn.

“It’s fine to add some aspects to the test but we should be cautious about removing the basics.”

IN – Safety on the go:

IN – Safety on the go: Learner drivers taking their test are currently asked two safety questions – in the form of ‘show me – tell me’ questions – before they commence driving, but new proposals suggest candidates could instead be asked these questions while on the move. Requesting a driver to operate the rear windscreen heater while driving, for example, would be intended to demonstrate how they’d act in real-world driving conditions rather than hypothetical situations.

What the experts say: Carly Brookfield, Driving Instructors Association (DIA) chief executive, said: “DIA has been heavily involved in the scoping of this project and is enthusiastic about the opportunity it presents to evolve the L-test to a level where it more realistically assesses a candidate’s ability to competently and safely manage road based risk and driving in real life, on real roads.

What the driving instructors say…
It’s the UK’s driving instructors who are at the forefront of keeping our roads safe by using their skills to ensure learners get the best possible start to life behind the wheel, so what do the people who really know have to say about the trial of proposed changes?

Peter Harvey of the National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP), which is made up of the four main driving instructor associations in the UK, said: “I have had the opportunity to try out the ideas that will be used in the trial, I think they will work well and I believe they are a step in the right direction for the driving test in Great Britain”.

UPDATE January 12, 2015: Hazard perception test goes CGI

Anyone taking their theory test from Monday, January 12 will be met by a new-style Hazard Perception section. The tired, out of date, blurry video sequences have been replaced by CGI clips that show the same scenes, but with updated vehicles and much higher quality delivery.

See the new clips in action
Watch the video below to see an example of the all-new CGI hazard perception test.

There’s no change in the way the test works, but the updated and clearer scenes should make it easier for candidates to use.

The clips still feature everyday road scenes and contain at least one ‘developing hazard’ – but one of the clips will feature 2 ‘developing hazards’

Pass or fail… how time, place and sex matter

Want to know just how likely you are to pass your practical driving test? Check out our infographic compiled from exams taken in 2013-14, to find the best places and times to take your practical. We also have the most likely and least likely person to pass a test… Don’t book your slot before you read this…

Best and worst person
Combining figures from all tests taken last year, we reveal the person who’s most – and least likely – to pass their driving test. The result reveals gender, location and date.

Best and worst people to pass their test

Best and worst people to pass their test

Best and worst months to take your test
We list the best and worst months overall, along with the top times to pass – all broken down for men and women. See the historic pass rate for the month in which your test is booked.

When should you book your test?

When should you book your test?

Best and worst places to pass your test
Reading this will help you decide whether you need to call the estate agent – it’s the top and bottom 10 places to pass your test…

Here are the best and worst places to take your test

Here are the best and worst places to take your test

Want the full infographic on your site?
We’re happy to share our driving test infographic, so if you want to embed it on your website, simply grab the code below and paste it where you want the graphic to appear on your site.


Would you pass your test now?

The Government might be planning changes to the test for new drivers, but should ‘experienced’ drivers be targeted, too?

Take our six-part road literacy test to see just how much you know about road signs and driving rules…

If you’re a qualified driver who would fail a test now, you’re certainly not alone. Researchers found that two out of three fully-qualified drivers failed when taking a copy of the current test.

These experienced drivers were most likely to fail on recognising basic road signs. Just 33% of those with a full licence passed this part of the test, compared with more than half of novice drivers who succeed in their theory test.

More than a third failed the hazard perception section of the test, while 50%  missed getting a pass mark on the multiple-choice questions.

Experts have warned that high levels of ‘road illiteracy’ and feeling uncertain about road signs, can lead to slow and dangerous driving.

The research by Churchill Insurance also revealed 53% of drivers want a compulsory ‘retest’ of the theory exam every 10 years. The theory test was introduced in 1996 and consists of 50 questions taken from a catalogue of hundreds. To gain a pass, the candidate must answer at least 43 questions correctly within 57 minutes.

Many drivers will also have missed out on the hazard perception test that was introduced in 2002. This involves watching a video and clicking on the screen to show awareness of a hazard developing.

Take a driver refresher course

If it’s been a while since you took your driving test and you’ve lost a little confidence in your driving, then don’t worry – you’re not alone. Beat your fears or just catch-up with the latest driving laws by taking a refresher course.

Many local authorities – such as Wiltshire Council – police forces and driving instructors offer these refresher courses for anyone who needs to sharpen their skills. Courses can often be tailored to match your specific needs – getting you back on the road with confdence and enjoying your motoring.

Search on Google for courses in your area

Booking a driving test? Don’t get scammed

Head to the official site and don't pay more than you should

Head to the official site and don’t pay more than you should

If you’re booking a driving test – particularly a theory test – ensure you book through the official Government site, or you could end up paying around £30.00 more than you need to.

The copycat sites mostly stay within the law, but will make charges not levied by the official site. Some will offer pass protection schemes – where candidate can retake their theory test for free if they fail – but these often rely on terms and conditions that many won’t satisfy.

Official sites:

Use these bona fide sites to book your test without unnecessary premiums:

Book your theory test here and pay no more than £25.00

Book your practical test here and pay no more than £62.00

Who can teach you…

Find an approved instructor

Find an approved instructor

With possible changes coming to the driving test, it’s more important than ever to keep up to date by getting professional instruction from a qualified instructor. Here’s all you need to know.

Anyone you who takes payment to teach you to drive must be an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) regulated by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Find your nearest Approved Driving Instructor

Use this official search tool to find the ADIs in your area.

Search here

Driving with friends and relatives

This is a great way to get extra driving practise away from your official driving lessons, but the friend or relative must satisfy the following requirements:

Anyone teaching you to drive must…

  • Be over 21
  • Be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in, eg they must have a manual car licence if they’re supervising you in a manual car
  • Have held their driving licence for 3 years

Appy days: Apps to help pass your driving test

Want an extra boost when it comes to passing your test? Or perhaps you’re a hard-pressed driving instructor – we’ve got an app to help you. Just click on the hotspots below for details.

Driving tests around the world…

  • In Brazil, you have to pass a psychological exam before obtaining a licence.  Learners are also taught techniques for escaping from potentially life-threatening situations.
  • Spain’s Highway Code is believed to be Europe’s most in-depth driving rule book, with three times as many rules as in the UK. However, the practical driving test is described as a ‘group excursion’. Spain has one of the highest road mortality rates in Europe.
  • In China, you may be asked to explain to your examiner what to do if your car plunges into water.
  • In Pakistan, the practical test involves one simple task: driving through a short course of cones. There is an 80% pass rate.
  • Mexico has no test. Simply buy a licence for 626 pesos (£28).
  • In Japan, you can fail your test if you do not bend low enough to check the underside of your car for concealed cats.
  • Legislation introduced in Russia at the beginning of this year means transsexual and transgender people, fetishists, exhibitionists and voyeurs, as well as pathological gamblers and compulsive thieves no longer qualify for driving licences.

6 thoughts on “UPDATED Jan 2015: Driving test changes you need to know about…

  1. Bryan Greenall

    A really well thought out and informative post you have managed to collaborate together which I may add the infographic to my site very soon.
    All the proposed changes in my industry are very exciting and also very needed.
    The dropping of the reverse around a corner is and has been needed for a very long time in my opinion which will give learner drivers more time to concentrate on the more important job at hand in mastering more tricky forward driving conditions.
    this will also help instructors to give pupils more experience on difficult driving techniques for sure.
    Your post on scamming is becoming a real problem and thank you for bringing this problem up with the information.
    All in all a wonderful informative post on different matters all in one place my compliments to the editor of this, great.

    1. Pete Barden Post author

      Thanks very much for taking the time to write such a kind post Bryan – it is appreciated. The fiver’s in the post…
      Thanks again.

      1. Bryan Greenall

        You are most welcome.
        It is one of the best content blogs I have seen.
        Donate the fiver to charity ha ha!
        I look forward to reading more of your posts soon.
        Keep up the great blogging.


    1. Pete Barden Post author

      I am not sure it’ll be easier, but it should be a lot more relevant to driving on the roads than elements of the current one are. Good luck!

  2. james diamond

    get rid of this so called waste of time theory test and do us all a favor the government scammers they must have raked in millions of tax payers money sick people they know that it does not save life’s do they think we are that stupid when this money spinner is forced up on us buy the scamming government I mean they have no prove that this theory test saves life’s where is the prove oops there is none for all we know they could have made things worse.


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