Sat nav, heated windows: The new driving skills
Learner drivers know they need to master the three-point turn and remember the all-important mantra of ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’.
But what about following a sat nav and turning on the heated rear window?
These are some of the new skills being added to an updated British driving test, as part of a government push to ensure learners can handle real-life driving experiences.
The test will no longer include elements such as turning in the road and reversing around a corner to make time for more everyday skills, such as reversing into and out of a space in a carpark.
In what is being billed as the biggest shake-up since the introduction of a theory test in 1996, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency also plans to double the amount of independent driving in the test from 10 to 20 minutes. That requires candidates to drive by following traffic signs, verbal directions or a mix of both.
Candidates will be asked to follow directions on a sat nav and given instructions such as switching on lights or heated windows.
The practical test will continue to run for approximately 45 minutes.
The changes come amid concerns that motorists are more likely to be involved in a crash within six months of passing their test than at any other time.
They follow other reforms such as allowing learner drivers to gain experience on motorways and introducing a deposit that would be refunded to successful candidates.
The agency’s chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said that while Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, there is scope to do more to keep drivers safe, particularly those who are newly qualified.
“Making sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of save driving.”
Chief examiner Lesley Young said: “We want them to show they can cope with distractions and assess risk, without the intervention of their instructor or examiner.”
About 1.6m driving tests are taken in the UK every year. In the past five years, 3 per cent of reported road accidents had the contributory factor ‘learner or driver inexperience’.
The 2014 National Travel Survey found that more than half of all drivers in England used a sat nav – up from 32.5 per cent in 2009.