Independent driving will be introduced into the British driving test next Monday (4 October)

Candidates in all main categories of test, that’s drivers and riders, will be asked to spend around 10 mins demonstrating their ability to drive safely without step-by-step directions from an examiner.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:

“The independent driving assessment gives test candidates the chance to show they have the necessary skills to cope with the sort of traffic conditions they will face every day.

“Learning those skills from the very start of the driving process will help make new drivers safer.”

At the moment the examiner gives directions throughout the test. But during the independent drive, the candidate will have to follow traffic signs or a short series of verbal directions, or a combination of both. To help candidates understand where they are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show a diagram. Candidates can also ask for a reminder as they drive.

DSA’s Chief Driving Examiner Trevor Wedge said:

“The aim of independent driving is to assess the candidate’s ability to drive safely whilst making decisions independently. It’s not a test of navigation and candidates won’t be failed for going off route.

”The test is being improved to help produce safer drivers, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting any harder. We know many instructors are already teaching independent driving.”

In addition, practical car test candidates will only have to complete one of the three reversing manoeuvres, instead of two at present. Other categories of test remain unchanged. The price and duration of tests also stay the same.

MAG, not surprisingly, is somewhat surprised that DSA wants to reassure people that the test for car drivers is not getting harder, considering what they are doing to the bike test and considering they are meant to be improving standards!

Similarly, they are removing one reversing manoeuvre from the car test as they have already removed the compulsion to do an emergency stop, while riders now have to perform two!

Interesting too, is the reassurance that the price of the test will stay the same as the bike test fee seems to be forever rising…