Independent Part Of The Driving Test.
On the 4th of December 2017 an overhaul of the driving test was introduced across The UK. The pre briefing at the start of the test will go something along the lines of this.
“The test will last 38 to 40 minutes and will include about 20 minutes independent driving and various road and traffic conditions. I will ask you to complete one manoeuvre and we may do an emergency stop. The sorts of things you have been practicing with your instructor or accompanying driver”.
Why has it been changed?
Research conducted by the DVSA shows that new drivers find the independent training and testing aspect –the bit where they let you navigate where you want to go – particularly useful, so it has been expanded.
Robots or Humans, you choose?
If learners are always told where to turn and when to turn does this help with their identification skills? Will they become confident independent drivers when out on their own or a robot of the system just following orders blindly. “
We have all heard the saying “you only learn how to drive when you pass your test”. Is this the start of a new age of self awareness that can be started early even when accompanied on a lesson or the driving test.
The sat nav section of the driving test
The examiner will ask you to pull over before starting the independent part of the driving test. The examiner will bring their own sat nav device and set it up in a suitable place where the candidate can see it clearly.
The instructions they will give go something along the lines of
“Shortly I’d like you to drive for some distance independently. I’d like you to follow a series of directions from the sat nav please. Continue to follow the sat nav until I tell you otherwise. Drive on when you’re ready.”
A sat nav can be a very helpful tool when driving but like having friends in the car chatting about Game of Thrones or the radio blaring out your favourite music it can also be quite a distraction.
Why not have regular quick glances at the sat nav as you drive to see what nasty turns or tricky roundabouts it has in store for you. Don’t stare too long at it though and miss that traffic light that’s just turned to red!
For the day dreamers amongst us the sat nav will also tell you the speed limit of the road you are on too so you don’t need to sit there panicking about whether it was a 30 mph sign you just went past or a 40.
On the test when the sat nav says ‘you have reached your destination’ DON’T JUST STOP! Remember your not just out for a Sunday drive somewhere it’s your test. The examiner will continue to direct you after the sat nav finishes.
Following road signs on the driving test
For the old school crowd 1 in 5 tests are still conducted following road signs. Here is how the examiner will explain it.
“Shortly, I’d like you to drive for some distance independently. I’d like you to follow the traffic signs for [location] please. Continue to follow the signs until I tell you otherwise. Drive on when you’re ready.”
When following road signs try to spot them in good time. Why not slow down when approaching signs a little to give yourself time to read the sign and choose the correct lane EARLY!
If your in the wrong lane go the wrong way
Don’t change lanes at the last minute in front of that 25 tonne truck next to you. If the lane you have chosen is the wrong lane just go the wrong way safely. The examiner will not fail you for going the wrong way and will probably be quite glad you didn’t turn them into a lorry sandwich.
Getting the practise
If independent driving is started early in the learners development and pupils are involved in journey planning with the instructor from the beginning hopefully it will come second nature to them. I’m sure the instructor will jump in to help if things go wrong. We like the shape of our cars!
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