Is The Driving Test Getting Too Hard?

Thu 6th Dec 2018

Pass rates for the UK driving test have slumped to a ten-year low, with less than half of those taking tests in the past year actually passing.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced a number of changes to the practical test in December 2017, including doubling the amount of independent drive time from 10 to 20 minutes, which increases the possibility to make a mistake.

Though the DVSA’s research suggests that an overwhelming 88 per cent of the public were happy to see the changes introduced, almost 55 per cent of those taking the test now fail.

The new-style exams include other changes, including the use of a satnav system, whilst the ‘show me’ element of the test now takes place whilst the student is driving. These changes are designed to demonstrate the ability to multi-task whilst driving, though research suggests that very few learner drivers follow directions from a satnav prior to the test.

Mark Winn, Chief Driving Examiner, said: "The DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.

"With more than 90 per cent of drivers now using a sat nav in training the new test is making a real difference in preparing new drivers and giving them the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to drive on all types of roads.

"More than 80  per cent of young drivers feel prepared for real life driving following the introduction of the new test - and have found the sat nav and the extended independent driving training to be invaluable, helping keep them safe on Britain’s roads."

Motorway driving has been introduced to driving lessons, but at the moment is not part of the driving test, though a fifth of drivers who expressed a concern that the test didn’t prepare them for UK roads believed that motorway driving should be a part of the test.

Meanwhile, Citroen, whose C3 has been named ‘Driving Instructor Car of the Year’ have put together a list of top tips for passing the driving test.

Citroen Tips
1. Make sure you’ve had enough lessons and plenty of practice, your worst drive should be good enough to pass the test – not just your best. Do not try to rush the process. Be guided by your instructor, as they will tell you when you are test ready.
2. Choose where you want to take your test, the route should reflect the type of driving you will be doing after passing. If you will be driving in town after passing, make sure you have a thorough grounding. Moving to a rural test to make passing easier will defeat the object.
3. Pick a good time for your lessons to ensure it replicates your test experience. A lesson every Sunday morning may not give the challenge of driving in traffic that a test on a Monday morning is going to present.
4. Be thorough checking mirrors and develop an ordered observation strategy. You will be required to stop and move away throughout the test and it may be that there is never an issue for you to deal with, so the examiner needs to be confident that you look properly every time. Make sure you can be seen looking or even mention the fact you have looked.
5. Be confident with the technology in your car and use it to your advantage. Make sure you have followed the instructions from a sat-nav and know when you can follow the directions safely. Knowing where all the controls are will increase your confidence.
6. Be prepared to ask the examiner to repeat their directions, it is not a memory test and it is better to be safe and confident than unsure.