A guide to the new practical driving test

A driving examiner with a student in a car

Understanding the new practical driving test

New drivers don’t have an easy time when they’re learning to drive, whether they’re paying a lot of money for driving lessons or trying to get to grips with finding their first car. And now to add to this stress, the practical driving test is changing and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. From 4th December, 2017, the practical driving test will be modernising and drivers will have to do a number of new things in order to pass their test. But what are these changes exactly and is anything staying the same? We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the new test format, so keep reading!

Is anything staying the same on the practical test?

Yes, a number of things will be staying the same as the current test. The test will still last for around 40 minutes and you can still opt to take your driving instructor on the test with you. You will still be required to do an eyesight check and answer a safety question before the driving begins. The new test will also still require learners to drive in various road and traffic conditions. Other things that will still be on the test include a chunk of independent driving, performing one reversing manoeuvre, performing a controlled stop and possibly being told to do an emergency stop.

Marking criteria

The most important thing that remains the same is the marking criteria, the pass rate will stay the same. As long as drivers receive less than 16 driving faults and don’t have any serious or dangerous driving faults during the test then they’ll pass. Examiners will tell drivers if they pass or fail as soon as the test ends and will continue to supply feedback on how they did.

Safety question

The first change is the safety question, you will be asked one safety question before you start driving and then you’ll be asked another one during your test. For example, the examiner could ask if you know how to clean the windscreen and you would have to demonstrate your understanding by turning the wipers on and off.

Independent driving

The length of independent driving is being doubled and you’ll have to do this for 20 minutes (which works out to be half of the test).


While the test still requires one reversing manoeuvre two out of three are being scrapped and replaced with more common reversing manoeuvres such as parallel parking and reversing in and out of a parking bay. Turning in the road and reversing around a corner are the manoeuvres being scrapped.


Drivers will still be required to follow a series of directions, however, it will no longer be verbal directions. Drivers will have to follow directions from a sat nav or follow road signs during the test. One in five of the new driving tests won’t feature the sat nav. If you forget the right directions you won’t fail your test as long as you continue to drive safely at all times.

What do you think about the new practical driving test? Do you think it is better for beginner drivers or do you think it is unfair? Let us know in the comments down below! To find out more information, contact us at Neves Garage or book online today.