December 4th 2017 Driving Test Changes

December 4th 2017 Driving Test Changes. This date is a turning point in the history of the British Driving Test. For the first time in its history there will be no testing of the turn in the road manoeuvre [3-point-turn]. Which means there will be a majority of drivers, who have never turned a car around in the road. Ask the question. “When confronted with a blocked road, how would a driver turn around to face the opposite direction?” Never having carried out this type of manoeuvre.

The DVSA have published that the turn-in-the-road manoeuvre will still be taught by driving instructors, even though it’s not going to be tested. Yes, I agree with that, but driving schools are running a commercial business. This means that a learner driver would not normally be happy to pay for learning something that will not be needed on a driving test. The majority of learner drivers only want the ‘bare bones’ of driving lessons to get through their test. The fall in popularity of the Pass Plus training programme is evidence of that.

Driving Test Changes in Full

This is a link to the driving test changes in full Here is a quote from the official DVSA site:

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

As you can see it mentions that you will be asked to carry out one of three manoeuvres. Not strictly accurate since the bay parking exercise is divided into two possible scenarios. To my mind I see this as two manoeuvres, not one, as they require different skill sets.

driving test changes
New driving test manoeuvres. Parking on the right

The parking on the right manoeuvre cannot be legally practised by learner drivers taking evening lessons in the winter. As it would be illegal to park on the right at night except in a one way street. I wonder how many parents (hopefully not professional driving instructors) will park on the right at night with dipped headlights. Blazing away in the face of oncoming traffic and reversing over someone’s driveway?

Intensive Driving Lessons

Intensive driving lessons are they a good thing? This is a Money Supermarket website headline.
Below is a comment I wrote  on the website.

Intensive courses the old fashioned way : First lesson on Monday test on Friday no longer work for most people. Engineers, siblings of a farmer would be the exception.
Intensive courses when used as part of an overall learning to drive programme can save a lot of money and time. Whilst producing a very safe driver at the end.
A 5 day intensive gets the process of car control into the nervous system with outstanding results. The following 5 days after a few days, or even a week off, the new driver blossoms out. The new driver is more than ready on this next 5 day course to take on traffic and challenging situations.
A test should never be booked whilst taking an intensive course. It blocks the learning process. Once things start to come together a test cancellation is then booked with extremely good results.

As you can see, I am firm believer that intensive driving courses, when used as part of an overall driver training programme are an excellent wayAre intensive driving lessons a good thing to save money and also save time. The really important added bonus though is the built in extra safety factor, over and above taking weekly lessons.

Are intensive driving lessons a good thing? Safety Observation

From a road safety viewpoint, intensive driving lessons produce a safer, more experienced driver. When a pupil makes a driving mistake. There is plenty of time to practice the correction. On weekly driving lessons it is usually left until next weeks lesson to try again. But this is often forgotten now by both instructor and pupil.

Repetition of good driving skills raises the standard of driving and produces a very safe and confident driver. 

Learner Driver Fined

A learner driver whilst on her driving lesson was caught driving at 36 mph in a 30 mph speed limit zone. She had only taken 12 previous lessons and pleaded that she had not noticed her speed increase.

She was given the option to either have 3 penalty points added to her licence, or take a one day driver education course. The course would cost £110.

Her driving instructor had no part to play in the ‘eyes of the law’.

Advice to all learner drivers 

According to the law; from the very first lesson, all drivers are responsible for the safety of themselves and other road users. How many new drivers are aware of that law!

All driving instructors should mention it on the first lesson.