In October 2010, the practical British driving test will change, to incorporate 10 minutes of independent driving. This will test the ability of learner drivers to drive safely and effectively without turn-by-turn coaching or prompts from their driving examiner. What will this mean for learner drivers?
According to Directgov, the independent driving portion of the British driving test will involve following a series of directions, traffic signs or a combination of the two, for 10 minutes. Before the independent driving begins, the driving examiner will inform learner drivers of where they will be expected to go (i.e. follow the signs for Luton) or the driving examiner will produce a diagram, showing the learner driver the start and end locations.
Learner drivers will not be assessed according to whether or not they arrive at the precise location. Even if they go the wrong way, this will not affect the outcome of the independent driving portion of the test. Independent driving does not test the navigation or orientation skills of learner drivers. Rather, learner drivers will be assessed on their decision-making skills during the independent driving. For example, driving examiners will be looking to see whether learner drivers get into the correct lane ahead of time as they approach a roundabout.
Following the Independent Driving Route
Learner drivers should not be afraid to ask for a reminder of the directions along their independent driving route, as this will not affect the outcome of their driving test. However, if you commit a serious driving fault during your independent driving, you will fail.
Is Satellite Navigation Allowed?
Satellite navigation is not allowed during a practical British driving test, and will not be allowed during the independent driving portion of the exam. The reason for this is because satellite navigation gives drivers turn-by-turn prompts, which does not demonstrate a driver’s ability to safely and independently make their own decisions while they are driving. The whole purpose of independent driving is to prove to the driving examiner that you are a competent driver capable of making your own decisions on the road.
Independent driving is intended to demonstrate a learner driver’s ability to make their own decisions on the road, which will mimic real life driving experiences once they pass their test. Driving examiners hope that independent driving will make new drivers on the roads more safety-conscious, which in turn will help reduce road traffic accidents that occur on Britain’s roads each year.
Independent driving: change to practical driving test