Driving test to be shaken up: Sign knowledge will be replaced by satnavs and you'll need to know about your car heating

Oliver Gill
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Reversing round the corner is not a 21st century manoeuvre, driving agencies have concluded (Source: Getty)

The UK driving test is set to be shaken up with the introduction of a number of changes to bring it into... er... the 21st century.

A new driving test will come into force from 4 December with changes including the need for candidates to know how to work a satnav; while dispensing with the requirement to understand what some road signs mean.

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“We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to make them safer," said transport minister Andrew Jones.

“These changes announced today will help reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skills they need to use our roads safely.

Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century – for example, the introduction of satnavs, will go a long way towards doing this.

The government said there will be four key changes:

  1. An increase of the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
  2. Asking candidates to follow directions on a sat nav as an alternative to following road signs
  3. Replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reverse around a corner’ with more real life scenarios, such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
  4. Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while the candidate is driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear heated screen

The chief exec of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Gareth Llewellyn said the amendments were part of a strategy to help safety the country's roads.

He added: “It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.”

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The changes follow a government consultation on Britain's driving test. The DVSA said following more than 3,900 responses it found nearly 80 per cent of respondents wanted to ditch reversing manoeuvres and 71 per cent felt candidates needed to understand how to drive using a satnav.

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