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The driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017 to include following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.

The 4 driving test changes

1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

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

4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

Tell me question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving

Show m’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.

The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes. The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Grant Ferguson has become one of the first people to pass a new-style UK driving test, that includes following directions on a sat-nav.

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The revised test has been on trial in 20 locations across the UK since April.

Mr Ferguson, who’s 17, took his test at the Bishopbriggs driving centre in East Dunbartonshire, Scotland.

Among other more standard manoeuvres, he had to follow a route on a sat-nav for 20 minutes.

The changes are designed to “better reflect real driving”, explained a spokesman for the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency).

“Any future changes to the test would be subject to full public consultation,” he added.

Other changes being tested include:

  • replacing reversing round a corner with reversing out of a parking space
  • pulling up on the right before rejoining the flow of traffic
  • requiring candidates to show how they would operate the rear-heated screen or other vehicle safety features while driving

The DVSA hopes to complete 1,000 of the new tests, which will continue until early 2016.

So far, around 20 people have taken the new test.

Driving instructor Drew Nicol, who taught Mr Ferguson, thinks the update is a good idea.

“Lots of people have criticised the idea of using sat-navs but people are going to use them when they drive so it makes sense that we teach them to use them properly,” he told the BBC.

“I teach learners to listen to it rather than look at it or glance at it only when it is safe to do so.”

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Apple has patented a system that would lock drivers out of their smartphones while on the move, in a bid to cut down on accidents caused by texting and other distracting features

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Apple has patented a system that would provide a “lock-out mechanism” to stop drivers texting or using other distracting functions of their smartphones while on the move.

The patent describes how a device could determine if it was moving by looking at data from GPS, phone towers or even images from the camera. Visual clues would enable the device to calculate if its owner was driving the car or merely a passenger, imposing limits in the former case but not the latter.

Algorithms would look for a steering wheel in close proximity to the camera, or search for the number of faces – only one visible person would indicate that the user must be the one driving. It could also differentiate between the interior of a car and a train carriage or seat on a bus, where safety features would be unnecessary.

The application even suggests that the accelorometer could be used to detect when an unscrupulous driver was tilting the phone so as to not reveal the steering wheel and evade the safety feature. Sensing the speed of travel would also prevent the limits from kicking-in if the user was just walking.

Apple says in the patent application, filed in 2008 but only published and granted this week, that texting while driving has become a “major concern” of the police, and cites a 2006 study which found that 80pc of crashes were caused by distractions such as applying makeup, eating and text messaging.

The patent also claims that it is “doubtful” that police can stop people texting while driving because it can be done on the lap and is harder to spot.

Other studies have shown that sending text messages while driving was as dangerous as being a quarter over the legal drink-drive limit. The road safety charity Brake says that texting increases the chance of a commercial driver crashing by 23 times, and slows reaction times by 35 per cent.

The first part of Apple’s suggestion would use the phone’s own hardware to determine if it was travelling above a certain speed, and then lock the owner out of certain functions such as text messaging. It further develops the idea by suggesting that the car itself, or perhaps just the key, could be modified to send a signal to the phone to shut down certain features.

The application says that such a feature could be “a significant selling point in the eyes of concerned parents, and it could lead to legislation that would require all handheld computing devices to disable texting while driving.”

There are several Android apps which aim to perform a similar function, but Apple’s tight controls on what apps can and cannot access on the iPhone’s hardware have largely prevented similar software from launching on the iOS platform.

This is the top 10 easiest mistakes to make in your test and how to avoid them.

Make sure you give yourself the best chance of passing your test, read this list and then learn from other peoples mistakes. When your instructor and you agree you are ready to sit the test, don’t let nerves get the better of you and remember not to make any of these mistakes

1.Observation at junctions – not remembering all your mirror checks and blind spots, or making the wrong decision based on what you see. Plan ahead, as you approach the end of the road check if it is an open or closed junction (look for walls, fences and hedges). Check right, check left then check right again making sure you look out for any hazards

2. Reverse Parking – ineffective observation or a lack of accuracy. Always check your blind spots looking out for approaching traffic. While reverse parking ask yourself, “Am I fully aware of everything that is going on around me?” At each stage of the manoeuvre ask yourself this again and check your mirrors/blind spots. Cyclists and pedestrians can’t be expected to hear or see you while you park.

3. Use of mirrors – not checking or not acting on the information. Have you checked your mirrors in the last 7 seconds? What did you see? Plan ahead but always remember to check your mirrors even if you think you know there is nothing there. If as a result of your driving you cause others to swerve, slow or stop its a serious fault.

4 Reversing Round a Corner – candidates often swing the vehicle out at the front, fail to spot approaching traffic in the road they are reversing into or hit the kerb. Do this manoeuvre slowly.

5. Incorrect use of Signals – giving the wrong signal or forgetting to cancel a signal. Remember to stop signalling once you have pulled over!

6. Driving away Safely – inadequate observation. ALWAYS check your road side blind spot when you drive away safely.

7. Incorrect Positioning on the Road – lane positioning at roundabouts, switching through lanes on the roundabout – steer the car with the curve, stay within the white lines.

8. Lack of Steering Control – Always maintain control of the speed and steering and never underestimate the sharpness of a corner. Follow best practice with hand position to reduce the chance of this fault.

9. Incorrect Position for turning right – at junctions or one-way streets. One one way streets ask yourself ‘which lane do I want to be in?’

10. Inappropriate Speed – NEVER break the speed limit. Don’t hesitate. Try to maintain speed with the traffic on the road at all times. Don’t think if you drive slowly you will pass. Its dangerous and you will fail.

These tips will help you avoid the common mistakes most people make when they fail. Make sure you maintain concentration at all times and remember to stay calm.

Ellyse

Pass with the driving skool.com

1: Take your time
So you’ve received your provisional licence and you’re eager to get started ASAP. Be prepared to take your time and try not to put too much pressure on yourself, there is a lot to learn. It’s quite common for people to tell you how few lessons they took, what they don’t tell you is that they had lots of private practice as well. Also remember that the driving test has got progressively harder over the years, lots of experienced drivers would most likely fail a driving test today. Remember what works for one person may not work for another. Take your time and become a good safe driver, taking your test then will just be a formality and you should pass first time very easily.

2: Learn the controls properly
Make sure you understand the basic controls and how to control the car properly. If you can’t control the car in all situations it will make you feel nervous and affect how you do on your lessons. If you intend to get some private practice with friends or relatives then tell them what you find difficult. You might just be far better going onto a car park to practice things that you need, such as, clutch control, steering between obstacles, braking evenly to a controlled stop or at a given mark, also reversing around corners and into parking bays. Remember that driving very slowly and accurately around tight areas requires much more skill than just driving along a road in a straight line. Constructive practice will benefit you greatly and you won’t be wasting valuable lessons learning the basics.

3: Buy some books
You will need to learn the Highway Code, not just because you have to pass a theory test, but because you need to know all the rules of the road. Driving can be very dangerous when you don’t know what to do because you haven’t read or understood the rules. Don’t just learn the theory questions off by heart, there are hundreds of things that aren’t covered in the theory test. Another good book worth reading is ‘Driving The Essential Skills’ this is a DSA publication. You might also call it the examiners bible. And remember it won’t cost you anything on loan from a library.

4: Ask you instructor
Don’t keep things to yourself, all of our instructors are friendly easy going people who are there to help you and teach you to drive safely, but they are not mind readers. If you don’t know a particular routine or manoeuvre please ask them again, they wont mind going over things as many times as necessary. Most instructors will have a few different techniques for teaching a certain skill and if one way is not working for you then they will have another method that might work for you better.

5: Practice on all types of roads
When learning to drive you should practice on every type of road (apart from motorways) You should not just drive around test routes, and then think you can drive. A good driving instructor will take you to areas that are unfamiliar to you with lots of variety of road and traffic conditions. This will definitely make you into a much better all round driver and when you do pass your driving test and buy a car you will feel a lot more confident about going anywhere in it.

6: Driving test myths
Some people who fail a driving test will often blame anybody and everybody before themselves. When you first meet an examiner they will have your marking sheet without any faults on it, your responsibility is to keep it that way. Driving examiners are very fair people who I’m sure would much rather pass you than fail you. All the stories about people failing because the examiner didn’t like them or they had to fail so many that week are total rubbish. Don’t listen to people who say these things, they are just making excuses about why they failed.

7: Take a mock driving test
At an appropriate time in your training your instructor should carry out a mock driving test. This mock driving test should be very realistic and include all things associated with an actual driving test. It is designed to see how you perform under test conditions including, how you drive independently on your own without any help from your instructor. Your instructor will only give you route directions and instructions.

8: Don’t tell too many people
When learning to drive you will often find that people are always asking you, when are you going in for your test. Our advice is to keep it to yourself because telling people creates pressure and pressure can make you worry, worrying too much about what you’re going to tell them can make you take your mind off your driving, which could then lead to a fail. Sometimes in life its far better to keep quiet and this is one of those times.

9. Keep your driving licence safe
When you go for both your theory test and driving test you will need to take both parts of your driving licence. Most instructors will tell you how they have had pupils who cant find their paper part of the licence, often leading to a frantic search of the whole house, followed by a mad dash to the test centre. Not a good way to start a test.

10. Get plenty of practice
If you were to ask most driving examiners why people fail their driving tests they would probably say that the person needed a lot more practice before coming for a test. Work it out financially, a person going in for a test too soon will most likely fail, they then have to have more lessons and pay another test fee, this can add up to a lot of money. It is far better and more economical to use this money and have more practice before your first test rather than fail and have to do it all again.

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