The three-point turn could be dropped from driving tests after the government signalled the biggest shakeup in 20 years.
Learners may be asked to use a satellite navigation system as part of a revised practical exam and the three-point-turn – more recently known as the “turn in the road” – could be scrapped altogether.
About 1,000 learner drivers across the UK will be invited to a trial of new practical exam measures designed to “better reflect real-life driving”.
The test has existed in its current form for about two decades, although “independent driving” – where motorists are asked to find their way to a destination – has formed part of the practical exam in recent years.
A Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) spokesman said: “We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving. Any future changes to the test would be subject to full public consultation.”
The trial will consider extending the independent driving section from 10 to 20 minutes of the total 40-minute length, and asking candidates to follow directions on a satnav, as an alternative to using road signs.
It will also consider replacing the “reverse around a corner” and “turn in the road” manoeuvres with more realistic everyday moves, such as reversing out of a parking bay, or pulling up on the left or right before rejoining the flow of traffic, the DVSA said.
Learners may also be asked one of the two safety questions while on the move rather than at the start of the test. This could involve operating the rear windscreen heater while driving.
The Driving Instructors Association (DIA), the largest industry body for driver and rider trainers, has welcomed plans to review the driving test.
Carly Brookfield, DIA chief executive, said: “DIA has been heavily involved in the scoping of this project and is enthusiastic about the opportunity it presents to evolve the L-test to a level where it more realistically assesses a candidate’s ability to competently and safely manage road based risk and driving in real life, on real roads.
“The DIA and its members will play a key role in the project as it is critical customers of the test, such as driving instructors and candidates, have their input in making the test more fit for purpose and more reflective of modern driving.”