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Adam Jolley

Drivers call for further changes to new test

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New research reveals what motorists really think of impending changes to the UK driving test – including a new parallel park labelled ‘dangerous’ by some instructors.

Girl ripping up L-plates

A number of changes to the UK practical driving test are set to be introduced on 4 December 2017.

One of the most significant alterations is the removal of the three-point turn, a manoeuvre many drivers will probably remember from their learner days. Reversing around a corner is also to be dropped.

Meanwhile, new additions include following directions from a sat nav and reversing out of a parking bay.

The test will also see the introduction of a controversial new manoeuvre that’ll require drivers to pull over into oncoming traffic and reverse two car lengths.

Three-point turn an unpopular omission

The changes, which are aimed at improving driving standards and road safety, have received a mixed reaction from motorists.

Almost half welcome the introduction of the sat nav test, according to new research by Confused.com.

Two in five are glad to see independent driving – where candidates are required to follow traffic signs and/or a series of directions – doubled to 20 minutes.

However, less than one in six agree with the removal of the three-point turn. And nearly half question the safety of the new parallel park manoeuvre.

Drivers want motorway driving tested

One in three drivers – equivalent to 15 million people – believe the new driving test doesn’t go far enough in tackling a perceived lack of other crucial skills and behaviours. 

For example, almost three-quarters believe motorway driving should be tested. 

And two-thirds of motorists believe driving in darker conditions should form part of the changes. 

Eight in 10 motorists think driving etiquette should also be part of the test, which would include the likes of tailgating and middle-lane hogging. 

Instructors call parallel park ‘dangerous’

Some driving instructors fundamentally disagree with the changes to the test. 

Hundreds of people have signed a driving instructor-led petition which calls for the DVSA to abolish the new parallel park manoeuvre, calling it a “dangerous exercise”. 

Despite the concerns raised, the DVSA has concluded that almost all representative organisations are in favour of the proposals as they felt they represented real-life scenarios. 

To review the controversial updates, Confused.com sent motoring editor Amanda Stretton to put the changes to the test in a film.

‘Changes still not going far enough’

Amanda says: “We hope that the new test will help new drivers to adapt to the modern conditions of our roads, especially through the independent driving task and using a sat nav. 

But it’s worrying that one in three drivers believe these new changes are still not going far enough.

To make the roads safer, drivers believe more practical changes should’ve been included in the new updates set to be implemented in December. 

To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there’s a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers. This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage, and the risk of accidents.”

The cost of motoring

Stretton adds: “It’s also unsurprising to see that one in five drivers think it’d be beneficial to learn about the cost of motoring, considering this is continuously rising. 

By educating them on car insurance, petrol prices, maintenance and other costs that come with owning a car, drivers will know how and where to keep costs down and make driving more affordable.”

Driving test pass rates have risen slightly over the last decade, going from 43% in 2007 to 47% in 2016.

It’s unclear how these figures will be impacted when the changes come into effect.

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