Practical Driving Test to Introduce Sat Navs Practical Driving Test to Introduce Sat Navs
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Practical Driving Test to Introduce Sat Navs

It was inevitable, right? Finally it has happened; technology has caught up with the practical driving test. In the biggest shake-up to the UK driving exam in years, 20 test centres across the country will be trialling the new format. Book Theory Test Today looks at what’s changing.

Is it really a surprise that Sat Navs are being introduced to the UK practical driving test? The new look exam will be launched in April at 20 driving test centres, continuing until the end of the year.

Learner drivers will be required to follow directions using a Sat Nav device as part of the new practical driving test, which has been introduced to reflect ‘real world’ conditions.

Practical Driving Test – Big Shake-Up

It’s being dubbed the biggest shake-up to driver testing since the introduction of the theory test in 1996.

The addition of Sat Navs to the practical test coincides with plans to scrap three-point turns and the reverse around the corner. These will be replaced by more common, everyday manoeuvres including reversing out of a parking bay.


Up to 1,000 learner drivers are likely to be involved in trialling the new look practical driving test, which will require them to follow a pre-set Sat Nav guided route ‘as an alternative to road signs’.

Learner drivers will also be expected to answer safety questions while driving, replacing the standard practice of answering them at the beginning of the practical driving test. Plus, they will need to operate switches like screen heaters, according to the DVSA.


However, the trial test is optional and will only be booked by driving instructors if a learner driver wants to participate.

Driving instructors in Blackpool, which has been selected to trial the new look practical driving test, have welcomed the introduction of Sat Navs, saying ‘things need to change.’

John Guest, of the Blackpool and District Approved Driving Instructors Association, said: “The main point of the new features, using a Sat Nav and asking questions on the move, is to cause distractions which the pupil will come across when driving alone.”

Brian Marshall, a driving instructor in Flyde, Lancashire, said: “I have just 40 minutes to assess how good a learner driver is. The theory test was altered a few years ago to reflect modern motoring and changes to the practical driving test will make it more and more like real life driving.”

However, Stephen Glaister of the RAC foundation warned of the complacency Sat Navs can cause, saying: “When Sat Navs lead us down a dead end we need to know how to perform a three-point turn.”

In 2014, over 50 percent of the 1.5 million practical driving tests taken were failed.

Book Theory Test Today offers an intermediary service assisting clients with booking a UK theory test, or practical test, at test centres across the nation. The service also supplies resources to help you prepare for your theory test – Ready to take your theory test? Book your theory test online today…

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