New Driving Test Changes 2017 – What to Expect

From 4th December 2017, learner drivers will see some major changes to the driving test as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) bring it in line with modern driving practices. 

The test is designed to keep up-to-date with new vehicle technology, assessing a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently on Britain’s roads. 

Some aspects of the new-style test are familiar but others are completely new. Here’s what to expect if you’re taking the driving test now.

How long is the test?

The driving test will last around 40 minutes (but if you’ve been banned from driving and you’re taking an extended driving test, it will take around 70 minutes).

5 parts of the driving test

  1. Eyesight check
  2. “Show me, tell me” vehicle safety questions
  3. General driving skills
  4. Reversing
  5. Independent driving

What does the eyesight test involve?

The examiner will check your eyesight at the start of the test. If you fail, you won’t be able to continue with the driving test. 

  • You’ll need to read a new-style number plate (2 letters followed by 2 numbers, e.g. AB12 DEF) from a distance of 20 metres.
  • You should be able to read an old-style number plate (e.g. A123 BCD) from a distance of 20.5 metres.

“Show me, tell me” safety questions

You’ll be asked one “tell me” question at the start of your driving test (before you begin driving) and one “show me” question while you’re driving. Examples:

  • tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey
  • tell me where you’d find the information for recommended tyre pressures and how tyre pressure should be checked
  • show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen
  • show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights

You can find out more “show me, tell me” safety questions here.

Testing general driving ability

Under direction from the examiner you’ll be asked to drive in various road and traffic conditions to test your general driving skills. This can include both rural and suburban roads and dual carriageways, but not motorways. 

You may also have to carry out an emergency stop.

During your test, the examiner will ask you to pull over to the side of the road and demonstrate that you can pull away safely:

  • from a normal stop
  • from behind a parked vehicle
  • from a hill start

Testing reversing manoeuvres

One of several exercises may crop up during your test. The examiner will give you instructions to complete one of the following:


  1. parallel park at the side of the road
  2. park correctly in a parking bay (either driving in and reversing out or reversing in and driving out
  3. pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for approximately two car lengths and then safely re-join the traffic

What is the independent driving part of the test?

This part of the test takes around 20 minutes. The examiner will ask you to follow either:

  • sat nav directions (which they will set up for you) or 
  • traffic signs

Accidentally taking the wrong turn won’t earn you a fault. The examiner will help you to get back on route if this happens, but otherwise they won’t give you any personal direction. 

How many faults are you permitted on a UK driving test?

This hasn’t changed. You’re allowed 15 minor driving faults during your test. If you make a mistake, carry on unless the examiner asks you to stop; several non-serious faults might not affect your test result.

If you make a serious mistake, or the examiner thinks your driving is a danger to other road users, they can ask you to stop driving immediately; the test will be at an end. 

Defining test faults

There are three types of fault you can make during your driving test:

  1. driving faults – not potentially serious in themselves, but could be considered a serious fault if you keep making the same fault. You can get up to 15 faults and still pass your test
  2. serious faults – a potentially dangerous mistake
  3. dangerous faults – mistake that involve actual danger to you, the examiner or other road users or property

Get a quote for learner driver insurance

When you’ve passed your driving test, don’t forget to ask us about a quote for New Driver insurance. We offer a choice of telematics (Black Box) and non-telematics (Non Black Box) policies to help make your car insurance more affordable.

Released On 12th Dec 2017

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