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Independent driving in the Driving Test

What's all this about changes to the driving test?

The CAR driving test in England, Scotland and Wales changed since Monday 4 December 2017.

Find out more about changes to the practical driving test Which includes more independent driving and using a Sat Nav

Which tests include independent driving or riding?

The independent driving or riding section is included in the following practical driving tests:

How will I be tested on 'independent driving'?

The candidate will be asked to pull over and the examiner will ask them to drive independently by one, or possibly a combination, of the following methods. The candidate won't be able to influence which method is chosen – that's up to the examiner.

1. Via road signs and markings – for example, the examiner will ask, 'For the next ten minutes please follow the road signs to the town centre.'

2. Via a series of three, or very occasionally four verbal directions given by the examiner (similar to how you might get directions from a passer-by) – for example, 'drive along then take the first left, straight ahead at the roundabout then second right'.

When using verbal directions, the examiner will also show them a diagram before setting off.

3. Via a Sat-Nav, Oddly, One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.
The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You have to use the one supplied by the examiner so you can't use your own. You won’t need to set the route - the examiner will do this for you.

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.

If you forget the directions you are allowed to ask the examiner to confirm them as they drive along.

If road signs are obscured, say by an overhanging tree or a parked vehicle, the examiner will intervene and say, 'the sign's obscured here but you're meant to take the next left'.

The independent driving section isn't meant to test candidates navigating skills – if they take a wrong turn or get lost it won't count against them. It's more to do with letting them show their ability to drive safely without constant direction from their instructor or examiner.
Though of course if they get flustered and make a driving fault during this section, such as excessive hesitation at a junction then this will be marked as a fault.

The video below is an example showing the independent driving section of the UK driving test

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