/ Motoring

The driving test should be even tougher

L-plate on blue car

The driving test is now much harder with the recent addition of an ‘independent driving’ section. But has this taken things far enough? Shouldn’t learners be required to practice on motorways and at night?

Anyone taking their driving test will now be required to successfully complete a 10-minute section of ‘independent driving’.

The examiner will ask candidates to navigate their way to a particular destination using road signs, without step-by-step help.

Although completing this task is not required to pass the test, it may prompt candidates to rack up the 16 standard driving faults that’ll result in a fail.

Independent driving essential for new drivers

While some learners may feel apprehensive about these changes to the L-test, I think the addition of independent driving is a good thing. After all, surely it’s precisely what all new drivers will be doing the moment they throw their L-plates away?

In fact, up to one in five new drivers have an accident in the first six months behind the wheel. And seven in ten report near misses. So this toughening of the L-test should be the beginning of some other much-needed changes.

Perhaps the whole test should be conducted as independent driving? And why not make it compulsory for learners to practise motorway, dual carriageway and night time driving, rather than leaving all of this to the voluntary Pass Plus scheme?

Drivers also need ‘refresher’ courses

And I don’t think the Driving Standards Agency should stop there. Having retaken my L-test alongside four other people for a Which? Car feature last summer, I realised just how easy it is for a person’s driving to get out-of-date.

I first took my test 26 years ago, and have been lucky enough to take some advanced driver training courses since then. But not all drivers have that advantage and this showed in the capabilities of the candidates retaking their test alongside me.

For instance, some had points deducted for old-fashioned driving techniques, such as using every single gear when changing up and down through the gearbox. While this wasn’t the main reason three of the five candidates failed, it certainly didn’t help.

So, while I wouldn’t want to put people through the stress of retaking their test (I was surprised at how nervous I was retaking mine) I do think it should be mandatory for all drivers to go on a refresher course every 10 years.

Do you think the driving test is tough enough? What driving requirements would you add?

Comments
Member

Many driving instructors admit to teaching students to pass the test rather than to actually drive properly.
As a professional lorry driver with 30 years experience, I have seen the standard of driving in the UK deteriorate beyond recognition and in a variety of different ways and for different reasons and as with most government departments DVLA/DVSA look for a single solution to rectify the problem the proverbial one size fits all, which of course will never work. The first and most important thing that should be done is to have the complete highway code written into law as with other European country s so that there is no confusion about what you must do in a given situation, and what you must know to be in charge of a vehicle on a PUBLIC highway. The next issue that needs to be addressed is the Technology in the modern motor vehicle, much of which has been installed into vehicles to make them safer and easier to drive. and as such have allowed less skilled drivers to pass the test as it stands, and creating another genera of bad driving including a number of people completely unaware of the size and power of their vehicle and how it will behave in a given situation.

So the revamp of the driving test in the UK needs to be taken right back to the beginning and started afresh with the training given.
1. theory :- as we have a nation of people of all levels of educational abilities how can we to hand
them a book to read and expect them all to understand it as it is intended.
Solution Classroom based with a written exam!

2. Control :- Modern vehicles can accelerate 0-60 in seconds with very light steering and abs etc.
and as such one of the biggest problems is drivers disregarding the road regulations
because their vehicle can beat the oncoming vehicle, or indeed the reverse is also the case
the driver who hesitates as they’re not quite sure they can manage a manoeuvre
Solution Off road training in a verity of vehicles until fully conversant with the size and capability of
the vehicles and their limitations including on skid pad.

3. The Road:- As the road is a very dangerous place with other road users who may be a danger to us as
well as road users who are vulnerable to us we are now in a much better position to deal
with this while concentrating solely on learning to drive on the public highway , depending
upon the place you live you may not experience all types of road or obstacle and/or many
road signs my never be encountered.

solution Carry out road training along with simulator training this would allow for motorway driving
to be incorporated without endangering any other road users and could be tailored to suit
area and any other situations not encountered on local roads

4. Refresher:- A refresher of road theory should be undertaken every 5 years to keep knowledge up to
date accompanied by public service films produced by the DVSA of the most commonly
forgotten/flouted regulations and of course enforcement..