Changes to the driving test

Yep, apparently there are changes to the driving test in the UK coming into force today and examiners “are up in arms”.

I can see why.

First of all I agree with the ditching of “reversing round corners” because that always struck me as being  a ridiculous thing to do.   Why on earth are we reversing around a corner, ie off a main road onto a side road, in the first place?  It is ludicrous.    Ditto doing “a turn in the road”, known as a three point turn in my day.    Why does it have to be done in three?  When I had my PT Cruiser there was no way that was going to do it in three.  It had the turning circle of a tank and to this day when I do manage to do a maneuver in three moves there are chimes of “couldn’t do that in the PT” because I used to say it SO often when I ditched that car and got something else.

I am surprised a hill start is still in the test though, I never did one when I learned to drive as there were no hills in Peterborough and Stamford so we couldn’t be tested on it, and I can’t say my driving has really suffered as a result.  With park assist now being included as standard on many new cars do we really need to know how to do this?

What has really riled me this morning though is the suggestion and I quote:

Drivers being “trained” to use a Sat Nav.   Seriously?  Why on earth do we need to be taught how to use a Sat Nav?   I don’t need a driving instructor teach me patronisingly how to use a Sat Nav, that is what teenagers are for.   And a driver needs to know how to use a Sat Nav without getting distracted then I don’t think that driver should be passing their test and allowed out on the road at all.

Honestly, this is just ridiculous.

So many of use Sat Navs on our phone.  You plug it in and you listen to the instructions.  How many drivers really need to be reminded to keep an eye on the road?  It is condescending for the DVLA to think otherwise.

Teenagers learning to drive are part of a generation who have grown up with gaming.  When Call of Duty came out they were up all night playing it for 24 hours straight without stopping for food.  They know all about not being distracted.

If they really want to add new things to the driving test how about any of the following suggestions:

  1.   Breaking up a fight between two toddlers on the back seat whilst doing 50mph
  2.   Securing toddlers into car seats, against their will.  In the pouring rain.
  3.   How to get back into your car when parked and the person next to you has left you no room to get your door open
  4.   How to drive around a multi storey car park ramp without curbing your wheels
  5.   How not to have a full blown road rage attack when somebody insists on driving in the middle lane of a motorway.  For 15 miles
  6.   How to turn off your fog lamps so that you don’t leave them on, regardless of the weather, for eight years.
  7.   Insist that people know they have to wipe snow not just off all of the windows, but also the roof of the car.   It isn’t rocket science that    eventually that snow will warm up and slide.  Forwards.  Down your windscreen.   At 70mph
  8.   Indicators are not an option.

The best bits of advice I ever learned were taught to me by my mum, not my driving instructor and have stood me in good stead ever since.   Firstly, watch the person in the car in front but pay particular attention to the person in front of them.  If you anticipate what that person is going to do, by the time the person in front of you has anticipated and reacted, you are ahead of the game and have slowed down / backed off / changed lanes.

Secondly, don’t brake driving into a bend.    By the time you are on a bend you should be “accelerating out of it”.     You should have braked before you got to the bend, and not once you are driving on it.  If there is any black ice or standing water on that bend, with your tyres turned, and your foot on the brake you are going to aquaplane or skid.

Passing your test just allows you to drive on the road, you only learn to drive once you start.  And that shouldn’t include being told how to use a sodding sat nav.

Photo courtesy of shutterstock 

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  • My brother navigated for Timo Makinnen on several occasions.
    This amazing rally driver, approaching gravel road corners at ca 60 mph, changed UP – not down!
    His first experience of this left Don “witless”.
    I’m not surprised.

  • My Mum taught me two invaluable lessons that I’ll share with you.

    Never trust anyone driving with a hat on.

    Beware little old cars: they tend to have little old men driving them.

    Number 2 has become less relevant now (fewer little old cars) but number 1 is still responsible for two or three “avoided near-misses” a year.

    Don’t trust ‘em.

    Ps I’m with DVLA on sat nav. It’s too easy to trust the tech.