The latest changes to the Independent Driving section of the test took effect from Monday 4th December 2017


Independent Driving' is now an integral part of the driving test 

Candidates are asked to drive without step-by-step instruction from their examiner for about 20 minutes, showing they can make decisions by themselves in unfamiliar contexts.

  • In practice this means either:
  • Following traffic signs - 1 out of 5 candidates
  • Following directions from a Sat Nav that the examiner will bring into the car and position on the dashboard or windscreen of the car - 4 out of 5 candidates. You will practice in lessons using the same model Satnav that the examiners use.


Why was the change introduced?

The DSA wanted to make the practical driving test more reflective of 'real driving' and a better assessment of whether candidates are ready to drive unsupervised after their driving test and that they have the skills they need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

Did anything else change?

As a result of the introduction of Independent Driving (in 2012), candidates are now only asked to complete one of the set reversing manoeuvres on their test.

What happens if the candidate takes a wrong turning or goes completely off route during the independent driving section? Would this be a driving fault or would the test be terminated?

Independent driving is not a test of the candidate's orientation or navigational skills so if they take a wrong turning, the examiner will do their best to get them back on track as soon as possible by guiding them with normal directions (if following signs) or allowing the Sat Nav to reroute. Taking a wrong turning itself is not a driving fault but if the candidate commits a driving fault when taking a wrong turning, this will be assessed as it is now.

What if there are no road signs at a particular junction?
In situations of missing or obscured road signs the examiner would help by saying for example: 'There are no signs here, just continue to follow the road ahead please,' and then after the junction: 'Now carry on following the signs to...'


Please contact me on 07931 537124 or 01270 659112 if you would like to find out more about the Independent Driving element of the practical driving test.

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