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Independent driving explained

Independent driving is a newly introduced pattern On Oct 2010 to learner drivers as a part of the practical driving test in which examine will have to drive for about 10 minutes, either following traffic signs, following a series of directions, or a combination of both during their respective practical driving test.

Independent driving is considered to test the candidateís aptitude to drive without any supervision and make decisions without guidance and in different contexts.

Independent driving is not a test of orientation and navigation skills. To help you understand where youíre going, the examiner may show you a diagram. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers.

Driving independently means making your own decisions - this includes deciding when itís safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where youíre going.
On the Independent driving test you have two maneuvers. But you have to complete only one maneuvers. You will still need to practice all the maneuvers because the examiner on the day will decide which one you should do. The test duration and cost may also be increased to allow additional time for independent driving.
Based on earlier research where circumstances did not reproduce the ultimate aim of the new element of the test it has been claimed by some newspaper that independent driving would lead to a fall in the driving test pass rate. Subsequent trials with a larger number of participants and more closely reflecting the conditions in the planned new test showed no significant fall in the pass rate.
Driving Standard Agency has events to identify special needs and disabilities when tests are booked online or over the phone. The examiner then knows which type of special needs the candidate has so reasonable adjustment can be made.

For independent driving this could be asking the candidate which method they prefer for the section - in other words, following signs, or a series of directions (a maximum of three) which are supported by a diagram approved by the British Dyslexia Association. In some cases this will be shortened to just two directions.

DSA recognize there are many ways of developing perfectly road-safe coping strategies in order to navigate from A to B and is satisfied that examiners will manage the situation accordingly. Independent driving is a significant road safety addition to the practical driving test but will not prevent candidates from holding a license.
Crown copyright material has been reproduced by permission of the Driving Standards Agency which does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the reproduction.
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