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Independent driving: new element of driving test- feasibility and information

Independent driving element in driving test will come in effect from Oct 2010.

Independent driving is tasking the candidate to drive for approximately 10 mins either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.

Independent driving is when the learner get out on the road He/She will be driving alone and they need to know how to drive safely. Simultaneously it is very important for a learner to look at the signs at the time of driving because that's in normal life what the learners are going to do. It actually puts theory and practical together. It makes you think about the signs, makes you think independently and makes you feel much more confident.

  • Why independent driving will be introduced:

“The feasibility of introducing independent driving into the GB driving test” was studied and according to it, there are few situations which demand this element in driving test.

Statistics on the accident risk of new drivers shows that after passing their test they are at their peak in terms of their risk of having an accident. A number of reviews have concluded that traditional driver training does not seem to have any positive effect on road safety in terms of accident reductions.

One interpretation of these findings is that the experience gained by drivers after passing their test is completely unlike the experience they gain Pre-Test. Findings from qualitative research on the perceptions of new drivers seems to support this; in focus groups learner drivers expressed their belief that ‘real driving’ is fundamentally different from the training required to pass the driving test.

A number of authors have suggested however that driver training should not only focus on vehicle control skills but also on factors that have been shown to be related to accident reductions, according to the research evidence. This includes higher perceptual skills such as

  • Hazard perception
  • Safer attitudes towards risk
  • Better self-awareness of one’s driving ability.

Post-Test experience seems crucial for reducing accident liability, it is theoretically possible that if the relevant elements of post-test experience can be identified and trained pre-test then driver training may be better placed that it is currently to reduce post-test accident risk. An existing example of this approach in GB driver training is the introduction of a video-based measure of hazard perception skill in 2002 as part of the driving theory test.

Once learner passes the test, the thing they struggle to deal with is not having the person sitting next to them to guide them around when they need it. Sudden introduction of the extra elements of having to read traffic signs, road markings, or possibly having passengers or music in the car, made it more difficult for learner.

Possible solutions for safer new drivers may be a –

  • Tracker fitted to their vehicle to monitor speed
  • Vehicle handling
  • Maybe reducing insurance costs
  • Limit passengers
  • Plates compulsory
  • Limit engine size
  • 40 hours supervised driving
  • Compulsory pass plus or motorway driving.
All for the first 2 years they are insured, not from when the test is passed.

  • Independent driving test examination:

On the independent driving test you have to do two maneuvers. However, when the new test starts, you may only have to do ONE maneuver. The test duration may also be increased to allow extra time for Independent Driving, and this will result in an increase in the test fee. You will still need to practice all the maneuvers because the Examiner on the day will decide which one you should do.

The whole thrust of independent driving is to prepare yourself for the real world.


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.