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Driving tests then and now: What’s changed?

Driving tests have changed drastically over the years, with small differences ranging from new manoeuvres to following a satnav. It’s been helpful for newer drivers, but many people have gone years learning one way, only to find that things have now changed. Some difficult manoeuvers no longer exist, while some extras have been added in.

Car insurance has also changed over the years and continues to vary in price, but with the birth of the black box, many companies are helping new drivers save money instead of charging a high premium. While some of the factors of the driving test have changed, the important things are still vital – like sticking to the speed limit. With the help of a black box, insurance companies, such as WiseDriving for example, encourage their customers to stick to the limit long after they’ve passed their driving test by giving them a lower price for good driving behaviour.

As well as the new of navigating the world of car insurance, the actual driving test has changed drastically.

According to the GOV.UK website, instead of the usual 10 minutes for independent driving, this has now gone up to around 20 minutes, which equates to around half of the test. However, one of the biggest changes is that you’ll be asked to follow directions from a satnav instead of using street signs. However, they’re not cutting it out completely, and one in five tests will still use signs instead of a satnav.

The manoeuvres you’re asked to carry out have also changed quite drastically. While parallel parking still features in the average driving test, the reverse around the corner and turn in the road have been cut out. Although both remain essential things to know, you won’t be tested on them, but should still be taught these manoeuvres in your lessons.

There’s been countless changes in how driving tests are conducted, and it’s likely to keep progressing. They’ve come a long way since needing to do hand signals in the early 70s. Most of the changes to the driving test has been made over the past two decades, with the hazard perception test only getting introduced in 2002 – despite now being an important aspect which you have to pass before taking on the practical.

As the physical driving test changes and adapts over the years, RAC put together a number of tips to help you pass the first time, and although the pass rate currently stands at less than 50%, it’s easy for things to change.

Most driving instructors encourage you to have a lesson before you take your test, and the RAC recommend it too. It’s your final attempt to get any manoeuvres in that you’re unsure about or ask any last-minute questions. Not only will it help calm your nerves, but it will also put you in the right frame of mind.

It’s also recommended that you use your instructor’s car because it’s what you’re used to driving and it’s what you feel comfortable in. You also get the option whether you’d like your instructor to join you on the test, and a lot of the time having them in the back seat would make you feel more reassured.

If you’re learning how to drive, consider how the driving test has changed over the years. As our technology and way of life adapts, the driving test has had to adapt to. It’s best to be ahead of the curve and know what’s coming next and what has been taken out to ensure you’re as prepared as possible.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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