Getting ready for the new driving test: an examiner’s view

Car pulled up on the right-hand side of a road

It's just under a month till the new driving test comes in on 4 December 2017. We've told you a lot about what you need to do to make sure you're ready for it, but how prepared are our driving examiners for it?

Two of our driving test examiners give their views on the training they've received.

Dave Wedgewood, Local Driving Test Manager

In August, I attended an LDTM training course in Avonmouth in preparation for the upcoming test changes.  Even though I'd been part of the original trial, the training was really helpful and informative.

I was able to pass on my training to examiners at my test centre soon after, as my test centre closed for a day while it was surrounded by the Tour of Britain cycle race!

Sat nav training

The first part of the training included showing the team how to set up the sat nav. We all had a go with the sat nav and everyone seemed impressed with how effective the dash mat is – it’s like magic!

We also went out in the car to look at the on-road elements of the new test. I did have some initial worries, as there have been some concerns about some elements of the test, such as timings and the new manoeuvres.

However, my concerns were misplaced. The examiners found the start of the test to be much quicker and smoother than the existing test. We then looked at operating the sat nav during the test practised assessing the two new manoeuvres.

Positive feedback from my team

The feedback from my team at the end of the day was very positive. They’re looking forward to learning the new routes and then starting to put the theory into practice on 4 December.

This positive feedback has given me more confidence going ahead. I'm looking forward to repeating the training with my other team at Chesterfield, and I’ve even volunteered to train another test centre in the manager’s absence.

Laura Unwin, Driving Examiner

As an examiner who has been with the agency for about a year, I was a little worried about how the changes to the test would work. But, after completing my training in September  I’m feeling much more optimistic about the changes.

Before the training, I was concerned about how the sat nav and different manoeuvres would work. However, I found the sat nav easy to fit and easy to use.

The new test felt much smoother and it's great that we can do manoeuvres and angled starts during the independent drive. This’ll save us a lot of time and stop us driving past opportunities to test them!

So, my team is feeling really positive about the changes and a lot more confident on conducting a new test on 4 December.

I’m looking forward to seeing the new test in action and I hope you are too!


  1. Comment by Peter Barton posted on

    Whilst this is all very positive for the driving examiner teams, as on reading the above, it sounds like they have had their concerns about the new test addressed.
    However, like many driving instructors, I have been teaching to the new test without any real understanding of HOW the test will be carried out and have had to tell the learners who will be taking the test in December that we won't really have any great idea until we start to get feedback from other instructors who have had learners take the test.
    This is an unsatisfactory position and the DVLA should have done more to prepare driving instructors. I would suggest that the DVLA have each of their test centres put on meetings with instructors to explain how they will be conducting the new test.

  2. Comment by Brian Campbell posted on

    Thanks for the latest news, it all sounds good and look forward to the new test starting, Can the dvsa let us instructors have the info on what sat Nav mat they are using and the name of their supplier, as i have tried two mats and are not happy with them.

    • Replies to Brian Campbell>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Brian,

      DVSA will be using a combination of a Tom Tom Start52 sat nav, mounted on a Genius flat dash-mat.


  3. Comment by SEAN MCKENNA posted on

    I think it is a great step forward utilising Satellite Navigation.

    It’s a great shame that vital manoeuvres such as turn in the road and left reverse around a corner are now omitted in the new test. In roads like cul de sac and no through roads, you cannot assimilate these manoeuvres and say it is like a forward bay park or reverse bay park to compare to these two vital escape manoeuvres. Turn in the road is so very practical.

    For a long no through road backing onto a main road I would not think having reversed two car lengths in a straight line is sufficient, whether done on the right or left side of the road.

    With the new manoeuvre what I taught my learner as he was so desperate to see it and execute the manoeuvre was a right sided parallel park. Just the same as the reverse parallel park just briefed and demonstrated on the right hand side of the road. If at your home address cars are parked on both sides of the road in the evening and there is a car parking space at least 2 car lengths to get in what a great manoevure. Maybe you can put that manoeuvre in the next new test with motorway driving as well with the examiner having all the relevant boxes on the DL25.

    I guess the next new innovation for DVSA will be the tablet or IPAD and Apple pen to replace the paper examiners board. So no more pen marking for the examiner just touch screen. Driving report can be emailed to the candidate. Candidate signs the screen of the iPad in test centre. Still issue a paper pass certificate for the pass until the new licence comes through.

  4. Comment by Michael Dickinson posted on

    Let’s see how positive pupils and instructors feel about it when it gets going as they have something to lose , unlike examiners.

  5. Comment by Tony Thompson posted on

    Bring it on!

    Looking forward to the off. My new pupils are right into it and see no real problems. Attended surgery at Musselburgh TC last week and all questions answered by TC manager, Warren.

  6. Comment by D clark posted on

    I think the new test is relevant to the way we drive however I also think that as an instructor we could of and should of had some in car training to let us see how the new test will work.

  7. Comment by David Davies posted on

    That didn't tell us much at all. I would like to know more about the new approach to bay parking. I've heard that reversing in and driving out will still only happen in test centre car parks, while in "other" car parks it will be driving in and reversing out. I would like to know why. And where test centres have a car park, will bay parking take place only there? In my area, the word from examiners is that there are no fixed arrangements with third parties to use their car parks, and they will 'busk it' and see whether the owners of the car parks object! That's not very satisfactory in helping us to prepare our pupils for bay parking on test.

    Far more information is required, please.

    • Replies to David Davies>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi David,

      The examiner will ask your pupil to park in a bay and reverse in and drive out (only in a driving test centre car park) or drive in and reverse out (in any car park - including a driving test centre car park).


  8. Comment by Stephen Bates posted on

    This is good news. As an instructor I thought that the Independent Drive would remain similar but you have now highlighted that manoeuvres can be performed during the ID. I presume that this may well include the show me question

  9. Comment by Ulfat Hussain posted on

    From this blog I have learned that sat nav is easy to fit and easy to use. Thanks for wasting my time

  10. Comment by Mark crook posted on

  11. Comment by Keith posted on

    No one is concerned about satnav. It it the parking on the right which raises the most controversy because the argument for doing it is paper thin.


  12. Comment by Steve Pearce posted on

    My concern is that the test will still not prevent deaths on faster roads. More needs to be done to prevent newly qualified young drivers having a car full, and in doing so are driving a vehicle that they have no experience in with a greater weight than usual. Time will tell no doubt.

  13. Comment by Victoria Mitchell posted on

    What does Laura mean by “ stop us driving past opportunities to test them” ? As an instructor I’m concerned by comments like that, as it sounds as if the examiner is going to purposely make things difficult! I wonder if Laura has any experience as an instructor?

    • Replies to Victoria Mitchell>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Victoria,

      In the current test, the examiner wouldn't ask the candidate to conduct a manoeuvre during the independent drive. The new test will allow examiners to conduct manoeuvres during the independent drive. So, if the examiner sees an opportunity to conduct a manoeuvre during the independent drive, they won't have to wait until the independent drive has finished.


  14. Comment by Mr Deonath Gosein posted on

    I have noticed that Driving Examiners are being trained for the new Test.I am a Driving Instructor -No training fron DVSA.I have seen the Videos and I am still confused as to how the Test will be conducted-As your Two Examiners.
    What do I do now. Take the public money for tuition -But do not tell them I am confused about the New Test.I await your reply.Thanks Nath.Have a Good Day.

  15. Comment by Christine Weatherill posted on

    I'm a bit concerned about the sat nav giving first directions 900feet from a busy 2/3 lane approach roundabout. I would have given the direction earlier when a lane change is required on a busy dual carriageway...

  16. Comment by Graham Carroll posted on

    If the new test is supposed to reflect real life driving, then can anyone tell me the last time they followed a sat-nav with no prior knowledge of where you are heading.

  17. Comment by Carl Cumberbatch posted on

    Dont let the instructor or person taking the test rely on sat navs for the speed limits as they often conflict each other
    i.e. sat nav stating road 40 but speed limit is actually 30.

  18. Comment by Michael Entwistle posted on

    I am a little unsure if the park on right side of road & reverse is deemed to be one of the manoeuvres, or just part of 'general driving'.
    Like others I feel it is a pity that the turn in the road has been taken out of the test, as it demonstrates clutch control and observations, and will be one of the most common manoeuvre any driver will do.
    Using sat nav is useful to demonstrate to pupils that technology does not replace the need for observations of roadsigns/markings, as sat navs are not infallible.
    The 'show me' questions are good as they are very relevent to general driving.
    It would be useful if us instructors were given training/guidance about the new test as well as examiners, as we do want tto prepare out pupils to the best of our abilities.

  19. Comment by Rod Came posted on

    With regard to the 'new' driving test or any other conducted by DVSA it is their choice about what they include in the test. Similarly it is up to each and every ADI to decide what they choose to teach their clients.

    An ADI can decide when their client is capable of completing a manoeuvre successfully, it is therefore not necessary for DVSA to check the ability of every candidate to carry out every possible manoeuvre. ADIs have 40 hours to teach, DVSA have less than one to test.

    ADIs should teach clients to drive a car on the road in many different situations, conditions and environments, if they do not they are failing with regard to their responsibility to the client. Teaching just to pass a driving test is simply not good enough.

    A new driver who finds that they are in a situation for which they are not prepared, even if it is only refuelling their own car, will probably consider that their instructor did not provide professional tuition, even if they did eventually pass their driving test.

    We should all endeavour to put thoroughly competent drivers on the road.

    • Replies to Rod Came>

      Comment by Ken Sweet posted on

      Well said Rod. It's a pity more ADI's don't have the same attitude. When a pupil of mine goes for test, as far as I'm concerned, they have to be a "driver" who is just going to prove their ability to their test examiner, not a "learner" hoping for the best !
      We must teach to drive and not simply to pass a test. The age old saying that is still bandied around today, that when you've passed your test, "you can now learn to drive" is totally redundant.
      The comment I like to hear from my pupils after their test is, "That was easier than a lesson with Ken."
      I have taught pulling up on the right behind stationary vehicles and pulling away again, reversing accordingly, and also how to facilitate a taxi turn safely, since becoming an ADI over 15 years ago. These weren't required for test but you know damned well that people will do it so they might as well be best equipped to do it !
      I am a former police class 1 driver and have seen so many incidents involving drivers of all ages and most of the incidents could have been prevented if those people had been given better training.
      I also understand what is legal and lawful as opposed to illegal.
      With many thing we can legally and lawfully do on the road, we are still bound by having a duty of care as to how we do it.
      A turn in the road is neither illegal nor unlawful. However, where and how we carry out that manoeuvre may well be !
      The examiners cannot deliberately go out of their way to make the test difficult. I can go out of my way make the lesson difficult and do so, when the pupil is proficient enough, in order that the pupil is as ready as possible to deal with what other road users and abusers can, and often do, throw at them. I sleep very well at night.
      Kind regards to all and do the best for road safety and you will do the best for all road users.

  20. Comment by John Laurens posted on

    In the Show Me questions which will be carried out while the candidate is driving, why was lowering and raising the sun visor not included? Many experienced drivers adjust their visor badly (eg edge pointing at forehead) and look at the visor while adjusting, causing distraction.

  21. Comment by Michael Dickinson posted on

    Really good point but as always we will learn at the expense of our pupils on test.

  22. Comment by ian fortune posted on

    i,m a hgv driver of 23 yrs and its a shame how we are taught how to get from A to B by a screen on our dash

  23. Comment by Diana posted on

    What a lovely picture of a clear empty road to pull over on the right..I could teach that all day long...Now imagine that road in East doesn't exist! There are very few parking places or places to pull over on right where no-one else is parking, there are no drives or double yellows to deal with...

  24. Comment by Naz khalid posted on

    As an ADI I'm still unsure about many aspects involving the new test due to lack of info.
    My pupils have many questions about the test but I can only reassure them and fill in any blanks to the best of my knowledge.
    ADI's will only have a clearer understanding once the first few tests take place. So yes unfortunately we will learn at our pupils expense.

  25. Comment by Bernice posted on

    As a driving & A.D.I we all know how to park on the left & reverse back 2 car lengths & use a sat nav & drive in to a bay. Sorry but I can't see why instructors are finding this difficult to understand.


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