Details on how Independent Driving will affect your test (article featured on local website


Independence Day for Learner Drivers Monday 4th October saw major changes to the way the Driving Test would be conducted after the Driving Standards Agency (DSA - The Government department that oversees the Driving Test) brought in the Independent Driving section to nearly all test categories.

Candidates wishing to take any of the following tests: Car, Motorcycle module two, Large Goods Vehicle, Passenger Carrying Vehicle, Taxi or Approved Driving Instructor driving ability tests will have a 10 minute Independent Drive included in their route.

During the test, the candidate will have to drive independently by either following: a series of directions, traffic signs or a combination of both. To help the candidate understand where they are going, the examiner may show them a simple diagram.

Another change to the Driving Test is that candidates will only be asked to carry out one manoeuvre, which has been reduced from two. Candidates will still be asked to carry out the emergency stop procedure on a ratio of 1 in 3 tests.

Some National Media have incorrectly reported the facts behind the new driving test and with rumours and hear say making people panic, Rochdale Online caught up with local instructor Martin Culshaw from Dale AFC School of Motoring to ask how the first week has gone-

"the new test seems to have gone well in the opening week. We were all a little sceptical as to how it would work but there doesn't seem to have been too many problems. Speaking to other instructors & examiners from the Rochdale area, the Independent Driving section seems to have been a success, with the people I have spoken to stating none of their candidates having failed due to the new section. It's a learning curve for all involved, and that includes ADI's and examiners as well as the pupils. My pupils that have taken the test or that have been practising during the course of their lessons don't think it's as difficult as what was first feared. In fact many are enjoying the fact that they will only have to carry out one manoeuvre"

The reasons for the changes are to make test candidates more aware of their surroundings. By driving independently during the driving test, it is making the candidate make their own decisions. Many potential drivers are worried about the new section but Mr Culshaw told us some key facts to remember:

  1. Don't worry if you forget the directions, you may ask the examiner for a reminder.
  2. You will not fail your driving test if you go the wrong way providing you haven't made any serious driving errors in the process.
  3. If the signs you have been asked to follow are poor or obscured in any way, the examiner will give directions until the next sign is visible.
  4. The DSA has procedures in place to identify candidates with special needs and disabilities when tests are booked. The examiner will then be able to make reasonable adjustments for that candidate.

Pupils of Dale AFC School of Motoring get access to the 'Pupils Page' of this website. Inside the Pupils Page, we have made up a 'Parents guide to Independent Driving' so that
accompanying drivers can take pupils out for private practice.