Independent Driving

Following directions from a Satnav or following road markings and signs.

Independent Driving

In October 2010, the DVSA introduced the independent driving part of the practical driving test. This part of the test lasted for around 10 minutes.

The independent part of the driving test was introduced so that driving examiners could assess the pupil’s ability to drive independently, using the road markings and the road signs, with very little input from the examiner.

On 4 December 2017 the DVSA made changes to the independent driving part of the test again and extended it to 20 minutes also introducing the following directions from a Sat Nav part of the test.

With the practical driving test now lasting for around 40 minutes 20 minutes of the test is allocated for the independent driving. The way it works is very simple sometime during the driving test, the examiner will ask you to pull up on the left when it’s safe to do so, and inform you that the independent driving part is about to start. Alternatively you may start the Independent driving straight away from the test centre.

You will need to follow directions from either a Sat nav or by following the road markings/ signs.

Sat Nav Driving

For every five driving tests that take place, four will include following directions from a sat nav. You won’t need to take your own sat nav as the examiner will bring his or her own, which is supplied by the DVSA. and you will not need to set the sat nav up yourself.

The sat nav the DVSA have chosen to use is a Tom-tom start 52. The examiner will place it on a non slip dash mat, normally on the dashboard of the vehicle. If there is no convenient place for the sat nav on the dashboard of the vehicle, the examiner will attach it to the windscreen of the vehicle.

The sat nav will use its in-built battery as a power source, so there will be no need for the examiner to plug anything into your vehicle. The examiner will setup the pre defined route on the sat nav for you, and you’ll just need to follow the given directions.

Following Road Signs

If you’re driving test does not include the use of a sat nav, you will be asked to follow road signs. If you are asked to follow road signs, the examiner will ask you to follow the road signs to a specific location, for example “Follow the road signs to Gillingham Please”.

The Independent driving routes that are used generally have road signs that are clearly visible for test candidates to see. However, if you cannot see a particular road sign (because it’s covered by trees for example), the driving examiner will give you directions until the next available sign is clearly visible to you.

If you are unsure of where you need be going do not be afraid to ask the examiner to repeat the instructions. Try your very best to stay on the given routes and given directions, but remember the whole point of the independent driving part of the test is to demonstrate how you can stay safe and calm whilst driving unaided.

Independent Driving Going Wrong

Whether you get following a sat nav or following road signs, don’t worry if you make any kind of mistake. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced driver, anyone can go wrong and make a wrong turn sometimes, especially under pressure. If this does happen during your test, try not to stress as the sat nav will recalculate the route for you and get you back on the right track.

If the independent part of the test involves following directions from road signs and you make a wrong turn, the examiner will help you and put you back on the correct route.

You will not normally fail the test for making a wrong turn as long as your safe, but you could fail if you get confused and stressed to the point that you lose control and become unsafe to other road users. If you do make any mistakes, stay calm, but if you do feel you’re getting stressed, tell the examiner and ask to pull over for a moment.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us and we will help with any questions you may have.

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