LEARNER drivers can expect four new changes to their driving test at the end of this year. 

From December 4, 2017 new drivers will have to follow directions on a sat nav and reverse out of parking bays rather than around corners. 

The new 'modern' test will help save lives and improve road safety, according to Transport Minister Andrew Jones.

He added: “We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to make them safer.

“These changes announced today will help reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skills they need to use our roads safely.

“Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century – for example, the introduction of sat navs, will go a long way towards doing this.”

The four changes in full are:

  • an increase of the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
  • asking candidates to follow directions on a sat nav as an alternative to following road signs
  • replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reverse around a corner’ with more real life scenarios, such as  driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
  • asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while the candidate is driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear heated screen

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) say around half of all car drivers now have a sat nav and want new drivers to be trained on how to use them safely. 

A spokesman added: "Using sat navs will encourage more practice of independent driving and teach new drivers the skills they need to manage distractions.

"Currently candidates spend a large amount of their test on low risk roads, such as housing estates so they can carry out the current manoeuvres.

"The new-style manoeuvres will allow DVSA to assess the same skill set as the changes are more representative of what a new driver will experience in their everyday driving."

Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation Director, said a lot has changed since the first driving test in 1935.

He added: "It must be right that the test evolves, just as the cars we drive are themselves changing to incorporate ever more driver assist technology such as inbuilt sat nav systems.

"Novice drivers need to demonstrate the right skills and driving style to cope with the new environment.

“Clearly driving examiners and instructors both need time to adjust to the new test, in particular to ensure that candidates are well-prepared, nevertheless it is good to know that the new test will be running by the end of this calendar year.”

Watch the DVSA's official guide to the changes by clicking play below