Teach people to stop tail-gaiting and remove the new ‘dangerous’ reversing move.Mon, 03/07/2017
It’s important to update both the theoretical and practical driving tests so they remain relevant to our changing roads. However, changes due to take place in December to the practical driving test have received mixed responses.
Rob Hull, The Mail Online, report:
One in three motorists believe changes to the practical driving test, set to be introduced on December 4, will not improve safety on the nation's roads.
According to a poll of 2,000 UK licence holders, almost half are unhappy about the addition of a new pulling up on the opposite side of the road parking manoeuvre that replaces the 'reverse around a corner' and 'three-point turn'.
This is a task some instructors have deemed 'dangerous' and called to be omitted.
Others are also unhappy that there's no inclusion of teaching better road etiquette - such as not tailgating or middle-lane hogging.
Another request was for tests on driving on motorways and at night - although one new element following a sat nav was welcomed.
The survey, conducted by Confused.com, found that 33 per cent of respondents - the equivalent of 15 million licence holders - didn't think the revamped test would reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on UK roads.
In fact, 43 per cent questioned the safety of an addition that will see drivers having to pull over into oncoming traffic and reverse two car lengths. This is designed to simulate pulling over on the right of the road, for example, to park.
It will replace the two age-old tests of reversing around a corner and turn-in-the-road manoeuvres that the Government believes are no longer replicated in real-world driving today.
Even some driving instructors fundamentally disagree with the new reversing requirement - more than 100 people have already signed a driving instructor-led petition calling for the DVSA to abolish the task, calling it a 'dangerous exercise'.
Simon Carne, an experienced driving instructor, said the three point turn will soon become a 'lost skill' that has taught learners how to control the biting point of the clutch while having to monitors their surroundings at all times.
Referring to the new 'pull up on the right' manoeuvre, he said: 'This is something I think should be illegal. Because it's not illegal doesn't make it good driving.
'I think driving on a dual carriageway is a useful exercise. That [reversing back on the right side of the road,] I just can't see the benefit.'
The research found that drivers had a mixed response to the refreshed test demands in general.
While almost half (46 per cent) welcomed the introduction of a sat-nav-following element and nearly two in five (38 per cent) were glad to see independent driving time doubled to 20 minutes, the majority believed motorway and night assessments were missing pieces of the puzzle.
Some 73 per cent said driving on the country's fastest roads should be tested, while two thirds said a review of learners' ability to drive in the dark would have a big impact on safety.
Licence holders also claimed that learners should be taught more cyclist awareness (49 per cent) and motorcyclist awareness (44 per cent) to make the road network safer for all users.
There were also calls from a significant number of those surveyed (80 per cent) for driving etiquette to become part of the learning process, with tailgating, middle-lane hogging and phone use all at the top of the list of bad behaviours.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: 'To make the roads safer, drivers believe more practical changes should have been included in the new updates set to be implemented in December.
'To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers.
'This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage, and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride.'
The research also highlighted that almost two in five drivers believed it's beneficial for learners to be taught about the costs associated to driving a car, such as insurance, petrol, parking, car finance and car maintenance so they are better prepared for the financial rigours of vehicle ownership.
Instead of changing the manoeuvres on the practical driving test, it could be more beneficial to teach new drivers “road etiquette” to reduce the risk of road rage, tail-gaiting, middle lane hogging and the use of mobile phones whilst behind the wheel.