The sun might be setting on another year of motoring, but how much of it do you remember? In many respects it was quite a momentous 12 months. There have been changes to the MOT, driving test, road tax and mobile phone fines. Car makers have launched their own scrappage scheme. And accident-prone TV presenter Richard Hammond had – you guessed it – another headline-grabbing crash. But how much of the detail do you remember?
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New research has revealed that the stopping distance prescribed by the government’s Highway Code is too short. They now believe it could take drivers half as much time again to come to a halt in an emergency. Road safety campaigners have called on the government to undertake an urgent review. They want the stopping distance section of the Highway Code revised.
How is stopping distance calculated?
In order to handle a car legally on public roads in the UK, new drivers have to pass a 40-minute driving test. But to ensure the test better prepares drivers for modern motoring, the biggest shake up in 20 years is happening in December 2017.
The driving test will still last the same amount of time and still be marked the same way. It will still cost £62 on weekdays, £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. But from Monday December 4, the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will face the most far-reaching changes since the addition of the theory test in 1996. Here are the four new features budding drivers will encounter.
Increased independent driving
To many people, the driving test is a rite of passage. Like turning 16, heading off to university or arriving for the first day of work, ripping up the L-plates is something we all remember.
However, some drivers look back and feel a chill run down their spine. The driving test may have been one of the most stressful times of their life. And to make matters worse, it may have taken several attempts to pass.
All too often, that’s because they unwittingly sat the examination in an area with one of the lowest pass rates in the UK.
Believe it or not, at the UK’s toughest test centres, less than a third of candidates get their licence. The most successful areas see a staggering 80 per cent pass first time.
So the 1.5 million new drivers looking to pass every year should think carefully about where they take their theory and practical tests. Especially in light of the changes to the test, due to be introduced this December.
Plan ahead, and it could be as easy as mirror-signal-manoeuvre. Pick poorly and it could be more bump and grind.
Where’s best to take the driving test?
The driving test is entering the digital age, after the government announced changes that are designed to reflect the widespread use of satellite navigation systems in cars.
Learner drivers will be expected to safely follow directions from a sat nav system or they will fail their driving test. And they will spend twice the amount of time – now 20 minutes – driving independently, without guidance from the examiner.
The changes are part of a package of revisions that will come into force from 4 December. The objective is to provide a more realistic assessment of driving on today’s roads. Continue reading
One government idea is for drivers to have a minimum 20 hours of driving at night before they can take their driving test
The number of people killed on Britain’s roads increased in 2014 and young drivers are still the most dangerous category of vehicle user. It’s prompted experts to call for a review of driver training. Road safety experts say figures show one in five young drivers aged 17 to 24 crashes within six months of passing their test. And road accidents are the biggest killer of young people in the UK, higher than both alcohol and drugs. We investigate plans to reverse that trend.
Better driver training and a new test could cut casualties (Picture © Ford)
Driving test changes are being called for as the existing test hits 80 years-old. The insurance industry along with other experts are calling for alterations to bring it in line with driving conditions in the 21st Century. The driving test was made compulsory in April 1935. At the time, annual vehicle sales were measured in thousands rather than millions and car top speeds were bound by vehicle limitations rather than motorway speed restrictions. However, apart from including a written theory section, the driving test has barely changed over the intervening eight decades. Continue reading
Experts say learning to drive is far more than simply moving a car from A to B. (Picture © Renault)
The cost of learning to drive varies from driver to driver. But it’s safe to say it’s one of the pricier parts of motoring, particularly considering that every year only around half of the 1.5 million drivers who take their test will actually pass. Here we look at the costs and potential pitfalls. As Mike Frisby from the Driving Instructors Association (DIA) explained, learning to drive is far more than simply moving a car from A to B. “It’s about attitude, behaviour, a whole variety of situations and how you go about dealing with them,” he said. Continue reading
Passing the driving test can be an expensive business. (Picture © Renault)
The number of drivers learning through the school of mum and dad has rocketed over the past 20 years. And it could be costing parents dear. Continue reading