New Independent Driving Test
1st March 2010 (updated 14th September 2010)
As from the 4th October 2010 there will be a change to the current driving test.
From 4th October 2010 your practical driving test will include a section of 'independent driving'. In the independent driving section of your test, you will drive for about 10 minutes without step-by-step direction from your examiner.
Due to a lot of bad press, many people are worried about the new driving test. The test is certainly not going to be harder as they are already dropping one of the manoeuvres from the test and some people may find the new independent test easier than the old test, especially if they struggle with their lefts and rights. Clear diagrams will be shown and clear instruction will be given. Your driving instructor will have you fully prepared for the new driving test and will be carrying out the necessary training on your lessons.
At present, examiners give candidates step-by-step instructions during the test. For other parts of the test, this will still be true. But during the independent driving section of the test, the examiner will ask you to drive by either following a series of directions, following traffic signs, or a combination of both.
To help you understand where you're going, the examiner may show you a diagram. It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers. Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills.
Driving independently means making your own decisions - this includes deciding when it's safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you're going.
The independent driving route
If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you.
If you go off the independent driving route it won't affect the result of your test unless you commit a driving fault. If you go off the route or take a wrong turning, the examiner will help you to get back on the route and continue with the independent driving.
If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign - you won't need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.
You can't use a Sat Nav for independent driving as it gives you turn-by-turn prompts. Independent driving tests how you make your own decisions.
Video shows independent driving
The Driving Standards Agency has published a short video on its YouTube channel explaining more about independent driving.
In addition to the above you will now only carry out one of the four manoeuvres that you have been taught on your driving lessons.
12th June 2021
RIP Martin Poulter
3rd April 2013
Derek Newman retires after 39 years with Castle Driving School.
14th September 2010
Betty Jackson Passes First Time Aged 70.
9th March 2010
Gary Pike retires after 12 years with Castle Driving School.
1st March 2010
Happy Birthday Driving Test.
25th November 2008
Tribute to Kevin Mills.
12th September 2008
Drivers Face Fines for Expired Licences.
27th March 2008
Chris Napier passed his driving test just one week after his 17th birthday.
23rd May 2007
Colin Diaper, from Castle Driving School, was escorted to his funeral by his own learner cars.