How Learning to Drive Has Changed?

How Learning to Drive Has Changed?

Learning to drive has developed over time to keep up to date with the modernisation of the motoring world, including changes to the licence itself and what is included in the test. Now, learner drivers are allowed on the motorway and being tested on their sat nav skills. But, how has this affected everyone else on the roads and why have they being implemented?

History of the driving test

Over the last century cars have changed, roads have changed, and therefore, the driving test has changed. It may seem crazy that some of the skills you had to learn and rules you had to follow were not always compulsory back in the day.

Here are a few key moments throughout history that have developed the learning to drive experience into what we know it as today:

1935 – Driving tests were first introduced in March 1935 as voluntary tests, but soon became compulsory a few months later.

1957 – The three-year driving licence was introduced rather than the provisional licence being stamped.

1970 – Driving instructors have to be officially registered.

1975 – Candidates no longer have to demonstrate arm signals in tests.

1988 – Driving tests were conducted under the new provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

1995 – The Pass Plus scheme was introduced.

1999 – The emergency stop manoeuvre began being requested at random.

2002 – A hazard perception test was introduced into the theory test.

2003 – The ‘show me’ and ‘tell me’ vehicle safety questions are added to the beginning of the practical test.

2010 – ‘Independent driving’ becomes part of the test, with candidates having to drive for 10 minutes without instructions from the instructor.

2018 – And now we have the introduction of learner drivers being allowed on the motorway and learning how to use a sat nav.

 Learner drivers will soon be allowed to drive on motorways during their lessons

Why have new changes been introduced to driving tests?

It has been noted that there is a lack of participants of the PassPlus scheme where drivers can learn how to drive on the motorway once they have passed their test. This comes as no surprise due to the extra expense added on top of the cost of previous driving lessons and the tests themselves.

Introducing the ability to drive on a motorway with a registered instructor in a car with dual controls is aimed to ensure beginner drivers know how to drive safely on a motorway before they head out on their own. It will not be a part of the driving test but can be included in lessons at the instructor’s discretion. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with drivers over 25.” This could be down to lack of experience, so this new change could help to combat this.

Learner drivers will soon need to learn how to use a sat nav safely as part of their driving test

It’s fair to say that most of us have probably been impatient at one point or another when we’ve been stuck behind a learner driver, so we can understand why some drivers may have their concerns about this new change, but thankfully this shouldn’t be an issue on the motorway. They can easily be overtaken (when it’s safe and legal to do so)! Surely, it’s safer to have beginners give the motorway a go first time with a professional?

While there are many differing opinions on the matter, it seems these rule changes are indeed for the better. The leading car accident claim solicitors at Smith Jones Solicitors had this to say: “The introduction of following a sat nav as part of the independent drive may seem ridiculous to some. However, sat navs are vast becoming a staple feature in all cars and are becoming the more popular choice to direct than simply reading road signs. Therefore, learning how to use a sat nav is becoming a part of the learning process to teach beginner drivers how to use them safely.”

How do you feel about these new changes? Comment below and let us know.

Do you think you would still be able to pass your theory test? Give our mock driving test a go and brush up on your driving knowledge.





  1. If I am correct I understand that the war (1940’s) and a few years following , the driving test was suspended , but if you held a provisional licence for three years without any endorsements then you automatically qualified for a full licence. Norman

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