The Independent Section of the Driving Test
From October 2010, there will be about 10 minutes of the test dedicated to "independent driving". Essentially, you will be given a simple set of two or three directions to follow from the side of the road - for example: "When you move off I would like you to take the first turning left, the second turning left and then ahead at the round about".
The idea is to see how candidates drive unassisted rather than relying on the examiner's instructions to time their M-S-M routine. This also encourages students to take more information in about the road around them ie. traffic signs and markings.
The independent section is really nothing to be scared of and its something that you should cover on lessons anyway. For example, I quite often encourage pupils to find their own way home towards the end of the lesson (only if they feel confident to do it of course!).
There are 3 different scenarios the examiner can you:
1) The Candidate may be asked to follow a series of signs or markings. i.e. "for the next few moments keep on following the signs to Evesham."
The candidate then needs to look for the signs, which will be all be clearly visible and to follow that signs until told otherwise. The signs chosen to follow will be have been specifically chosen because they are easy to read and clearly visible on approach to each junction.
2) You will given a series of 3 directions to follow as above i.e. take the 3rd left - right at the roundabout - then 1st right.
The directions will be backed up by a simple diagram shown by the examiner, and you will be asked to repeat the instructions back to the examiner before moving off.
3) You may be given a combination of the above two scenarios.
Q: What if I take the wrong turning?
A: Same as normal rules for taking a wrong turn, if it's done safely it would not be marked and the examiner will guide back on to the test route.
Q: What if I forget where I am going?
A: Just ask! Again the examiner will remind you of the directions.
The Other Important Change
The good news is (to many students) that there will be only 1 test manoeuvre required during the driving test - this was necessary to allow more time for the independent section of the driving test.