Driver Training Blog



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  1. Driving tests and bad weather

    Some driving tests may be affected by winter weather over the next few days.

    The Met Office has forecast colder weather with snow showers becoming increasingly likely. Some parts of the country may have significant snowfall. 

    Your driving test

    If you're due to take your practical test, follow the advice given on your appointment email or letter. You should call your test centre only if there is snow or ice in your local area on the day of your test.

    DSA do not conduct tests in bad light or bad weather conditions for the safety of the candidate and the examiner. Another appointment will be arranged automatically at no further cost, but compensation is not payable.

    A new appointment date is usually sent within three working days. This may take longer when there’s a period of prolonged bad weather.

    If you haven't heard about a new appointment within seven working days, you can check the status of your booking online at

    If your test hasn't been rebooked at that time, you should call our customer service centre

  2. Braking exercise change for lorry, coach, bus and trailer tests

    People taking tests to be lorry, bus, coach or car-and-trailer drivers will perform the braking exercise on-road rather than off-road from 1 January 2011, the Road Safety Minister Mike Penning announced today.

    Candidates will be asked to perform the braking exercise immediately before the angle start, where the driver is asked to pull away from behind a parked vehicle.

    Mike Penning said:

    "This update to the testing process reflects advances in modern braking technology and allows us to strengthen our assessment of the candidate’s ability to brake safely in real traffic conditions.

    "I have asked the Driving Standards Agency to keep the test under review to see if it is possible to identify any other improvements."

    Currently candidates have to perform reversing, uncoupling (where appropriate) and braking exercises off-road. Only the braking exercise is being moved.

    The new method does not mean any change to the actual content of the test. Other categories of test are unaffected.

  3. DSA to stop publishing questions used in theory tests

    • Candidates need to understand theory
    • End to memorising answers
    • Unpublished questions used from 1 January 2012

    The Driving Standards Agency is to stop publishing the multiple choice questions and answers used in theory tests, Road Safety Minister Mike Penning announced today.

    This will help to ensure that new drivers learn the principles behind driving theory rather than just learning answers.

    The move follows the introduction of independent driving into the driving test and the DSA's decision to stop publishing test routes in October 2010, to make sure the test assesses a learner's ability to drive and not their capacity to memorise routes. 

    Mike Penning said:

    “The driving theory test should help to prepare drivers for real life on the road - good driving is not just about vehicle-handling skills, but also about having the knowledge and understanding of safe driving theory.

    “No longer publishing these questions and answers will mean that successful candidates will have to understand the theory rather than simply memorising answers. 

    “I believe that this - along with the other changes we are making to the driving test regime - will lead to better drivers and safer roads.”

    In September 2011 DSA will change the format of books and other learning materials available to help people prepare for theory tests. This will take place at the same time as more challenging case studies are introduced to car and motorcycle theory tests.

    Then, from 1 January 2012, DSA will create theory tests using questions which will not be published.

    Practice questions and answers, not used in theory tests, will still be available to help candidates with revision.

    Other companies which publish products containing DSA theory test questions will also no longer have access to the questions used in the tests.

  4. Electronic parking brakes suitable for tests

    • Vehicles with electronic parking brakes can be used for tests
    • Change from 1 November 2010
    • DSA responds to advances in vehicle technology

    From 1 November vehicles fitted with an electronic parking brake will be allowed to be used for practical driving tests.

    There are usually two ways of releasing an electronic parking brake:

    • using the footbrake while releasing the parking brake, then coordinating the accelerator and clutch to move away
    • coordinating the accelerator and clutch - when the electronics sense the clutch is at biting point the parking brake releases automatically

    The parking brake will not usually release automatically if:

    • the accelerator is not used
    • the controls are not coordinated correctly

    If there is no loss of control either method is acceptable.

    If the examiner needs to take action to stop the vehicle, and it’s not fitted with dual controls, they will apply and hold the electronic parking brake - this will bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.

    Advances in technology

    To begin with, electronic parking brakes were fitted only to top of the range vehicles. DSA decided not to allow manual vehicles fitted with them to be used for driving tests.

    Electronic parking brakes are now being fitted to an increasing number of vehicles, so it’s unrealistic to continue this policy.