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Independent driving was introduced to the learners’ driving test back in October 2010. The concept of implementing the independent driving to the learners’ test is to see how a learner can cope with following a course of directions. In December 2017, the independent driving part of the test was extended from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Although there is a small chance that the examiner will give you direction verbally to follow the road signs, it’s more than likely you will be asked to follow an SAT NAV provided by the test centre.

The Sat Nav can be started at any time during your driving test as this is at the examiner’s discretion. During this time you will be marked on your ability to follow the directions as given by your SAT NAV or the examiner. If you forget where you’re going, you’re better off asking the examiner what the next direction is early.

This is so you can safely manoeuvre the car correctly in the right direction without affecting and upsetting vehicles around you. If you are unsure of a Sat Nav direction, again, you can ask the examiner to clarify.

Why You May Fail Your Independent Driving

There are a few reasons why you might fail your independent driving section of the test, which we have listed below.

  1. People who fail during the independent driving part of the test is because they get too focused on following the directions and lose track of their lane discipline.
  2. Another reason for failing the independent driving section is for failing to signal on the approach to a junction when changing direction. Remember, people other road users won’t know where you’re going without a signal.
  3. People may feel more stressed during the independent driving section, tell the examiner that you want to pull over somewhere safe for a few minutes to compose yourself.

Using The SAT NAV During Your Independent Driving

The SAT NAV that your examiner will use will be a TOMTOM 52, that will be mounted on your dashboard, the SAT NAV will have a built-in power source so the examiner will not need to use any wires to charge this. All potential test routes will be pre-programmed into the SAT NAV and the examiner will set the route for you all you will need to do is follow the directions it gives to you. Below are SAT NAV settings.


Issues You May Experience With the SAT NAV Whilst On Your Driving Test

  1. In some areas, you may come across 2 junctions very close together. This it can be confusing if you look on the screen, which one you actually want. The Sat Nav should repeat the direction just before the turning but if you are unsure you can ask the examiner.
  2. The Sat Nav may treat double mini-roundabouts as one. In some instances, the examiner can assist you to guide you through the junction safely and then refer you back to following the Sat Nav.
  3. You may be tempted to stare at the screen during your independent driving. But remember it is safer to listen to the instructions given by the Sat Nav and if you are unsure briefly glance at the screen.

Below is a video from the DVSA which will explain what happens during the driving test including the independent driving.

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