The UK driving test: time for a change?

By Lewis on 16th August 2019 - View Comments

The driving test. It’s something everyone has to take in order to get out onto the open road, and so not surprisingly, people have plenty of opinions about it. 

InsuretheGap recently asked 1,000 drivers what they would like assessed in both the theory and practical tests.

The top five additions to the test were as follows:

1. Over half (51%) say motorway driving should be on the driving test

2. 49% think tackling a roundabout should be included

3. Almost half (49%) think that the eyesight test is an important element

4. 47% want to see parallel parking feature in every practical test

5. 46% would like emergency stops to be assessed


The survey also revealed that:

77% (that’s almost 8 in 10!) would like to see a mandatory number of lesson hours introduced for learner drivers before they are eligible to take their test.


84% felt that once new drivers have passed their test, they should be subject to a probationary period,with licences revoked if they commit a traffic offence or are at fault in an accident


There’s also support for two other new additions to the practical driving test:

• Almost half (45%)want a night-time driving element added to the test, and

• 4 in 10 (40%)would like to see bay parking included.


Though it’s the most recent addition to the practical test, sat-nav driving isn’t seen to be as important, with just over a quarter of people (26%) saying they think it should be included.

There is also support for changing up the theory portion of the UK driving test. 43%of people think the theory test should be altered toinclude identification of basic issues with a vehicle,and 43% think learner drivers should be able to name parts of a car.

Retesting driving has also been a hot topic in the last few months, with the Duke of Edinburgh notably crashing in January and later giving up his licence. 87% think retesting is a good idea, with the most popular reasons for it being disqualification (55%), a high number of accidents (50%), and drivers reaching a certain age (49%).

While it’s good to see that the driving test has evolved over the last few years, we’ll leave the last words to InsureTheGap’s Chief Operating Officer Ben Wooltorton who said of the research:

“The fact that there is substantial support for the inclusion of new elements on both the practical and theory portions of the driving test is an indication that we should reassess what should be included on both UK driving tests. As driving continues to be the main mode of transport for how we all get around, tests should be reviewed to ensure that drivers are safe on today’s roads in all situations. This involves checking their competencies in different environments, such as on motorways or driving at night and also their safe use of the latest in-car technology.”


What do you think of the research? Do you think the modern driving test is fit for purpose – and if not, what would you change? Let us know in the comments!

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