The Future Of The Driving Test
Here’s a question: how much (in today’s money) would £25 have been worth in 1935? Now, don’t peek - make a guess. Here comes the answer....ready?....
It’s about 37.5p (or 7 shillings and sixpence, as it was in 1935).
So, why do we mention it? Why those specific years and amounts? Well, as you might know, 1935 was the year that the compulsory driving test was introduced. And 7s-6d (37.5p) was how much it cost. Which, as we’ve seen, is £25 in today’s money – which is around the cost of the current theory test. These days, though, you have to do two tests – theory (£23 on weekdays) and practical (£62).
Of course, in 1935, there was only a practical test. And it was a test which, in most respects, stayed the same for many decades. The 1935 test, for example, included an emergency stop, hill start, three-point turn, parking and number plate reading, just as it did until very recently. But, in 2017, the driving test was finally revised to reflect the changes in car technology over the past 20 years or so. Testing the candidate’s skill at a three-point turn, for example, was considered unnecessary, because the widespread use of satellite navigation has made ‘turning in the road’ pretty much obsolete. Instead, the testing process now includes the ability to use a satnav.
That was just one change of several in 2017. But these are now history and you’re no doubt familiar with them. So the question is: what other changes to the driving test, if any, are likely to come? Well, many people argue that the question is pointless, because the driving test as we know it will be irrelevant in the not too-far-distant future. After all, they argue, cars will be driverless. But that’s a different conversation altogether – the timeline for mass dominance of the DC is highly uncertain, and the skills, if any, that will need to be tested are highly debateable. In the meantime, cars will remain under human control. So they’ll need drivers - and those drivers will have to be tested on their ability.
So, the question remains: what changes to the driving test are likely in medium term? It’s hard to predict precisely which skills will be tested, but one thing that seems very much on the cards is the acceptance of ever-greater levels of ‘Assisted Driving’ – that is, the acceptance of technological solutions to help you drive safely and ‘properly’.
Many vehicles today have advanced Assisted Driving technology – the top three in 2018, according to the website PCMag.com were the Tesla X 75D, the Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE and the BMW 740e xDrive. This technology offers many driving aids, but the main ones, as far as the driving test is concerned, are:
Forward Collision Warning
Here, the vehicle is fitted with a sensor that scans the road ahead, and alerts the driver of any obstacle or slow-moving vehicle that could cause a crash. This gives the driver better control and management of their space and distancing during their driving test.
Blind Spot Assistance
A key part of the driving test is safely pulling away, and consistently checking blind spots to maintain awareness of the vehicle and surrounding objects. Now, though, sensors (either ultrasonic or radar) fitted to your car can notify you if another vehicle is in your blind spot. This means less chance of placing the vehicle in a position during a driving test that could result in a fail.
Lane Departure and Drift Warning
Cameras attached to your car can detect if it’s straying from its lane. If so, you will be alerted, either by a vibration through the steering wheel or seat, or from a light on the dashboard. This will help drivers by minimising the chance of making dangerous mistakes that result in an instant fail.
While most aspects of the driving test are designed to increase road safety, there is also an increasing need to ensure drivers are aware of the impact their vehicle has on the environment, and the actions they can take to become more ‘eco-friendly’. As a result, you should also expect driving tests of the future to require learners to know some of the basics of running their car in an environmentally-friendly way. Thus, for examples, they may be asked what exact type of oil their engine requires, or what tyre pressure is optimal for their vehicle’s fuel consumption.
If you fancy a car with advanced Assisted Driving technology, but can’t afford a new one, why not have a look in the Desperateseller.co.uk used car section? There’s a huge range of models available, so you may well find something that suits your needs.