New rules introduced to better prepare learners for a lifetime of safe driving have made passing the driving test harder than ever with the pass rate at a 10-year low according to latest Government figures. Now, Citroën – winner of the 2018 FirstCar ‘Driving Instructor Car of the Year’ award with Citroën C3 – and IAM RoadSmart have teamed up, one year on from the landmark driving test changes, to bring young drivers some insider tips to help them drive safely and pass first time.
Citroën’s analysis of pass rates since the driving test changes in December 2017* has revealed that just 45.5% of candidates were handed licences by examiners – the lowest figure since 2008/09, and a drop from 47.1% in the final year before the test changed.
Twelve months ago to the day, the UK driving test underwent its biggest overhaul for a generation in a bid to better prepare learners for real-world driving. The independent driving section was increased to 20 minutes with candidates required to follow satellite navigation directions. Reversing manoeuvres were also revamped, with ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ removed from the test. Examinees are also required to answer two vehicle safety questions while driving.
Despite the tougher test, UK drivers support further changes in the future. Almost two-thirds of drivers surveyed (61%) believe motorway driving should be included in the practical test**. Although learner drivers have been able to take lessons on motorways since June 2018.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research, commented; “Research from around the world shows that getting as much experience of driving in as wide a range of traffic conditions as possible will make you a safer driver in the long run. Learning to drive is an investment in your future so it’s not worth rushing it. Once you have passed your test you will still need to perfect your observation, anticipation and planning skills to ensure you survive on our increasingly congested roads. At work and at home we constantly need to update and develop our skills as new technology comes along and its worth taking that same mind-set with you as you start your motoring journey.”
Top tips for passing the driving test
Make sure you’ve had enough lessons and plenty of practice, your worst drive should be good enough to pass the test – not just your best. Do not try to rush the process. Be guided by your instructor, as they will tell you when you are test ready.
Choose where you want to take your test, the route should reflect the type of driving you will be doing after passing. If you will be driving in town after passing, make sure you have a thorough grounding. Moving to a rural test to make passing easier will defeat the object.
Pick a good time for your lessons to ensure it replicates your test experience. A lesson every Sunday morning may not give the challenge of driving in traffic that a test on a Monday morning is going to present.
Be thorough checking mirrors and develop an ordered observation strategy. You will be required to stop and move away throughout the test and it may be that there is never an issue for you to deal with, so the examiner needs to be confident that you look properly every time. Make sure you can be seen looking or even mention the fact you have looked.
Be confident with the technology in your car and use it to your advantage. Make sure you have followed the instructions from a sat-nav and know when you can follow the directions safely. Knowing where all the controls are will increase your confidence.
Be prepared to ask the examiner to repeat their directions, it is not a memory test and it is better to be safe and confident than unsure.
As a brand, Citroën is fully committed to ensuring its cars are fitted with a wide range of new technologies to help protect all drivers on the road. Its best-selling model, the Citroën C3, includes features such as Lane Departure Warning and Blind Spot Monitoring, and is a firm favourite with driving schools and student drivers alike. In April 2018, Citroën C3 was crowned ‘Driving Instructor Car of the Year’ in the FirstCar Awards 2018, reinforcing the brands dedication to ensuring safer roads for everyone in the UK.
The Citroën brand also helps newly qualified drivers get on the road in a safe new model with its unique Citroën SimplyDrive scheme. This cost effective solution allows first-time qualified drivers to have a brand new Citroën that is fitted with a ‘black-box’ device that monitors speed, braking and acceleration to improve driving skills and safety. One single monthly payment includes a brand new car, insurance***, road tax, servicing and roadside assistance. Citroën SimplyDrive with Telematics is available to new drivers aged 18 and over.
Souad Wrixen, Citroën UK’s Marketing Director, commented; “These new figures show learner drivers are finding it harder than ever to pass the test. The changes are aimed at better preparing candidates for a life of safer driving. Here at Citroën, we’re all about helping drivers have a safe and comfortable driving experience, and that’s why the Citroën C3 is packed with advanced safety technologies. The SimplyDrive programme is just another way that we look to support newly qualified drivers during their first miles on the road.”
*Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency: Practical car test pass rates.
**Survey conducted by Citroën and IAM RoadSmart between 22 September and 9 October 2017.