Is the UK driving test a pile of sh*te?

#1
I didn't want to drag the Hit & Run thread off track, but it got me thinking...

The UK driving test seems to have been massively overthought, with every aspect from push-pull steering to six point mirror checks taken to its maximum logical conclusion.

Training for the test takes a long time (22 hours of private driving and 45 hours of paid practice according to the government), and at £25 an hour (plus the cost of licenses, tests, learner insurance) costs a not-so-small fortune.

Which leads me onto my points... Firstly, that the driving test is balls and should focus on attitude and awareness, rather than bone drills which are binned as soon as you pass - and secondly that we should teach driving in schools, like a lot of other countries do...

Thoughts?
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#3
It should include motorway driving for a start. Perhaps then the middle-lane warriors would pull over!!
 
#4
The test is OK to get you started but then it should be followed up by another test which is more focused on attitude and awareness. I also think that a theory test every ten years would keep people's minds on the changeing signs and rules of the road. A test at 70 (inc eyesight) and we would be starting to raise standards.

But then again, I know f'all.
 
#5
Try driving around Birmingham on any day and at any time and you will see that most of them would rather kill than slow down and drive safely.

I only make a presumption that these people have passed a driving test, but it appears to me that standards of driving have plummeted since the driving test was tightened up and extended.

Birmingham-The worst drivers in the world outside of Istanbul.
 

Mongo

LE
Kit Reviewer
#6
PrinceAlbert said:
It should include motorway driving for a start. Perhaps then the middle-lane warriors would pull over!!
I learnt to drive within the last year, and passed in December. I (I presume I wasn't in a majority) was taught always to drive in the lane closest to the outside/offside/verge as possible, and that the other lanes were only for overtaking.

Hardly anyone does it though, it really gets my goat!

On a side note, its not really acceptable to undertake people in the middle lane who are doing 70 when you're doing (or want to do) 80 in the free and clear left lane, is it?

As for the driving test, there are aspects of it that seem to be unnecessary. The push-pull steering is good imho - when out on your own for the first time, your muscle memory will kick in and if you're going too fast you should still be able to control the car.

The number of mirror checks isn't that ridiculous, newly passed drivers wont be particularly familiar with their car (minus a qualified driver) so the mirror checks will be useful when parking etc.

I failed my first test - I was too far out on my parallel park. I think thats a bit unfair, granted its a useful skill to have, but when not everyone is tested on it then it seems a bit unfair to fail the people that do get it.

Also, the fact that some people can pass without ever learning to reverse into a bay is ridiculous! A test centre near me is so small that it doesn't have the available bays to reverse into, so if people take their test there they can get away with never being taught how to do it.
 
#7
Mr Jones, the test is only for those in the UK. If you come from a country where an exchange licence is allowed, you do just that. And walk - well drive - away witha full UK licence. I know of a girl who was born here but couldn't be bothered to take the test and so got a relative to send one in her name from Kenya and then exchanged it . Simple really, I don't know why I took all those lessons. Then of course we have our East European brothers........
 
#8
rockpile said:
Mr Jones, the test is only for those in the UK. If you come from a country where an exchange licence is allowed, you do just that. And walk - well drive - away witha full UK licence. I know of a girl who was born here but couldn't be bothered to take the test and so got a relative to send one in her name from Kenya and then exchanged it . Simple really, I don't know why I took all those lessons. Then of course we have our East European brothers........
I know what you are getting at but the locals are bloody awful as well.
 
#10
CharlieBubbles said:
LancePrivateJones said:
Birmingham-The worst drivers in the world outside of Istanbul.
Try Cairo at night, hardly anyone drives with the lights ON!!
Yeah, I have seen Egyptian driving expertise at first hand.

I reckon most of them are better drivers than some of our locals though.
 
#11
roadster280 said:
Anyhoo, fast forward 20 years and I move to the US. They make me do another driving test. 20 computerised multi-guess questions and a 5 minute practical test. Practical test was 1. parallel park, 2. drive into a simulated garage and back out, 3. Once round the block, including a traffic light, a dual carriageway and a 25 mph zone. Hardest part was not exceeding 5mph in the parking lot.
The fact that I've had my license since I was a teenager is proof positive that the U.S. will, in fact, let any a$$hole drive a car. :D

The British test seems mindbogglingly hard and I'm not looking forward to it; I can't even figure out from the websites how many instruction hours I'm supposed to have.

However, I was allowed to drive legally on my U.S. license for a year under the terms of my visa - but we're not eligible for an exchange license.

So I was an acceptable driver for a year, but after that 12 months I'm too dangerous to be let onto the street without passing a test? What a bunch of moneymaking bullsh!t.
 
#12
Mongo said:
PrinceAlbert said:
It should include motorway driving for a start. Perhaps then the middle-lane warriors would pull over!!
I learnt to drive within the last year, and passed in December. I (I presume I wasn't in a majority) was taught always to drive in the lane closest to the outside/offside/verge as possible, and that the other lanes were only for overtaking.

Hardly anyone does it though, it really gets my goat!

On a side note, its not really acceptable to undertake people in the middle lane who are doing 70 when you're doing (or want to do) 80 in the free and clear left lane, is it?
As for the driving test, there are aspects of it that seem to be unnecessary. The push-pull steering is good imho - when out on your own for the first time, your muscle memory will kick in and if you're going too fast you should still be able to control the car.

The number of mirror checks isn't that ridiculous, newly passed drivers wont be particularly familiar with their car (minus a qualified driver) so the mirror checks will be useful when parking etc.

I failed my first test - I was too far out on my parallel park. I think thats a bit unfair, granted its a useful skill to have, but when not everyone is tested on it then it seems a bit unfair to fail the people that do get it.

Also, the fact that some people can pass without ever learning to reverse into a bay is ridiculous! A test centre near me is so small that it doesn't have the available bays to reverse into, so if people take their test there they can get away with never being taught how to do it.
My bold. You should have been in lane one in the first place, next time get out of my fcukin way.
70? Who the fcuk drives at 70? Are you on a limiter, is that the fastest it goes? :D
 
#13
My wife's friend has just passed her driving test in southern Poland. It consisted of:

sitting in the car,
driving around the block to a cafe,
getting out of the car,
ordering 2 coffees,
sitting down for 20 mins making small talk with the examiner,
handing over equivalent of 200 quid in a brown envelope
driving back to the test centre with a pass

Believe it or not, I haven't made up any of this.
 
#14
Howler said:
My wife's friend has just passed her driving test in southern Poland. It consisted of:
sitting in the car,
driving around the block to a cafe,
getting out of the car,
ordering 2 coffees,
sitting down for 20 mins making small talk with the examiner,
handing over equivalent of 200 quid in a brown envelope
driving back to the test centre with a pass
Believe it or not, I haven't made up any of this.
And then they are allowed to drive anywhere in the EU, at any speed and in all weather conditions, day and night and that's not complusory!

Oh, Southern Poland, that's alright then . . . . :wink:
 
#15
The standards of driving on our roads are indeed appalling and I blame a lot of it on the lack of traffic police and the Govt's constant harping on about speed, speed, speed...

Speed is not the cause of all, or even most accidents.... but it is easily watched and attached to fines, which raise revenue.
Policing other poor/dangerous driving would require officers on the roads which would be an expense, rather than an income.... so that's a no brainer from their point of view.

Compared to the test I sat in the US (WA state - each state sets their own) the UK test - even the one I took - is far harder, but it is all too easy to get into bad habits afterwards.

But to backtrack my personal gripe is about speed being seen as the all encompassing problem... people have become so brainwashed they rarely overtake on on-dual carriageway roads. So you get a long queue builds up, which wouldn't be there if people just passed the slow coach.. but they are terrified to do so.
So someone who wants to do this has to a) belt passed as many of them as possible in one fell swoop or b). move up the queue a spot at a time (made hard by the fact that all these idiots drive right up each others arse so there is no space to pull into.... and then they flash and wave and get all uppity when you have to squeeze in.
{Well I wouldn't have had to if you had used your own accelerator, or left decent gap between cars}.

For all the cloth cap wearing drivers of Rover 25's/Nissan Micra's out there - yes I drive faster than you like, and faster than you think 'sensible' on A/B roads.... tough tit... flashing your lights in righteous indignation after I have passed is not going to change things.

And dont even start me on those middle lane muppets...... :x
 

Mongo

LE
Kit Reviewer
#16
leveller said:
Mongo said:
On a side note, its not really acceptable to undertake people in the middle lane who are doing 70 when you're doing (or want to do) 80 in the free and clear left lane, is it?
My bold. You should have been in lane one in the first place, next time get out of my fcukin way.
70? Who the fcuk drives at 70? Are you on a limiter, is that the fastest it goes? :D
I'm not saying I go at 70, I'm asking if its kosher to undertake someone in the middle lane who's doing 70 when I'm doing 80..

As an aside, what speed will you have to do to have motorway cameras flash you?

And at what speed will the plod get interested?
 
#17
Mongo said:
The number of mirror checks isn't that ridiculous, newly passed drivers wont be particularly familiar with their car (minus a qualified driver) so the mirror checks will be useful when parking etc.
The number of mirror checks is fine, but the trouble with making them a drill is:

a) People go through the motions, without paying any attention to what's actually in the mirrors;

b) People check their mirrors when they really ought to be doing something else and;

c) People stop doing it as soon as they pass their test.

It seems to me that if people were taught awareness, they'd do it instinctively to protect themselves.
 
#18
Mongo said:
I'm not saying I go at 70, I'm asking if its kosher to undertake someone in the middle lane who's doing 70 when I'm doing 80..

As an aside, what speed will you have to do to have motorway cameras flash you?

And at what speed will the plod get interested?
As a general rule I try not to undertake.... and certainly not if it is a line of cars in the overtaking lane. But if it is a single brain dead plodder who is insisting on staying in that lane when the next vehicle he is capable of passing is a good few hundred yards way... then yes, I will - but after giving him/her suitable chance to get out of the way.

Cameras.... well depends on which ones, doesnt it....

My personal rule of thumb (clean licence) is 85mph and up and you run a clear chance of being pulled. 80-85mph discretionary. And up to 80mph and you should be fine - unless you get a really bored plod.
 
#19
Pompey_Jock said:
And dont even start me on those middle lane muppets...... :x
Take the B roads and see Britain. . . less stress. . . less fuel and feel relaxed when you arrive.

Perhaps the 'Advanced Motorists Test' should be mandatory after 3 or 5 years!

I did mine in an 8 wheeled Foden around the pretty bits of Cottingham in 1978!
 
#20
CharlieBubbles said:
Pompey_Jock said:
And dont even start me on those middle lane muppets...... :x
Take the B roads and see Britain. . . less stress. . . less fuel and feel relaxed when you arrive.
My wheels are far more suited, designed for twisty A and B roads and so I use them when possible... but spirited, enthusiastic driving and a shorter A to B distance does not always mean fuel conservation.
8)

But I do enjoy the sights of 'backroad Britain' along the way.... hate motorway driving - it is so dull.
 
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