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Cartoon of sat nav
Hannah Clarke profile

Hannah Clarke

October 17, 2017

News 3 min read

Changes to the UK driving test come into force on December 4th 2017, and one big change that’s got everyone talking is satnavs! Learner drivers will be taught how to follow sat nav instructions and may need to demonstrate the ability to do so safely when they take their test. So just how is modern technology changing the way we learn to drive?

Lane departure warnings, parking sensors, sat navs, Bluetooth – the cars that new drivers will be stepping into these days are a far cry from the ones their parents had back in the day! With all of this tech packed into even entry-level models of popular cars, driving has changed a lot in recent years. The result of this is that it makes sense to learn about stuff from a driving instructor before you pass and then find yourself faced with what can sometimes look like spaceship-like dashboards when you buy your first car!

Sat navs being used on your driving test

This might seem like a really odd concept, but with sat navs becoming a staple in many cars – whether via mobile phones, separate units, or in-built systems – it does make sense to check that drivers know how to actually follow them. We’re sure you’ve all seen the various fails over the years where people have ended up off-roading thanks to blindly following a sat nav’s directions, without actually following the road!

Examiners will be setting the sat nav unit up ready to go, so all the driver actually has to do is show that they can safely follow the directions safely, and get to where they need to be. We’d love to hear from you over on Facebook if you’re now using a sat nav in your driving lessons ready for the test changes in December.

Using a sat nav in the driving test

Is safety tech replacing driving instructors?

In a word? No! Features such as lane departure warning and parking sensors are there to aid drivers, but they should never detract from skill and common sense. The skills needed to drive are ones that need teaching with patience, compassion, and knowledge – all things that you get from a driving instructor and not a beeping sensor!

Why do I still need to learn how to park?

Parking sensors can only go so far in helping drivers to park their cars! It is still up to drivers to be able to position their cars properly, turn the steering wheel the right way to get into the space, maintain a steady speed – all of these things need to be taught! Yes, the sensors can help you to tell whether there are any obstacles in your way, but that’s really as far as they go and so your eye and spatial awareness which is developed as you learn to drive, is essential.

Is in-car tech actually good for new drivers?

That’s a question we’d love to hear you guys answer! Have you felt like lane departure warning or parking sensors have helped you out? Does being taught how to use a sat nav safely make you feel more confident on new roads?


Hannah Clarke profile

By Hannah Clarke

'Hi I'm Hannah! I'm a writer, country bumpkin, sports fan, music lover, and intrepid traveller. In my spare time I love to go rock climbing, see live music, eat a lot, and plan holidays. I passed my test a couple of months before turning 18 - second time lucky!'  See more posts by Hannah

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