Using a sat nav on your driving test

The driving test is changing from December and one of the big changes being made is the use of a sat nav on your independent drive. Here's what to expect.


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Dec 4th, 2020

As we know, the driving test changed back in 2017 with one of the biggest changes being the use of a sat nav on your independent drive.

The independent drive

The independent driving part of the test at the moment is around 10 minutes' long, from December this will be increased to 20 minutes. Since once you’ve passed your test, the majority of your driving will be independent, this seems like a good shout. You also won’t have turn-by-turn directions from the examiner anymore – again, you don’t tend to have to deal with this once you’ve got your pink licence, so it’s a thumbs up from us! The independent drive is being changed, and now the majority of people have to follow directions on a sat nav.

Yes, you read that right… the majority of people. 1 in 5 tests won’t use a sat nav, you’ll have to follow the good old fashioned traffic signs instead!

Maybe we rely on technology too much, so knowing there is a chance of following signs on your test may be a good thing. Learn both and in the real world, if your sat nav fails then you will know what to do!

Sat nav fails

  • Two Swedish holidaymakers ended up taking a wrong turn or two when heading for Capri as they had actually typed Carpi into their sat nav (it’s around 400 miles away).
  • A group of 4 British tourists ended up stuck for a staggering 4 days after their sat nav took them down a muddy dirt track in the Australian outback!
  • Tourists in Wales better not rely on their sat nav on their way to the beautiful Aberdulais Falls; A lot of the time, they end up in a cul-de-sac near the falls in Neath Valley, because the two destinations share a postcode.
  • A group of tourists from the UK wanted to take a shopping trip to Lille, France, but ended up in a Belgian village of the same name, after their driver accidentally picked the wrong one on his sat nav.

Hmm, where shall I drive?

Now before we get too excited, having a sat nav in your test doesn’t mean you can pick the easiest routes you know to drive on! The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set up a route for you. It doesn’t really matter what make or model of sat nav you use whilst practising for your test because your examiner will decide on the day where you’re really going.

Turn left, *turns right*

Whether you love the idea of using a sat nav in your test, or can’t stand the fact that technology is taking over, remember – it does not matter if you go the wrong way in your test, as long as you don’t make a fault whilst doing so.

How is everyone else feeling about the change in the driving test? Let us know, we would love to have some feedback.

Practice makes Perfect

Short term learner insurance allows you to practise in a parent's or friend's car and get test ready!
Get a quote in seconds and get covered in minutes - with no risk to the car owner's No Claims Discount

By Marmalade Author

Providing tips and advice for young drivers on all aspects of driving - from getting through the driving test to buying and running your first car.

Related Blogs

How to pass your driving test – a step by step guide

Learning to drive but don’t know where to start? Here is our 7 tips to getting you on the road

UK Driving Test 'Tell Me' Questions and Answers

We're here to go through the 'Tell Me' questions of the driving test! Here's what to expect


Parent advice

Advice and guides for parents helping their learner driver on their driving journey.

black box myth busters

Black Box Mythbusters

There’s a lot of misconceptions around driving with a black box – we’ve got the facts on what’s true and false!

friends happy on phones

Visit the Driver Hub

Check out the latest stories and blogs from young drivers

ICS member logo
Customer Service Excellence Awards
BIBA scheme provider logo
First car award 2019 winner logo