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Freeway School of Motoring - Driving Lessons in Barnsley and north Sheffield

Since December 2017, practical driving tests now incorporate a twenty minute element of independent driving, doubling the section since its introduction several years ago.

During this twenty minute section, the examiner will ask the candidate to follow a route by either:




If they have been asked to follow road signs, at some point the examiner may ask the candidate to alter their route by following road signs towards a second location. For example:

“Please follow the road signs for the A123 in the direction of ABC......now follow the A789 towards XYZ”


The examiner will help with the route if for some reason signs are obscured, for example by a parked vehicle. If the candidate goes off route or takes a wrong turn, the examiner will help them get back on route and continue with the independent driving.





If the test involves using the sat nav unit, the screen will be on throughout the test but will only give directions for the independent part. The sound will be turned on for this part unless the candidate asks for it to be turned off. Should the unit stop working, the examiner will intervene and give verbal directions for the remaining part of the test.


It is important to understand that the examiner will not fail a candidate for taking an incorrect turn, or missing a sign provided that they do not commit a driving fault in the process. They are being tested on their ability to drive independently, not on their navigational skills and even the most experienced drivers sometimes get lost.


The following DVSA video explains what happens on your practical driving test including the independent driving element. Some browsers may require you to follow the link.

Independent Driving