Driving with the times – latest technology enhances driving test

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The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will introduce new CGI video clips into the driving theory test from early 2015.

Of course, there is no substitute for getting behind the wheel for real when learning to drive, but advances in technology mean that some more practical elements of driving can be practised in a virtual setting and included in the theory test.

This is intended to keep road safety a top priority, while helping to keep driving school insurance low as an added benefit, as real hazards are played out on screen instead of on the road.

The video test – what it is

The current theory test does already include a section with video clips, from which learner drivers have to identify hazards as they occur, to test their reaction times as well as their ability to spot potential problems on the road. Since its introduction in 2002 the video hazard perception test has been shown to help reduce accidents, with virtual practice in reacting to potential hazards helping learners to improve in this area of their real life driving.

How CGI will enhance the test

The existing videos used in the driving theory test have a poor picture quality by today’s standards and are becoming outdated. The enhanced CGI clips will bring this section of the test bang up to date with newer models of vehicles and better quality pictures showing more relevant scenarios for today’s drivers.

And in the future this new technology will allow the DVSA to begin to include some more dangerous hazards in the test clips, as they will be able to incorporate more vulnerable road users or poor driving conditions that were previously difficult to film into the sequences, allowing learners to experience a wider range of road risks.

What does this mean for learner drivers?

Learner drivers will prepare for the video portion of the theory test in exactly the same way as before, so for instructors and learners there is nothing to worry about there. But research has shown that the enhanced clips’ improved quality helps learners to identify hazards more efficiently – good news for all road users.