Log in or register
close
My AA Account

Sign in to see your cover and request assistance online

Log in

Don’t have a My AA account?

You’ll need your policy or membership number

Create an account

Your Finances

Loans | Savings | Credit Cards

Your Driving Lessons

Book a lesson

Young sat nav racers tackled with new driving test

Young drivers racing sat navs

Changes to the driving test from Monday 4 December will test learners on sat nav use

4 December 2017

Some young drivers are playing a dangerous game racing their sat navs, warns the AA Driving School as changes to the driving test come into force from Monday 4 December.

When asked if they race their sat nav:

  • more than one in 20 (7 per cent) of drivers aged 18-to-24 say the estimated time of arrival (ETA) on their sat nav is a target they try their best to beat*.
  • 8 per cent of those aged 25-to-34 try to beat the sat nav
  • overall, just 2 per cent of drivers say they race their sat nav.

Young drivers (9 per cent of 18-24-year-olds and 7 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds) were also least likely to say they were not interested in the ETA and only used a sat nav for navigation. This rose to 19 per cent among the over-65’s.

Test drives tips

Technology is changing the way we drive

The AA is highlighting the findings as changes to the driving test mean learners will now have to show they can follow a sat nav responsibly during their test. 

Edmund King, OBE, AA President, said: “Technology is always changing the way we drive and the development of in-car systems like sat navs mean drivers must learn how to use them safely.

Racing your sat nav is a dangerous and futile game
Edmund King, OBE, AA President

“We know from our driving school that young drivers are keen to get the most from the technology available to them and these changes to the test will help ensure they do so without it adversely affecting their safety.

“Racing your sat nav is a dangerous and futile game. The best pace to set for your journey is the one that gets you, and everyone else on the roads, there in one piece.”

There are four changes to the driving test from today: 

  • independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
  • 4 out of 5 candidates will follow directions from a sat nav
  • reversing manoeuvres will change
  • answering a vehicle safety question whilst driving
Learners will be allowed on motorways

Further changes will come next year when learner drivers will be allowed on motorways under the guidance of a fully qualified driving instructor in a dual-controlled car.

Previous AA-Populus research has shown the majority of drivers (71 per cent**) believe that driver behaviour on motorways is more dangerous than it was four years ago. 

The AA Driving School has long campaigned for learners to be allowed on motorways and believes it will help ensure new drivers are better prepared for life on the road. 

The new driving test now reflects real world driving conditions and will produce safer drivers
Edmund King, OBE, AA President

King added: “The new driving test now reflects real world driving conditions and will produce safer drivers. The longer period of independent driving, use of sat navs and more typical parking manoeuvres will challenge new drivers and should mean those passing the test are much better prepared for going solo.” 


*Populus received 19, 308 responses from AA members to its online poll between 15 and 22 August 2017. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

** Populus received 20, 845 responses from AA members to its online poll between 16 and 22 August 2016.