Sat navs have been a part of the practical driving test in England, Scotland and Wales since December 2017.
In 80% of tests, the examiner will ask the candidate to follow directions from a sat nav, so it’s a really good idea to brush up on your sat nav usage ahead of time (in the other 20% of tests, candidates will be asked to follow traffic signs instead).
Which sat nav will be used in the driving test?
The sat nav used on driving tests is the TomTom Start 52 and the test examiner will provide the sat nav, set it up for you and programme the destination.
While you can’t use your own sat nav for the actual test, the TomTom Start 52 is a great entry-level model that it’s well worth investing in anyway. And being able to practice with the same model that you’ll probably use in the test will help to give you an extra level of confidence.
So, what should you bear in mind when you’re practicing with a sat nav?
1. Keep a clear view
Whether you’re learning to drive with an instructor or with your parents, make sure the sat nav is carefully positioned so it’s not obscuring your view of the road in any way.
Attaching it to your dashboard may be the best option, but if that’s not possible then you’ll want an unobtrusive spot on your windscreen that’s not in your direct line of sight.
2. Set the destination before you leave
While the examiner will do this for you in your driving test, it’s a good habit to get into when you’re practicing. If you’re in a rush it can be tempting to set off and enter the destination as you go, but this simply isn’t safe!
3. Check the route
There are more than a few places in the UK with the same name. Make sure you check that Newcastle is actually Newcastle and not Newcastle-Under-Lyne before you set out!
4. Remember that you’re driving, not the sat nav
At the end of the day, street signs are always right and always trump a sat nav. So if your sat nav tells you to drive the wrong way up a one-way street, then make sure you ignore it and find an alternative route instead.
5. Keep your device up to date
New roads are being constructed all the time, while the layouts of existing roads can change before you know it.
The TomTom Start 52 comes with a lifetime of free map updates along with a whole host of other handy features, so just make sure that your device is up-to-date and you’ll always have the latest maps to hand.