Independent Driving

At last, a break for the learner driver.  This, in my opinion, makes the test easier.  I've noticed a big change in the attitude and stress levels of students since the DSA dropped a manoeuvre and brought this ten minute exercise in.  During the test (possibily before even setting off) the examiner will tell you that you'll be driving on your own and will have to follow some instructions.  You'll either be shown a map or will have to follow signs to a certain place.  So far (in Bristol this is) they heavily use maps.  You'll be shown either 2 or 3, depending on how far the junctions are from one another.  Some of them are well spaced out, giving your mind enough time to wonder and get distracted from the task in hand.  This is not a test of your memory, if you forget or are unsure, ask immediately and they will give you the instructions again verbally.  Even if you go the wrong way, it doesn't matter, as long as your MSM routine is correct.  Here are a few examples of the maps shown.


Things to note
Scale - The diagrams are not to scale.  Some times the junctions are close, some times they aren't.  I've found that the examiners are pretty descriptive and do indicate the distance between turns.  For instance "Follow the road ahead, it goes on for quite a long way, up the hill, past the park and then you'll see the roundabout ...".
Exits - The images of the roundabouts do not include the exits.  Look at the pictures above.  The first 3 are DSA images.  The last one on the right has been made up and does include the first left-hand exit.  The diagrams on your test will not include the exits.

The new test routes are not going to be published like the old ones, however, I get the feeling that they are pretty much the same.  If you are learning independently I would keep within the same area.  All the old test routes for all 3 Bristol centres are on this website under the test centre information page.  These routes were designed to cover a range of road and driving conditions, so they still make good practice.  

If you are looking for places to practice following road signs then head to the city centre.  Here you have plenty to follow.  As soon as you move away from the city, the signs thin out and that's why at places like Southmead test centre, the examiners primarily use maps for the independent drive section.