Learner drivers will now need to demonstrate independence when driving as candidates in all main categories of the test will be asked to spend around 10 minutes demonstrating their ability to drive safely without step-by-step directions from an examiner.
Road safety minister Mike Penning said: "The independent driving assessment gives test candidates the chance to show they have the necessary skills to cope with the sort of traffic conditions they will face every day.
"Learning those skills from the very start of the driving process will help make new drivers safer."
At the moment the examiner gives directions throughout the test. But during the independent drive, the candidate will have to follow traffic signs or a short series of verbal directions, or a combination of both.
DSA’s chief driving examiner Trevor Wedge said: "The aim of independent driving is to assess the candidate’s ability to drive safely whilst making decisions independently. It’s not a test of navigation and candidates won’t be failed for going off route.
"The test is being improved to help produce safer drivers, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting any harder. We know many instructors are already teaching independent driving."
In addition, practical car test candidates will only have to complete one of the three reversing manoeuvres, instead of two at present. Other categories of test remain unchanged.