Wayfarer's news and tips

4 June 2018: motorway learners








Just announced: you can drive on the motorway with your fully qualified driving instructor from the 4th of June 2018.

Official announcement

Latest driving test videos

Link to YouTube playlist for all six short videos about changes to the driving test.

Update on the "new" test

Read some feedback about how the new test is performing from the DVSA

Like putting your foot down?

Fascinating fact. It could save your life.


Show me tell me questions - a list

The examiner will ask you:

  • one ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • one ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving

‘Tell me’ questions before you drive

1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Explain you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.
Explain you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.

9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made: Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.

11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.
Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

12. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.
Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.
Identify high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
Identify reservoir, check level against high and low markings.

‘Show me’ questions while you're driving

1. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?

2. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?

3. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?

4. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

5. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

6. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?

7. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?


Under the bonnet of a Skoda Fabia

Fabia under bonnet

1a - oil level dipstick

1b - oil filler cap

2   - brake fluid reservoir

3  -  engine coolant

4  - windscreen washer

Show me, tell me questions: videos

Questions asked before you drive:


Questions asked while you're driving:

The new driving test: 04 Dec 2017

It's official!! The driving test will change on the 4th December 2017:

Check out the official announcement on the gov.uk website.

Don't get too worried. The length of the test will remain the same, as will your chances of passing. If you're well prepared you'll be fine.

Here's a summary of the changes:

  • The length of the independent part of the test will change from ten to twenty minutes
  • A sat nav (provided by your examiner) will usually be used for the independent drive. You could still be asked to follow road signs.
  • The "reverse around a corner" and "turn-in-the-road" manoeuvres will no longer be tested
  • You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:
    • parallel park at the side of the road
    • park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
    • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

Theory test - are you ready (2) ?

cartoon Here are some more tricky theory test questions. Click the question to reveal the answers:

You are involved in a collision. What documents may the police ask you to produce?

Name three situations where you may overtake another vehicle on the left?

When can you drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a solid white line?

How can you identify areas reserved for trams?

What does this sign mean?

You have broken down on a motorway. When you use the emergency telephone what information will you be asked?

Where would you find reflective amber studs on a motorway?

You are in a collision with another moving vehicle. Someone is injured and your vehicle is damaged. What four things should you find out?

What can be the effect of unbalanced wheels?

What does this "Zone Ends" sign mean?

What is "Traffic Calming"?

Hope you did ok. Use the contact form if you want to ask questions or suggest new questions. Thanks for looking!

Theory test - are you ready (1) ?

cartoon It's all very well looking at lots of multiple choice questions, but do you really know your triangular signs from your round ones? Or your stopping distances in the wet and dry?
If you're ready for your theory test you should be able to answer most of these questions. Click the question to reveal the answers:

What is "kickdown" used for in an automatic car?

What is a Statutory Off Road Notice (SORN)?

What do these two road signs mean?

road signroad sign

How much room should you leave between your car and the car in front of you?

What is the legal minimum depth of tread for car tyres?

At night, which side of the road can you park on?

If the overhead signs show a red cross over every lane on a motorway what action should you take?


How far back should you place a warning triangle from a broken down car?

You break down on a motorway, and you have your dog in the car with you. Where should the dog wait while you are waiting for the breakdown service - in the car or outside with you in a safe place?

What does "Third party" insurance cover?

You want to turn right at the end of a one way street. Which lane should you position your car in?

At what age does your car require it's first MOT certificate?

When parking at night when must you leave your parking lights (side lights) on?

Why are these two road signs a different shape to all the others?

road signroad sign

What do two solid unbroken white lines in the centre of the road mean?

Your insurance has a £250 excess. What does this mean?

You are following a horse rider, who is approaching a roundabout. They are in the left lane. Which direction should you expect them to go at the roundabout?

Hope you did ok. Use the contact form if you want to ask questions or suggest new questions. Thanks for looking!

World Driving YouTube channel

Chris is a driving instructor in Beckenham who make videos to help new drivers. He's really good! Take a look at his channel:

World Driving

Here's an example:


Supervising a learner driver

When I passed my test at the tender age of 17, you could accompany learners immediately.

The law has changed since those far off days - you have to be at least 21 years old and have had a full licence for three years (for that type of vehicle).

There was also a time when anyone could be an instructor so long as they had passed the basic driving test. These days there are lots of exams to pass and continued testing.

Theory test video

A new short video explaining the theory test:

Reversing - top ten tips

Reversing is so ... backward. It can be a worry. Follow these top ten tips and you should find it a bit easier! Or take a look at this video to see what you could be up against...
  1. Keep things in perspective
    Sure, you might fail a test when reversing. But how much danger are you in when going back at one mile an hour - compared to driving forward at 70 mph? How about driving on a country road you don't know on a dark, rainy night. Think of reversing on test as an opportunity to slow down and take a little time out.
  2. Move the door mirror
    Especially when reversing around a corner, you need to know where the kerb is. It's OK to move the door mirror to get a good view of the back of the car and the kerb. BUT (isn't there always a but) don't stare at the door mirror. Keep looking back through the rear window for other people, and stop and check all around regularly. Oh yes, remember to put the mirror back in position when you've finished.
  3. Pull forward to correct a mistake
    OK, so you're going back, and you get the feeling that your position is not good. Looking in the left door mirror you see the kerb is VERY close. You stop (of course). You're still uncertain. Then pull forward a bit. No problem. Just go far enough to be in a position to be sure. Then carry on backwards. Easy. (BUT you must look around before changing direction. It might not be safe to move at that moment). Someone I taught pulled forward on their test three times when parallel parking. Because she finished in a good position, and kept looking for other road users - she passed. No problem. (This doesn't guarantee that you will pass if you have to make three corrections, I'm afraid. Each test is judged individually.)
  4. Don't be a perfectionist
    We all want to get every manoeuvre just right - every time. Real life isn't like that. Your reversing skills, and spatial awareness, will develop over time. Aim to finish each reversing task - no matter how much you have to correct it. Lots of people hate parallel park, but usually manage to get it done. As an instructor, I'm looking for people to be (relatively) relaxed, and not too bothered about what is, after all, just a small part of their set of driving skills.
  5. Get out of the way!
    When you reverse around a corner into a road on the left, someone else might drive out of that road. You should stop and let them pass you. But what if they don't want to? What if they just stop and wait behind you? Easy. Give it a moment or two to make sure, then drive back to where you started (just remember to look all round for other road users first). Start the manoeuvre again when the other driver has gone. The examiner will expect you to do this without them telling you.
  6. Try to practice in as many different places as possible
    Do you go to the same road every time you do a turn in the road? Always reverse around the same corner? Do you find yourself in the same car park every time you bay park? Hmmm - maybe not such a good idea. Variety is the spice of life - and reversing. Find a car park where you have to reverse between two cars, or try reversing into a road on the right for a change. If you have tried loads of different places to reverse, the examiner shouldn't be able to worry you when he says, "Just pull up next to that car, and reverse into the space behind it..."
  7. Stop
    That's right, stop. Don't rush back. Stop every now and again. Take stock of your position. Look around for other people. Only move back if you are certain that your position is good. If you feel unsure of your position, or need to look around, then... stop. (I've been a driving instructor since 1987, and I've never had a learner fail their test for going too slow when reversing. Maybe if other people are waiting for you to finish a manoeuvre, you might - but it's unlikely.)
  8. Find a big empty car park
    and drive around backwards for a while. You won't have to worry about kerbs and positioning so much and you will get a feel for the way the car handles going backwards. It's different from going forwards as you're steering from the opposite end of the car. Try doing some 90 degree turns, and straightening up again. Next time you attempt to reverse around a corner, you'll find this could make a big difference to your judgement.
  9. Observation, observation, observation
    There are three things that matter when reversing: observation, observation, and observation. No matter how good your manoeuvre, you have to keep looking all round for other road users. When you check all round, pause. You wouldn't go forwards looking backwards, would you? So stop regularly, and have a good look for pedestrians, cyclists, cars, lorries, dogs, cats... you get the idea. Wait for other people, and let them go if they want to.
  10. Keep the speed low
    - very low. If you're not happy going very slowly uphill using "clutch control," or creeping downhill using the brake, you will find reversing hard. You will often need to hold the car still on an uphill slope using the clutch. Practise low speed skills before you try a tricky manoeuvre.

Finally... relax. It's only reversing.

Test day tips

Worried about your driving test? Here are some tips to help you perform on the day:Liesha shows how easy it is to pass :)

  • Book a test for the morning - you won't have all day to worry about it
  • Make sure you've eaten - a rumbling stomach doesn't help you to relax. Bananas or porridge are supposed to be good for stress. But maybe avoid that five course lunch...
  • Try Rescue Remedy
  • The examiners are human. If you pass, there's a lot less paper work for them to complete in the office. More time for a cup of tea and a happy examiner!
  • Examiners don't have quotas. You stand the same chance of passing on a Friday afternoon or a Monday morning. It's all down to your driving :)
  • Recognise the effects of stress. You won't be able to eliminate your nerves completely (a little apprehension is not such a bad thing) but - knowledge is power
  • Make small talk in the waiting room. There's nothing worse than silence as those last few minutes tick by...
  • Ask your instructor (or whoever takes you for your test) to sit in the back of the car (the examiner will ask you if you want to be accompanied on your test). Having someone on "your side" could help you to feel at ease
  • Think of all the places you can visit and the fun you can have once you get that full licence
  • You can only fail if you stop trying. Never give up on test - no matter what happens
  • Don't tell everyone when your test is. Though well meaning, friends can wind you up about your imminent test
  • Finally, if you're well prepared, it's an easy test. It's not rocket science or brain surgery, is it?

Smoking in cars - new rules

From the Department of Health:

From From 1 October 2015, private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. So it will be an offence: for a person of any age to smoke in a private vehicle that is carrying someone who is under 18 for a driver (including a provisional driver) not to stop someone smoking in these circumstances The rules don’t apply to e-cigarettes."

Read more here

Richard is back from LEJoG

Driving licence counterpart ends

From the 8th of June 2015 the paper counterpart to your driving licence is no longer valid. After this date, you only need to keep the photocard part of your licence.

(Note - some people haven't updated to the new photo card licence and still hold the older paper licence. Do not destroy this - it is still valid).

More information here

You might need to provide proof about your licence entitlement - for example, to hire a car. There is an online service for this:

View your driving licence information

You will need your licence number, national insurance number, and the postcode on your licence to use this service.


Top ten ways to fail your driving test

All of us want to pass first time, but not everyone can. The pass rate for the whole of the UK is around 50% - so a lot of people are going to be disappointed. If you really want to fail, and get into the wrong 50%, try these top ten tips:
  1. Be rude to the examiner
    Examiners do seven tests a day, five days a week, and maybe more on saturdays. They've seen it all before. Red lights ignored, speeding, reversing up kerbs, it won't surprise them. So why not make their job even harder by being rude to them? Let them give the benefit of the doubt to all those candidates who are polite and show a little respect.
  2. Don't bother looking around when you reverse
    Sure, you're taking your test, but why bother checking that there are no drivers or pedestrians around? Just keep going backwards regardless. That door mirror on the left is so useful...
  3. Approach junctions really fast, then brake at the last moment
    The examiner knows you are going to stop, right? And that driver behind you shouldn't have been so close, should they?
  4. Don't get your eyesight checked
    Before you get into the car the examiner will check your eyesight. But why bother making sure you can read a number plate at 20.5 metres? If you can't, you've failed before even turning the key in the ignition.
  5. Don't get any extra practice in
    It's a difficult and demanding test. Why make the extra effort to practise all those little weak points of yours? So what if you haven't had a lesson for the last three weeks?
  6. Drive really slowly on national speed limit roads
    Everyone likes to sit behind a learner doing 20 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph, the weather and visibility fine, and the traffic is light - don't they?
  7. Forget about checking your car
    Yes, it's your instructor's responsibility. But some candidates use their own car. Any problems with the car - no test. So don't worry if a bulb has blown, the tyres are damaged, and the car isn't clean and tidy inside and out.
  8. Turn up at the test centre at the wrong time, or on the wrong day
    You got an email telling you the date, time and place of your test. Why not delete it immediately, hope you can remember the time and date, and turn up the day after the appointment. Or, better still, go for broke, and go to the wrong test centre. Taking the email with you on test is for those candidates who want a chance of passing, isn't it?
  9. Don't worry about looking ahead
    There may be traffic lights coming up, or a pedestrian crossing, or parked cars. Who needs to check their mirrors? Or lift off the gas nice and early? Maybe even brake a little? Those other people will get out of your way when they see you coming - won't they?.
  10. Why take your licence?
    This has to be the top way to waste everyone's time, and your money. It says in the appointment email to bring your licence to the test. Don't bother checking that you haven't misplaced it well before the day, and don't bother on the day. When the examiner asks to see your licence, you will be able to get home and back again in about three minutes, won't you? Otherwise you only lose your money and have to book another test...

Remember the six "P"s
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that this post is a little tongue-in-cheek. As your instructor I'll make sure none of these things are likely to happen. But you would be amazed at how many times these things actually happen to other people. Remember the six Ps - Proper Prepared Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Driving instructor's Facebook group

ADI Facebook GroupThis Driving instructor's Facebook group is worth a look.

There's lots of discussion - sometimes heated - and you can see things from an instructor's point of view.

I don't contribute :-)   but do read now and again.




Who needs traffic lights?

Meskel Square, Ethiopia:


Pass Plus - get £75 from HCC

If you live in Hampshire (excluding Southampton, Portsmouth and the IOW), and are aged btween 17 and 24, you can receive £75 towards the cost of Pass Plus from Hampshire County Council.

Go to the HCC Pass Plus website to find out more and apply for your £75 reduction.



Theory test quizzes

Here is a site with (what looks like) up to date theory questions:


Supervising a learner driver

New drivers definitely benefit if they take private practice with a friend or relative as well as taking professional driving lessons.

As a relative or friend it can be a bit daunting to supervise a learner - and the learner can find it stressful too!

Planning and information is the key, and RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) has put together a useful website with lots of useful tips and information:

RoSPA link


Traffic signs - free book


Know Your Traffic Signs - free downloadDownload this useful guide to traffic signs.

Alternative link

Hazard perception guide

Watch this useful guide to the hazard perception test:

Theory certificate - lost it and can't book your test?

Find your lost theory test pass certificate numberYou need your theory pass certificate number when you book your practical test.

If you've lost the certificate, don't panic! You can find the number here:

Gov.uk certificate number finder

You'll need to know your driving licence number and date of birth.

Expenses claim - cancelled test

Download expenses formIf your practical driving test is cancelled by the DSA with less than three working days notice, you may be able to claim for your expenses.

You can claim for:

  • the cost of travelling to and from the test centre or vehicle hire
  • pay or earnings you lost through taking unpaid leave

You can't claim for:

  • the cost of driving lessons or training courses that you took before your test appointment
  • extra lessons that you decide to take while waiting for your rearranged test

You can’t claim if the test was cancelled because of:

  • bad weather and poor light
  • vehicle problems
  • driver problems for example driver illness

Link to the .GOV page

You can ask for the form at your driving test centre.

Emergency vehicles: blue lights

The first time it happens is always a surprise - this video is an excellent guide to dealing with blue lights.

More blue light videos:

Responding to Emergency Vehicles

Blue light run unmarked emergency service vehicle


Insurance tips

Who better than Martin Lewis to collect together all the best advice and tips for saving money on your car insurance?

The average cost for young drivers is around £1200 for the first year. Click the link below to start saving:

MSE link


Independent driving - a spoof

Independent driving was introduced to the driving test in October 2010. For this, the candidate has to follow signs, instead of being given specific directions by the examiner. At the time, there was a lot of worry and uncertainty. I thought I'd put a spoof video online (I used an anonymous account). All my own work, except for the clip from the film "Downfall," of course.

Theory test booking scam

Beware pirate sitesBe careful when you book your theory test. There are rogue sites out there which will book your theory test, and charge you more than the correct fee.
The theory test can be booked at the official site, and currently costs £25.00. Some sites will charge much more - typically £60.00 - for exactly the same service.
The official theory test site is at:
(Incidentally, there are similar scams when applying for driving licences, passports, and European health cards).