You have passed your learner’s licence and you’ve booked a date for the driving test. But you have no idea what to expect. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions on how to prepare for that driver’s test.

1. What happens during the test?
There are two parts to the South African driver’s licence test: the yard test and the road test. You need to pass both to get your driver’s licence. If you fail the Yard Test (the first part), you will not be able to move on to the Road Test. You will have to follow the K53 method of driving during both parts of the driving test. But, before you start driving, your vehicle will need to pass the pre-trip inspection.

1. What is a pre-trip inspection?
The pre-trip inspection is to show the examiner that your vehicle is roadworthy. Make sure your driving instructor has shown you all the things that will be examined on your vehicle before the test. Importantly, if your vehicle is not considered roadworthy (i.e. if a light is not working, or your tyres are flat, etc) you will not be able to do your test. So make sure that the vehicle you take – whether your family’s or that of the driving school – ticks all the boxes!

2. What is a yard test?
The yard test is where you will need to demonstrate different types of parking, as well as successful reversing and hill starts. The purpose of the yard test is to check how well you handle your vehicle in the time allowed. Your driving school should make sure that you get enough opportunity to practice in a yard so that you feel confident.

3. What is a road test?
This is the second part of the driving test. The traffic examiner will direct you out onto the road to see how well you can drive in traffic. He or she will check how well you can handle the vehicle, obey traffic rules and deal with real world traffic situations. It is important that you follow the K53 method accurately in order to pass the test, so make sure that your driving instructor teaches it to you well. And, that you practice and practice and practice!

4. When can I start learning to drive?
In order to get behind the wheel as a learner driver, you need to have passed the learner’s licence. Click here for more information on this.

5. Who should teach me?
Anyone with a valid driver’s licence can help to teach you to drive. But, as you have to know the K53 method of driving in order to pass, it is best to go to a registered driving school to get the basics right in the beginning. A certified instructor will be able to teach you the K53 way of driving, and help greatly increase your chances of passing.

6. How long in advance of the test would you recommend starting lessons?
It is never too early to start learning. Get advice from the driving school on when you would be ready to book your test. And, remember the more that you practice, the more confident you’ll become behind the wheel. So, don’t be impatient and take your time.

7. Is it recommended to start learning with a parent before attending lessons?
Learning some basics, such as how the pedals work and basic clutch control, with a parent (they need to hold a valid driver’s licence) might be advantageous, but be careful of learning any ‘bad’ driving habits that do not conform to the K53 way of driving.
So, having some lessons first is a great way of developing good K53 driving method habits. Once you are comfortable with this method, practising with a parent or friend (they need to hold a valid driver’s licence) can be beneficial, and it might save some money on lessons too.

8. What is the average cost of lessons from driving instructor schools?
This will depend on how many lessons you require, which area you are in, and which code licence you are preparing for. Light motor vehicle lessons tend to cost between R130 and R200 per lesson. Driving schools or instructors often offer package deals however – for example, you can buy 10 lessons ahead for a discounted amount (cheaper than you would pay for 10 individual lessons). Speak to several instructors in your area about what payment options are available to you.

9. How many hours of driving lessons are generally required for someone who has never driven before to learn to drive and get ready for the test?
It depends on the person – their confidence, ability and willingness to learn, and aptitude for driving. It can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours’ worth of driving lessons, or even more, particularly if you don’t have another vehicle to practice in or another person to practice with. It is also important to pick an instructor whose teaching style goes well with your learning style – you will learn better and potentially faster with someone who understands your needs.

Remember: Most people don’t pass their driver’s licence first time around. So, don’t become despondent if you fail in the beginning. With practice, you will learn the skills needed to be a good safe driver on the road. It’s also important that people only pass when they are ready for driving on the road. Driving a car is a great responsibility as it can be dangerous. So, practice, practice, practice… and don’t give up!

Tell us: What tips do you have for someone wanting to take their driver’s test?