Operating the controls

You must be confident using all of the controls and be able to operate them without distraction. Some of the driving tasks that the testing officer will observe and record:

  • Adjust the driver’s seat posture and steering column (if adjustable) to ensure you have good control of the vehicle
  • Operate accelerator and brakes smoothly when accelerating and decelerating (any harsh accelerating or braking will affect your score)
  • Coordinate clutch and gear lever to make smooth changes
  • Select appropriate gear for the situation
  • Avoid over-revving on take off and gear changes
  • Seat belt is correctly fastened, fitted and adjusted (low, flat and firm)
  • Apply a brake when starting the vehicle
  • Prevent rolling back when starting on hills
  • Use park brake correctly when preparing to secure the vehicle and ensure it is fully released when driving
  • Steer with both hands on the steering wheel (except when using another control), using either ‘hand-over-hand’ or ‘pull-push’ method with hands on the outside of the steering wheel
  • Use other controls such as indicators, windscreen wipers and demisters

Driving posture

  • The steering wheel should be adjusted low, facing the driver’s chest rather than the face
  • Adjust the head restraint for your height
  • Keep your arms bent; thumbs should be on the rim of the steering wheel
  • Keep your knees slightly bent
  • Have the seat fairly upright to fully support your back and shoulders
  • Sit deep in the seat
  • Brace your body using your left foot


Continue reading the Guide to the Driving Test Summary:

1. The Driving Test

2. Before You Start

3. Low Risk Driving

4. Vehicle Control

5. Test Results

6. Tips for Provisional Drivers

Check out the other resources available to help you pass the Practical Driving Test and get your provisional P1 licence (Red Ps):

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