If you’re learning to drive you’ll need to know what the ‘show me, tell me’ part of the driving test involves; we explain all.
The driving test has evolved a fair deal since it was introduced in 1930, with the theory test introduced in 1996, and ‘show me, tell me’ questions coming in December 2017.
What are the ‘show me, tell me’ questions?
The ‘show me, tell me’ questions will be asked as part of your driving test.
There are, as the name indicates, two types of question, with the ‘show me’ element requiring you to demonstrate a practical aspect of the car, and the ‘tell me’ aspect requiring you to verbally answer a question.
You might be asked to show, for example, how to switch on the car’s dipped headlights. Similarly, you may be asked to tell the examiner how you would check that the car’s brake lights are working – this would not require you to find a friend to tell you if they are working as you apply the brakes when the car is stationary – a verbal response is instead required.
The ‘tell me’ question is asked first at the start of the test, with the ‘show me’ question asked during the test.
What happens if I get the ‘show me, tell me’ questions wrong?
Get one or both of the ‘show me, tell me’ questions wrong and you will receive a ‘minor’ driving fault. You will only get one minor even if you get both questions wrong. You are allowed 15 minors before you fail the driving test.
What ‘show me’ questions can I be asked?
There is a set list of questions that the examiner can choose from. Any one of these can be selected, and you will be asked it during the test.
The list of ‘show me’ questions is as follows:
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
Respond to this by activating the rear wash-wipe.
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
Respond to this by activating the windscreen washers and wipers.
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
Turn on the headlights.
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
Turn on the heated rear windscreen.
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
Sound the horn.
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
Turn on the fan, set the temperature to hot, direct the airflow to the windscreen.
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?
Open and close the driver-side window.
What tell me’ questions can I be asked?
Again, there is a set list of questions, and you can be asked any of these. The ‘tell me’ question comes at the start of the test, before you begin driving.
1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey
Respond that you would check the brakes as soon as you set off, looking out for any spongy or unusual feeling from the pedal, and the car should pull up straight rather than steering to one side.
2. Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
This information can be found in the car’s handbook or on a plaque on the vehicle, often under the fuel filler cap or in the driver’s door jamb. You would check pressures using a reliable gauge and adjust them when the tyres are cold. Don’t forget to mention the spare wheel, and the fact that you should replace dust caps on the tyre valves after checking.
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 rigid part of the head restraint should be at least as high as your eyes or the tops of your ears, and as close to the back of your head as is possible.
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.
Respond that you would look for cuts, bulges or signs of perished rubber on the tyres. Tell the examiner that the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm. Mention that tread depth should be measured across the central three-quarters of the the tyre’s breadth, and around its entire circumference – don’t just check one point.
5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
You would turn the lights on, turning the ignition on first if needed, then walk around the car to check the lights are operating properly.
6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
The ABS warning light would illuminate. Explain this comprises the letters ‘ABS’ in a bracketed orange circle.
7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.
Respond in a similar manner to the question about headlights: walk around the stationary car checking the indicators are operating when they are activated.
8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.
Respond that you would either ask a friend to check the brake lights as you apply the pedal when the car is stationary, or that you could check they are working by looking for reflections in windows or doors.
9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
This would be indicated by heavy steering. Slight pressure on the steering wheel, after you have started the car but before you move off should result in you feeling the front wheels turn slightly underneath you. Alternatively, you could respond that you would be able to tell as you turn the wheel just as you move off.
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.
Respond that you would activate the fog-light switch, that the headlights and ignition may need to be on, and that there would be a warning light showing the fog lights are on. Mention that fog lights should only be used when visibility drops to below 100 metres, and that they should be turned off when visibility improves.
11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.
Explain how the main-beam switch works, and that a blue light would illuminate on the dashboard indicating main beams are on.
12. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.
This (and questions 13 and 14) has a slight ‘show me’ element as you need to open the bonnet, before pointing out the dipstick and explaining how to check the oil level is between the minimum and maximum marks. Say where you would fill the car up with oil as well.
13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.
As above, but point out the coolant header tank or radiator and its minimum and maximum marks, explaining how you would top up if necessary until the level was in-between the marks.
14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
As above, but with the brake-fluid reservoir.
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