DSA Driving Examiner Instructions

During my driving lessons I always give instructions and directions just as the dvsa test examiner would do in order to get my learner drivers used to the terminology, as it is very important you fully understand what you have been asked to do.

At the beginning of the 40 minutes test, the driving examiner will usually say something similar to "I'd like you to follow the road ahead unless road signs indicate otherwise, if I want you to turn left or right, I will let you know in good time".
This is a very important instruction to bear in mind, as if you get to a junction and the examiner does not say anything, then you need to follow the road ahead, and this could be a crossroad with the give way applying to you! The bottom line is you should always be safe, and if you are not sure ask, but never approach a junction too fast!

The other time the examiner will not say anything is at a junction where you have to compulsarily turn left or right, but even though it is obvious (to other cars) which way you are going, you will still need to use the MSM routine, checking your mirrors and indicating in the appropriate direction.

Stopping on the left

During the test, at least 4 times the dsa examiner will instruct you to perform a normal stop on the left. There are two different instructions that could be used.

The first one would go along the lines of: "I would like you to stop or pull up on the left in a SAFE or CONVINIENT place". The keywords here being SAFE and CONVINIENT, and you MUST therefore use SCALP to perform this procedure, which means don't block someone's driveway or stop opposite another parked car on a narrow road. However it is OKAY to stop on a single yellow line which generally means a parking restriction (one test candidate of mine upset an examiner by not wanting to stop because of a yellow line).

The second instruction an examiner might give could be: "stop the car on the left just before the white vehicle, leave enough room to move off" or 'stop the car on the left close to the telegraph pole, ignore the driveway'.
In these cases the examiner wants you stop near a particular spot.

Note the examiner will never ask you to do anything that breaks the highway code, so if you hear the instruction 'take the next AVAILABLE road on the right' don't try turning into the first road on the right which has a no entry sign, as it is not AVAILABLE for you to use, the one required will be close after (even if you signalled early, that should NOT be a problem).

I always advice my learners to fully listen to an instruction, and not to assume you know what is required, even if you recognise the driving test route, and to ask for any unclear orders to be repeated.

I sat in on a test not too long ago (at the pupil's request), and just about 10 minutes in, the candidate was given a double direction instruction: 'At the end of the road turn right, and then immediately right', the learner said something trying to understand, the examiner said 'what was that?', the candidate didn't ask for the instruction to be repeated because the car was almost at the giveway, and then tried to turn right into the wrong side of the road instead of going into the island before turning right. Unfortunately the pupil failed the driving test for this mistake, when all that needed to be done was ask for the instruction to be repeated even at the give way, if necessary pointing to where you think you should be going!

Remember you are not an experienced driver, so it might take a few more seconds to fully assess a junction and this is acceptable, as long as you don't stare at a fully clear road waiting for a non existent car to go by! The DSA offical guide to the test contains more information about examiner instructions and what you will be expected to do, so buy or borrow a copy and fully read it, it could save you money, time and help make sure you pass at the next attempt.

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  1. TAHIR UL HAQ7:21 pm

    Would you please explain if I have to follow the road ahead during my test and I keep on the left hand lane and there comes an arrow on my lane pointing to left then in this case what I should do. Thanks

  2. Anonymous1:23 pm

    One of the skills the dsa examiner will also be testing is your ability to plan your journey, and this means you need to be able to scan and read the road ahead.

    If a singe lane just has a left arrow on it, then you are turning left at the junction, so you need to use msm to deal with the situation.

    If the road develops into multiple lanes, then you need to follow the road ahead unless directed otherwise, so again using MSM get into the correct lane for doing so.

    If the road markings are covered by traffic, then the examiner should direct you into the correct lane as they don't expect you to know the area.

    IMPORTANT: if you find out that you misunderstood the instructions, and should be in the right lane, but are in the left, don't panic and try to force your way into the right hand lane, go with the current lane indicating if necessary, and let the examiner deal with getting you back on course. If you only do this once, they can't fail you for going the wrong way safely.

  3. Hi plez could you help me I have a test in july I have been today to look at the test centre it really small I have been taught in large car parks putting the car in the middle of the car park counting 3,2,1 reversing back to the point of turn right or left lock pick up lines in the side mirrors straighten wheels up go backwards into the bay. The pupils I observed turned out in front of there bay then reversed back surely this is the better method in such a confined space should I change now or stick to the way my instructor has taught me.

    1. Anonymous10:05 pm

      do the easy option,more chance of passing

  4. Anonymous9:20 pm

    Hi, your website has really been of great help to me;
    I have my test in September and my worry is my instructor tells me since my test centre has no bay parking I will not be asked to perform that manoeuvre during the driving test, how true is this since am focusing more on the other manoeuvring.


  5. Anonymous5:10 am

    If there are no bays or parking facilities at your local test centre, then you will not be asked to do bay parking by the examiner, but I would still learn the exercise.




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