Learner drivers can find out what questions they will face in the new written part of the driving test from a book launched yesterday by the Government's Driving Standards Agency.
The publication, The Complete Theory Test for Cars and Motorcycles, contains all 600 questions and answers which will feature in the new examination. From 1 July, learner drivers will have to pass a written paper with 35 multiple-choice questions selected from those in the 200-page book. They will have to get 26 correct answers before they are allowed on the roads.
The questions are based on the highway code but will cover a wide range of driving- related issues including what to do if you arrive first on the scene of an accident with injured people lying in the road or whether you are allowed to keep the engine running when you are not in the car.
The road safety minister Steven Norris said: "This book will provide learners with the information they need about how to apply for and pass the new theory test. To help with this the book will not only provide all of the questions and answers but also explain why a particular answer is right or wrong."
Mr Norris said the book "is also a valuable aid for experienced drivers who want to remind themselves of the highway code and important road safety matters". Indeed, many of the questions would appear to tax the most experienced driver, even though the multiple choice - always from four possibilities - generally points the way since some of the suggestions are unbelievably silly.
For example, one possible answer about what you should do when a vehicle pulls out in front of you at a junction is that you should "flash your headlights and drive up close behind".
The new test is to be held at 139 centres in England, Scotland and Wales and will probably cost pounds 15 in addition to the pounds 28.50 driving test. Waiting times have gone up around the country as people have rushed to take the driving test before the written one comes into force. Average waiting is now seven weeks, compared with five last year. In London it is eleven weeks.
Candidates will have 40 minutes for the test and will have to get 26 of the 35 questions correct. Those with language or reading difficulties will be allowed more than the allotted time if necessary.
Questions are drawn from 14 different categories and there will be at least one question from each category.
Last year, the Driving Standards Agency oversaw 1.5 million tests for car drivers, 84,000 motorcycle tests and 70,000 tests for lorry and bus drivers.
The Driving Standards Agency publications manager Philip Welsh yesterday sought to calm the nerves of test candidates. "People should not be frightened by this new part of the test," he said. "We certainly don't think it's going to be too difficult for anyone."
t The Complete Theory Test for Cars and Motorcycles; HMSO and booksellers; pounds 9.99.
Rules of the road. How much do you know
When turning your car in the road you should
1 Check all around for other road users
2 Use a driveway if possible
3 Overhang the kerb
4 Keep your hand on the handbrake throughout
B. You are reversing into a side road. Whilst reversing you should look mainly
1 Into the interior mirror
2 Through the rear window
3 Into the door mirror nearest the kerb
4 Into the door mirror away from the kerb
C.To correct a rear wheel skid you should
1 Not turn at all
2 Turn away from it
3 Turn into it
4 Apply your handbrake
D. How can you best control your vehicle when driving in snow?
1 By staying in low gear and gripping the steering wheel tightly
2 By driving in first gear
3 By keeping the engine revs high and slipping the clutch
4 By driving slowly in as high a gear as possible
E. To move off safely from a parked position you should
1 Use your mirrors and look around for a final check
2 Signal if other drivers wil need to slow down
3 Not look around if there is a parked vehicle close in front of you
4 Give a hand signal aswell as using your indicators
F. You meet an obstruction on your side of the road. You must
1 Drive on. It is your right of way
2 Give way to oncoming traffic
3 Wave oncoming vehicles through
4 Accelerate to get past first
Answers: A, 1; B, 2; C, 3; D, 4; E, 1; F, 2