Car "show me, tell me" vehicle safety questions.
Show me questions
I will have mentioned these at some point during your driver training with me. Previously I have asked students to Google these questions, but I thought it would be useful to write about them in a blog. Let's assume you know nothing about them...
Before you take your driving test, the examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions. You may also know these as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions. One of the questions will usually involve you opening the bonnet of your vehicle, and the other will usually take place once you've got into your car...unless it's raining in which case both questions will be asked inside the car!
Your examiner will ask you one ‘show me’ question, where you’ll have to show them how you’d carry out a vehicle safety check, followed by one ‘tell me’ question, where you’ll have to explain to the examiner how you’d carry out the check.
If you get one question incorrect, no driver fault will be marked. If you get them both wrong, you will get one driver fault. That's why, in my opinion, its worth revising them all! It's important that you take some time to really understand the question and answer in your own words, rather than just repeat the answer parrot fashion.
1- Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
A- There's two ways to check these. The best way is to turn the ignition on (under no circumstances must you switch the engine on), and then apply the indicators. An alternative way is to turn the hazard warning lights on. You would then explain you'd need to walk round the car to check that all the bulbs are functioning.
2- Show me how you would check the brake lights are working on this car.
A- There are two ways to do this. The first is to turn the ignition on (under no circumstances must you switch the engine on), apply the brakes and check the bulbs are working by seeing them in a reflective surface. The second way is to ask a friend to stand behind your car whilst you apply the brakes.
3- Show me, or explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
A- Power steering is powered by the engine. That's why the steering wheel is difficult to move when the engine is off. It's simple to check. Place your thumb on the steering wheel and apply gentle downwards pressure (the wheel will hardly move), before you turn the engine on. As soon as you turn the engine on the wheel will move quickly downwards.
4- Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear; make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.
A- Apply the footbrake to secure the car. Apply the parking brake. It should secure itself and not be at the end of its working travel. In other words, it should stay on and not stay in too high a position.
5- Show me how you would check that the horn is working.
A- Press the horn!
6- Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
A- Turn ignition on and demonstrate that you can operate them.
7- Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them.
A- Turn the ignition on and then turn the fog light on. Explain how you would know it's on by pointing out the red light on the instrument panel, and when and why you would use it to demonstrate that you understand the law. Please see extracts from Highway Code below for explanation.
You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226) as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves. Law RVLR regs 25 & 27 Accessed online at, http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/driving-in-adverse-weather-conditions---fog-234-to-236.html
You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves (see Rule 236). Law RVLR regs 25 & 27 Accessed online at, http://www.highwaycodeuk.co.uk/driving-in-adverse-weather-conditions---overview-226.html
8- Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on.
A- Turn on the ignition, turn on the headlights and then demonstrate how you would put main beam on. Point out the blue switch on the instrument panel when main beam is on.
9- Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively.
A- Set relevant controls including fan, temperature air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. You do not need to start the engine; the examiner just wants to know that you know how to do it!
10- Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.
A- Its important that your driving instructor shows you how to open the bonnet and explains where the dipstick is and how you know if your car has sufficient oil. The examiner will ask you not to touch anything in the engine bay. So you will only be expected to point out where the dipstick is located. You'll have to explain how you know the oil is at the correct level and how you use the dipstick to check it. It's also important that you do this before driving so that the oil is cold. Your instructor will be able to explain this to you.
11- Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.
A- Show the examiner where the high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.
12- Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
A- Show the examiner where the high/low level markings are located on the brake fluid reservoir.
Tell me questions
1- Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
A- Tell the examiner that the brakes shouldn't feel spongy or slack, and when you use them, the car shouldn't pull to one side. You should check this just after moving off.
2- Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
A- I find it a bit strange that this is a "tell me" question, as it is more difficult to tell the examiner where it is than it is to show them! However, you would just explain that you'd need to open the bonnet to fill it up and that there aren't any minimum or maximum marks, so it's just a visual check to see where the level is. That's why the windscreen washer fluid is bright green!
3- Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
A- You'll find this information either in the handbook or some cars have a sticker on the doorsill. Tyres should be checked before driving so that they are cold otherwise you wouldn't get a reliable reading, using a pressure gauge. Remember the spare tyre and be sure to replace the dust caps.
4- Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
A- Tell the examiner that the top of your ear should appear in the centre of the head restraint.
5- Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
A- Explain that the minimum tyre depth is 1.6mm across the centre 3/4 of the tread, and that you would check it with a tyre depth gauge. There should be no cuts or bulges visible either on the tread or the wall (side), of the tyre.
6- Tell me how you would check that the headlights and taillights are working.
A- Tell the examiner that you would need to switch the ignition on, turn the headlights to the on position, and that you'd then need to walk around the car to check that all the bulbs are on.
7- Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
A- Explain that an amber warning light would come on on the instrument panel.
I hope you find this useful...it might save you searching the internet for them! It is important that you have at least a basic knowledge of the functioning of your vehicle, so it's useful to learn this, not just for the driving test!
Helen Adams ADI