The current DSA syllabus comprises the following sections:
Having solid knowledge of the Highway Code is imperative. You should begin learning this before starting your driving lessons.
Cockpit drills are those checks performed inside your car prior to starting your engine.
Vehicle Safety Checks
Vehicle safety checks encompass the Show Me, Tell Me questions and tasks that test your overall knowledge and comprehension of basic maintenance and safety operations.
You will be asked one Show Me and one Tell Me question before starting your practical driving test. If you incorrectly or fail to answer one or both of these questions, you accrue one minor fault against your overall score.
Controls and Instruments
Before you drive make sure You understand the functions of switches, dials and other controls within your car — especially those that pertain to safety. You must be able to operate those switches and controls without having to fumble or look down for them when your driving.
Keep your eyes on the road at all times.
- Foot controls: These include the accelerator, foot brake and clutch.
- Hand controls: These include the parking brake, gear stick, indicators and the steering wheel.
You must also show appropriate operation of lights, indicators, demisters, heaters and windscreen wipers.
Use of these switches and controls must be natural or second-nature. You must use them with little or no hesitation or groping for switches, for your eyes are no longer on the road where they should be.
Moving Away and Stopping
Just as important as driving in traffic safely, you must know how to move away and stop safely and correctly — and not just on flat surfaces. You must demonstrate appropriate skill, keeping the vehicle under complete control, while both on a level surface and on a hill, facing either uphill, downhill or both.
In all manoeuvres, you will need to utilize the “MSM” and “PSL” techniques.
Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre (MSM)
- Mirror: Check positions of traffic beside and behind you by properly using your mirrors.
- Signal: Notify others what you intend to do and notify others with good warning timing.
- Manoeuvre – Change your speed or position.
Position – Speed – Look (PSL)
- Position: Position your car within the lane and in the correct lane for the move you want to complete.
- Speed: Safely adjust your speed appropriately for that desired manoeuvre.
- Look: Take a good, final look at surrounding traffic to ensure your movement is save before initiating the manoeuvre.
MSM/PSL routine – moving off – stopping – uphill start – downhill start
Safe Road Positioning
Safe road positioning encompasses your lane posture on the road. It pertains to not only where you are in your lane but also the type of road on which you are driving but also the position of other vehicles of varying types that are sharing the road with you.
You must respond appropriately to motorcycles, buses and lorries, for example. You must also respond to their lane movements while following and maintaining lane positioning rules and discipline.
Using your driving mirrors regularly and sensibly is vital to good driving Keep upto date with the position and speed of traffic behind you aswell as to the sides of your vehicle and especially of your blind spots — those areas on each side not displayed in your mirrors.
You must use your mirrors early and often when signalling, changing direction or speed and always as part of the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine.
You should understand the differences between your mirrors and the views presented and know how and when to use them.
You should also comprehend blind spots and how to counter them.
You must know how to signal clearly to others and when to do so – early. You must also be able to respond appropriately to other drivers’ signals.
Anticipation and Planning
You must know how to identify emerging and approaching hazards as well as how to appropriately respond to them. Keys to these aspects are constant searching and vigilant observation.
- Think and anticipate others’ action and plan in advance your own actions.
- properly identify hazards from clues, indications and possibilities, then respond safely.
- Easily recognise places, times and conditions that invoke higher risk possibilities.
- Maintain and consistently demonstrate safe attitudes as you approach and deal with vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Safe Use of Speed
Safe use and control of speed encompasses reasonable progress on the road, considering the road, traffic and weather conditions, signs — including speed signs — and hazards.
You must know
- How weather conditions affect safe speeds.
- How different weather conditions impact your safe speeds.
- The actual stopping distances for your car under differing weather conditions.
- Safe following distances in different conditions and how to calculate them.
Interacting with Other Traffic
You must appropriately deal with other traffic, including meeting, overtaking and crossing other vehicles.
- Meeting traffic: You must know when to give way to oncoming traffic, such as when parked cars block your lane. You should be ready to use passing areas only when on narrow roads.
- Crossing traffic: You must position your car correctly both in the road and in your lane when turning right. Stay as close to the centre of the road without turning into the oncoming lane, you must give way to oncoming vehicles and turn without cutting the corner.
- Overtaking: You must understand and demonstrate as needed when it is both safe and legal to overtake a vehicle ahead of you. Check and assess the position of vehicles around you and approaching you.
Each above manoeuvres require the MSM/PSL routines.
You must recognise and identify each different road junctions and demonstrate proper, safe negotiation without delaying other drivers or road users without cause.
You must fully understand the rules that apply to approaching and safely negotiating roundabouts. You must also demonstrate your ability to navigate them safely and competently.
You must know the different procedures involved in negotiating both standard and mini-roundabouts as well.
Regardless of size or type, when approaching a roundabout, you must
- Demonstrate proper MSM/PSL procedures.
- Position your car correctly.
- Utilize the correct lane as you approach and travel around the roundabout.
- Utilize the correct procedure as you exit from it.
You must know all rules that apply to pedestrian crossings and the differences between the types.
You must safely negotiate all types and demonstrate
- Effective observation.
- The ability to recognize all types of pedestrian crossings.
- A comprehensive ability to use correct speed when approaching a pedestrian crossing.
- A full understanding of when to stop when pedestrian crossings are occupied.
You must show competence and safety when driving on a dual carriageway. You must also demonstrate understanding and competence of the rules and methods of joining, using and exiting a dual carriageway.
You must perform the following special manoeuvres in a safe and controlled manner:
- A three-point turn in a road.
- Bay parking.
- Parallel parking.
- corner reversing.
Good control with the clutch is key to performing these manoeuvres correctly.
You must safely execute an emergency stop while maintaining full control of your vehicle.
To safely stop your vehicle as quickly as possible and still maintain control, you must
- Know how to properly press the brake and clutch pedals, avoiding a skid if possible.
- Demonstrate keen observation skills and hazard recognition.
- Quickly weigh options and choose the correct action.
You need to demonstrate
- Proper coordination of the brake and clutch pedals.
- Knowledge of whether your car has ABS or not.
- Knowledge of the correlation between road and weather conditions and how to stop your vehicle.
- Control over a skid if one does occur.
- Knowledge and safe execution of movement away from an emergency stop.
You must understand how weather conditions do affect driving. Although some effects are rarer than others, the primary impact will be on your
- Stopping Distance
You must know
- The warning signs and signals that you may have to utilize.
- When to use your headlights and which lights to use in conditions of poor visibility.
- How to avoid or safely react to skidding or aquaplaning, should they occur.