Driving Skills Checklist: Preparing to Ace Your Driving Test

This driving skills checklist is a must-read because learning how to drive can be daunting and it doesn’t take long to forget all you’ve learned. There are different driving lessons that can help with the learning process, but in the end, you need to be able to pass the driving test.

Driving Skills Checklist

This is the part where most people experience difficulty, which is why we have provided a comprehensive driving skills checklist to assist you!

A Checklist To Help You Master Your Skills in Driving

A great way to learn how to drive is by taking an online education course for drivers. Doing this will make it easier for you to learn everything at your own pace. You’ll also need a checklist to know the skills to focus on for your driving test.

To simplify things for you, we have divided the checklist into three categories, which are beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
  • Beginner Skills

This list is designed for new drivers or anyone driving a vehicle for the first time. It’s also ideal for people who are not yet ready to hit the road or drive through traffic. If you belong to this category,

here are the skills you should focus on:

  • Conducting a pre-vehicle inspection, which should include a walk around the car to ensure that everything is in order and that the area is clear from small children, hazards, and debris
  • Checking the dashboard gauges and knowing how to read the speedometer and the meaning of warning lights
  • Using and adjusting mirrors
  • Knowing the function of each lever and button, including headlights, windshield wipers, hazard lights, and turn signals
  • Backing up
  • Smooth and accurate vehicle maneuvering
  • Parking in marked stalls
  • Smooth and controlled stopping
  • Proper driver positioning and posture
  • Turning off the vehicle

It’s important for new drivers to master each of these skills and identify the ones they are confident with. As you gradually become comfortable with each skill, you know it’s time to try more advanced skills, and this includes hitting different levels of traffic and different driving conditions.

  • Intermediate Skills

After you have mastered all the beginning skills and you are comfortable with each of them, you can advance and hit the road. However, ensure that the level of traffic is light before you leave the driveway. Another thing to ensure is clear visibility, good lighting, and clear weather as well. At this level, you also need to have a good mastery of different driving signs and laws.

Intermediate Car Driving Skills

Here are some of the intermediate skills you should work on at this stage:

  • Maintaining a 2-second distance between the cars you follow
  • Looking out for hazards and trying to anticipate the action of other drivers
  • Not driving beyond speed limits
  • Parking the vehicle at an angle
  • Parking the vehicle at an incline
  • Parking the vehicle on a curb
  • Using turn signals correctly
  • Paying attention on the road
  • Correctly negotiating roundabouts
  • Correctly negotiating intersections and obeying traffic signals


  • Advanced Skills

After completing and mastering all the beginner and intermediate skills, you can proceed to more advanced skills. It’s important that you are very comfortable with the previously mentioned skills before moving to the advanced skills.

Here are the advanced skills you should master:

  • Having in-depth knowledge of different emergency procedures
  • Knowing how to drive calmly during rush hour traffic
  • Identifying escape routes
  • Driving during bad weather conditions or conditions with low lighting
  • Having the ability to handle different driving hazards
  • Driving with care around bicycles, motorcycles, and trucks
  • Driving in complex situations


  • Key Things To Know Before a Driving Test

After mastering all the skills mentioned above, you can proceed to take the test. However, you need to ensure proper practice before taking the test so that you can ace it once and for all. There are also key things that you should know beforehand. To further enhance your understanding, we’ll look at some essential factors you should know.

This includes the following:

  • Car Basics

Before learning how to drive, you need to know some basic things about your car. This includes the different components and parts, and they are as follows:

  • You should know about the interior parts, which include storage compartments, dashboards, steering wheels, and pedals. You should be able to identify each of these parts with ease.
  • You should be familiar with the exterior components, including the wing mirrors, grill, towbar, valves, tires, indicators, bonnet, and windscreen.
  • You should know how to lock the doors, and this should include child lock, auto lock, and central lock.
  • You should know how to operate the windows and locks.
  • You should be familiar with cargo security.
  • You should know how to manipulate the interior lights, child seat restraints, bolt releases, and tie-downs.
  • You should know how to operate the seats in the car.
  • You should know the ideal way to use HVAC, rear window heating, heated seats, wiping, and demisting.

As a first-time driver, it’s important that you know these components and parts, even before you get a feel of the vehicle. Also, it’s advisable that your first driving should be in a location that’s easy to navigate and not crowded. This can be an empty parking lot or even any vast stretch of land.

Details of Car Basics

The early stages of the learning process will mostly involve learning how to apply the brakes and gas, as well as straight driving and driving through turns.

  • Setting up To Drive

Once you are in the driver’s seat, there are key things you should know before you start driving, and this includes the following:

  • Adjust your seating position, which should be in a good posture that enhances safety and alertness.
  • Adjust the mirrors such that nobody shows in them.
  • Understand what blind spots are all about.
  • Use your seatbelts.
  • Know the location of key components and how to use them. This includes headlights, wipers, indicators, horns, gauges, hazard lights, diesel start, steering wheel locks, and ignition key positions.


  • Car Control Skills

Apart from the skills we have mentioned earlier, which we grouped into three categories, there are other skills you must have to ensure that you are driving safely and effectively.

These skills include the following:

  • Vision, which should include reading the traffic, positioning the car, observing hazards, and looking ahead properly.
  • Steering
  • Cornering
  • Hill starts up and down
  • Cruise control
  • Steep hills and how to effectively use gears
  • Smooth braking
  • Use of auto and manual gear selection
  • Emergency stop


  • Simple Maintenance

This is vital so that you can keep your car running. Key things to know include:

  • How to refuel, including types of fuel, low fuel light, misfuel process, and overfilling
  • Spare tire changing
  • Globes and changing them
  • Tire pressure and checking for wear
  • Service intervals
  • Key components like brake fluid oil, battery, and washer fluid
  • User’s manual familiarization

Key Things Covered in The Learning To Drive Syllabus

The key things covered in the learning to drive syllabus include the cockpit drill, vehicle safety checks, car controls, and instruments, moving off and stopping, safe road positioning, use of car mirrors, signaling, anticipation and planning, and use of speed. It’s important to know them all before the test.

Here’s a quick overview of each of these concepts:

  • Cockpit Drill

This is most likely going to be the first thing you will learn, even before you start driving. The cockpit drill will take you through everything you need to know and check before you start driving. Everything covered under this section is to ensure that you are sitting in the right position and that you know how to adjust the mirrors correctly.

Car Cockpit Drill

Basically, the cockpit drill seeks to ensure that everything is in good condition so you can operate the controls comfortably and safely. If you’re doing the test in your vehicle, it’s important to ensure that you go through the cockpit drill because this is an area where many fail.

  • Vehicle Safety Checks

The next step after the cockpit drill is the vehicle safety checks. At the start of the test, you’ll be asked to explain certain things related to your safety, like how to use the fog lights. You might also be asked to show the windscreen when you’re driving and other safety features. It’s important to practice all of these pre-test tips before you take the test because acing the test completely depends on passing these safety checks.

  • Car Controls and Instruments

The next step in the learning process is to know how to use all the switches and buttons in your car to further guarantee safe driving. You can never predict when the driving conditions will change, which is why you need to prepare for anything. During the test, the examiner might ask you questions with respect to different weather conditions, which is why you should know the different car controls and instruments.

Car Controls and Instruments

The basic controls also include hand controls and foot controls. For the foot controls, it includes the foot brake, clutch, and accelerator, while the hand controls include the gear stick, indicators, steering wheel, and handbrake. All of these are vital components to know before the test.

  • Moving Off and Stopping

During the test, you’ll be asked to move and stop the car repeatedly, and whenever you do this, there are a couple of things you’ll need to illustrate to the examiner. This includes the MSM (PSL) routine, and here’s what you should know about this routine:

  • Use the mirrors to check the traffic behind and around you
  • Signal to show others your intention quickly
  • Maneuver, which basically involves changing your position


  • Anticipation and Planning

During the test, you might need to act like you are a fortune teller with the ability to read minds. This is a great quality every driver needs to have, and it’s one you’ll master with time.
Basically, you need to always be on the lookout for unexpected situations. This is because anything can happen while you drive, and your ability to handle the situation is what makes you stand out as a good driver.

What Are the Essential Skills to Focus on for Acing Your Driving Test?

To ace your driving test, there are essential skills you must focus on to uncover rare tips for owning the road. Mastering defensive driving techniques, understanding traffic rules and regulations, and practicing proper vehicle maneuvering are crucial. Additionally, honing your observation skills, maintaining situational awareness, and practicing safe judgment will boost your chances of acing the test. Stay confident and be prepared to showcase your skills on the road.


Learning how to drive may not be as easy as you would expect it to be, but that doesn’t mean you should fail the test. To ensure that you ace these tests, we have provided a checklist containing everything you should know, including the skills to master, in this article.

  • Learning how to drive is generally daunting, but with constant practice, you can learn to master everything.
  • The skills you need to master in order to ace the driving examination when you are done learning are grouped into three checklists, which include beginner skills, intermediate skills, and advanced skills.
  • Before you take the test, you also need to know a few things, which include the car basics, car control skills, simple maintenance, and setting up to drive.
  • Some of the things covered in the learning process include cockpit drills, vehicle safety checks, anticipating and planning, and car controls and instruments.

Above all else, your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of other people must always be the priority. With these tips and tricks in mind, you’ll be sure to pass your driving test with flying colors!

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