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How to prepare for your ‘show me, tell me’ questions

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The ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions are asked during your Practical Driving Test. They always relate to vehicle safety and are designed to show your examiner that you will be a safe and competent driver, who can maintain and check their vehicle regularly.

You’ll be asked two questions during the test, one ‘tell me’ and one ‘show me’ question.

Your ‘tell me’ question involves explaining how you’d carry out a safety task and will take place at the start of your test. The ‘show me’ question will happen during the driving test, whilst you’ve been out driving around. You’ll have to show how you’d carry out a safety task.

Examples of ‘show me, tell me’ questions

‘Tell me’ questions

1. Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Explain that brakes should not feel spongy or slack and your vehicle shouldn’t pull to one side. Brakes should be tested as you set off.

2. Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

The manufacturer’s guide will explain how to do this. You must use a reliable pressure gauge, and check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre and remember to refit valve caps.

3. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

The rigid part of your head restraint must be at least as high as your eyes or the tops of your ears and as close to the back of your head as possible – whilst still remaining comfortable.
Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

4. Tell me how you’d check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

Tyres shouldn’t have any cuts and bulges. There must be at least 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around its entire outer circumference.

5. Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain how you’d operate the switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk around your vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

6. Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Explain how the warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

7. Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Explain how you’d operate the switch (turn on your vehicle’s ignition if necessary), and then walk round vehicle (as this is a ‘tell me’ question, you don’t need to physically check the lights).

8. Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

Explain how you would operate the brake pedal and then make use of reflections in nearby windows or doors to check – or ask someone to check for you as you operate the pedal.

9. Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If your steering becomes heavy suddenly, then the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, two simple checks can be made: gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively, turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning or not.

10. Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Operate the relevant switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check that the warning light is on. Explain its appropriate use.

11. Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

Operate the relevant switch (with your engine and/or ignition on if needed). Check the settings using the main beam warning light.

12. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

To answer this, you must first identify the dipstick/oil level indicator. Then, describe the check of your oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

First, identify the high and low level markings on the header tank where it’s fitted or on the radiator filler cap. Then describe how to top it up to the correct level.

14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify the reservoir and then check the level against high and low markings.

It’s essential that, for questions 12, 13 and 14, you open the bonnet and then tell the examiner how you’d do the check requested.

‘Show me’ questions

There are seven ‘show me’ questions that could be asked during your driving test.

When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?
When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

Learning your ‘show me, tell me’ answers

During the course of your driving lessons, your instructor may ask you various ‘show me, tell me’ questions to prepare you. Especially as you get closer to your Practical Test. Beyond this, it’s worth practising your answers with family and friends so you become confident in delivering each answer. Preparing for these questions beforehand will help you feel less nervous on the day.

Speak to us now to get your driving lessons off to the best start. Our Eastbourne driving school has worked with students for over 21 years, helping them prepare for all aspects of their driving test.

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