show-me-tell-me

Show Me, Tell Me

As part of the UK practical driving test you will be expected to know the answers to a series of questions. These are referred to as the Show Me Tell Me questions.

The purpose is for the learner driver to demonstrate knowledge about basic car maintenance and controls.

Show Me

There are seven Show Me questions. You will be asked to safely demonstrate one of these safety tasks as you’re actually driving along. This could be anytime, even during the ‘Independent Driving’ part of the test.

The Show Me questions are as follows:

You will be asked one of these questions while you’re driving along:

1. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?

2. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?

3. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?

4. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

5. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

6. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?

7. When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

Notice that each question starts with the words, “When it’s safe to do so…”.

Don’t rush to perform the task. Take your time to check it’s safe and you know exactly how to operate the control, and where it’s located first.

Check what’s ahead of you. You don’t want to miss anything, like a change of speed limit sign, a sharp bend, or a cyclist in the road, for example.

Then check your mirrors. Is anything about to overtake you? A motorbike overtaking could surprise you, and if one hand is off the steering wheel this may affect your steering.

You’re expected to perform the task safely and while keeping full control of the car and the steering. The tasks are very easy to perform, but you’ll need to know where the control is in the car you’re driving, and you need to practice doing it so you’re fully confident and competent when you take your test. You will be a little nervous so it’s a really good idea to be happy with all of the questions.

Tell Me

One Tell Me question will be asked before you actually start driving, after your eyesight has been checked.

You will only be expected to tell the examiner how the task should be carried out. You don’t have to actually perform the task.

The Tell Me questions and answers are as follows:

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

  • The brake pedal should not feel spongy or slack.
  • Brakes should be tested as you set off.
  • Vehicle should not pull to one side.

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

  • Pressures can be found in the manufacturer’s guide or the inside of the passenger door frame.
  • To check the pressures, use a reliable pressure gauge.
  • Check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold.
  • Don’t forget to check the spare tyre and remember to refit the 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 head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable.

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 should have no cuts and bulges
  • They should have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread depth – this is across the central threequarters of the breadth of the tyre, and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

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

  • Explain you’d turn on the ignition, operate the switch then walk round 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.

  • A 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 you’d operate the switch (turn on 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 you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help.

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

  • If the steering becomes heavy, the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, 2 simple checks can be made.
  • Gently pull down on the steering wheel while you start engine You should notice a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Turn the steering wheel just after moving off. This will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

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.

  • Turn the car ignition on. Turn on the dipped headlights. Turn on the fog light switch. Check that the warning light is on. Explain that you would use the fog lights when visibility is reduced to 100 metres or less.

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

  • Turn the car ignition on. Turn on the dipped headlights. Turn on the main beam. Check the main beam warning light is on.
  • The final three questions require you to open the bonnet.

To do this you’ll need to:

1. Release the bonnet catch inside the car. It will be in the driver side or passenger side footwell.
2. Go to the front of the car and release the catch at the front of the bonnet.
3. Lift the bonnet all the way up
4. Secure the bonnet, with the rod, (if your car has one) to the underside of the bonnet

  • Practice doing this before your test so you’re confident and can easily remember how to do it.
  • You will simply point out the part that the examiner is asking you about, and explain how to perform the task.

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

  • Release the bonnet catch in the car and then open the bonnet.
  • Point out the dipstick. Describe how you would remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Then put it all the way in and out again. Then check of 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.

  • Release the bonnet catch in the car and then open the bonnet.
  • Point out the engine coolant and the level markings on the tank. Explain that the fluid level should be between the minimum and maximum level markings.

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

  • Release the bonnet catch in the car and then open the bonnet.
  • Point out the brake fluid reservoir and the level markings on the tank. Explain that the fluid level should be between the minimum and maximum level markings.

To put the bonnet down again you need to:

1. Release the rod from the underside of the bonnet (if your car has a rod) and secure it back in its place
2. Lower the bonnet until about 20 cm of space remains
3. Release the bonnet so it clicks into place
4. Check its safely secure, if not press the bonnet firmly

It’s a really good start to the test if you know the answers to these questions, but you won’t fail your test if you get them wrong. You’ll only get a minor fault if you get one or both of the questions wrong. You’re allowed 15 minor faults, so this is not a real problem.

The questions have been devised so that you can perform tasks safely while you’re driving along, and so that you are aware of some basic but vital car maintenance. Therefore, they are designed to keep you, your passengers and other road user’s safe in your future driving.

You can fail your test if you don’t manage to keep full control of the car while performing the show me task.

Remember that all cars are different and you need to check all the answers for the car you are taking to your test.

We hope this information has helped you.

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