Alertness Category

Theory Test - Alertness Category

Topics include:

  • Observation - making sure you know what other road users are in your vicinity

  • Anticipation - thinking well in advance about what other road users may do next

  • Concentration - understanding the actions of other road users whilst driving

  • Distraction - making sure you focus on your driving and avoid distraction

  • Concentration - staying alert when driving & knowing what factors may affect your driving.
Safety is the main concern. Understand this, add some common sense, and many of the questions are easy to answer.

Always ask yourself, which is the safest option?

E.g. You lose your way on a busy road. What is the best action to take?

  1. Stop at traffic lights and ask pedestrians
  2. Shout to other drivers to ask them the way
  3. Turn into a side road, stop and check a map
  4. Check a map, and keep going with the traffic flow

To answer the question ask yourself, which is the safest option? Safety and common sense should tell you it's answer 3.

Stopping somewhere safe and convenient is an answer that repeats itself throughout the test. Why? Because this is the safest option.

Common Themes

Mobile phones. Eight questions exist that concern mobile phone usage. The facts you need to know are:

  • Never use a hand-held mobile phone while driving
  • If you receive a call while driving pull up and stop in a safe, convenient location before answering it.
  • The reason you can't use a hand-held mobile phone while driving is because it will cause you to lose concentration.
  • Although you can use a hands-free mobile phone while driving it is still likely to divert your attention from the road.

Facts To Know

  • Blind Spot - An area not covered by your mirrors.

  • Overtaking - never overtake on the brow of a hill, approaching a bend, approaching a dip in the road, approaching a left-hand junction.

  • Large Vehicles - keep well back when following a large vehicle as this helps the driver of the vehicle see you in their mirrors.

  • Tired Whilst Driving - then find a suitable place to stop and get some rest. Allow fresh air into your vehicle.

  • Losing Concentration - loud music, using a mobile phone, tuning the car radio, looking at a map and objects hanging from your interior mirror can all cause you to lose concentration and distract your attention.

  • A-Frames - also known as windscreen pillars can obstruct your view of the road, especially when approaching a bend or junction. At junctions always be look twice for cyclists and motorcyclists.

  • Headlights - always turn your lights on at dusk, even if the street lights have yet to come on. You use lights so other road users can see you.

  • Over taking - never overtake while approaching a junction, a dip in the road or a brow of a hill.

  • Alcohol and illegal substances (drugs) will affect your ability to drive. Don't drive when under their influence.

  • Medicine - don't drive if you have taken a medicine that has the potential to make your feel tired and groggy. If unsure, consult your doctor.

DSA Theory Test Questions - Alertness Category

1 On a long motorway journey boredom can cause you to feel sleepy. You should (mark TWO answers)Knowledge and Understanding Plan your journey to include suitable rest stops. You should take all possible precautions against feeling sleepy while driving. Any lapse of concentration could have serious consequences.

Leave the motorway and find a safe place to stop Keep looking around at the surrounding landscape Drive faster to complete your journey faster Ensure a supply of fresh air into your vehicle Stop on the hard shoulder for a rest
2 When following a large vehicle you should keep well back because this (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingIf you’re following a large vehicle but are so close to it that you can’t see the exterior mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Keeping well back will also allow you to see the road ahead by looking past either side of the large vehicle.

Allows you to corner more quickly Helps the large vehicle to stop more easily Allows the driver to see you in the mirrors Helps you to keep out of the wind
3 When you see a hazard ahead you should use the mirrors. Why is this? (mark ONE answer)

Knowledge and UnderstandingYou should be constantly scanning the road for clues about what is going to happen next. Check your mirrors regularly, particularly as soon as you spot a hazard. What is happening behind may affect your response to hazards ahead.

Because you will need to accelerate out of danger To access how your actions will affect following traffic Because you will need to brake sharply to stop To check what is happening on the road ahead
4 You are driving on a wet road. You have to stop your vehicle in an emergency. You should (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingAs you drive, look well ahead and all around so that you’re ready for any hazards that might occur. There may be occasions when you have to stop in an emergency. React as soon as you can whilst keeping control of the vehicle.

Apply the handbrake and footbrake together Keep both hand on the wheel Select reverse gear Give an arm signal
5 You cannot see clearly behind when reversing. What should you do? (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingIf you want to turn your car around try to find a place where you have good all-round vision. If this isn’t possible and you’re unable to see clearly, then get someone to guide you.

Open your window to look behind Open the door and look behind Look in the nearside mirror Ask someone to guide you
6 Windscreen pillars can obstruct your view. You should take particular care when (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and Understanding Windscreen pillars can obstruct your view, particularly at bends and junctions. Look out for other road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians, as they can be hard to see.

Driving on a motorway Driving on a dual carriageway Approaching a one-way street Approaching bends and junctions
7 To answer a call on your mobile phone while travelling you should (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and Understanding No phone call is important enough to risk endangering lives. It’s better to switch your phone off completely when driving. If you must be contactable plan your route to include breaks so you can catch up on messages in safety. Always choose a safe and convenient place to take a break, such as a lay-by or service area.

Reduce your speed wherever you are Stop in a proper and convenient place Keep the call time to a minimum Slow down and allow others to overtake
8 Which FOUR are most likely to cause you to lose concentration while you are driving? (mark FOUR answers)Knowledge and UnderstandingIt’s easy to be distracted. Planning your journey before you set off is important. A few sensible precautions are to tune your radio to stations in your area of travel, take planned breaks, and plan your route. Except for emergencies it is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. Even using a hands-free kit can distract your attention.

Using a mobile phone Talking into a microphone Tuning your car radio Looking at a map Checking the mirrors Using the demisters
9 You are waiting to turn right at the end of a road. Your view is obstructed by parked vehicles. What should you do? (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingAt junctions your view is often restricted by buildings, trees or parked cars. You need to be able to see in order to judge a safe gap. Edge forward slowly and keep looking all the time. Don’t cause other road users to change speed or direction as you emerge.

Stop and then move forward slowly and carefully for a proper view Move quickly to where you can see so you only block traffic from one direction Wait for a pedestrian to let you know when it is safe for you to emerge Turn your vehicle around immediately and find another junction to use
10 In which of these situations should you avoid overtaking? (mark ONE answer)

Knowledge and Understanding
Just after a bend In a one-way street On a 30 mph road Approaching a dip in the road
11 You are driving on a motorway and want to use your mobile phone. What should you do? (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingExcept in a genuine emergency you MUST NOT use your mobile phone when driving. If you need to use it leave the motorway and find a safe place to stop. Even a hands-free phone can distract your attention. Use your voicemail to receive calls. Driving requires all of your attention, all of the time.

Try to find a safe place on the hard shoulder Leave the motorway and stop in a safe place Use the next exit and pull up on the slip road Move to the left lane and reduce your speed
12 You must not use a hand-held phone while driving. Using a hands-free system (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingWhile driving your concentration is required all the time. Even using a hands-free kit can still distract your attention from the road. Any distraction, however brief, is potentially dangerous and could cause you to lose control. Except in a genuine emergency, it is an offence to use a hand-held phone while driving.

Is acceptable in a vehicle with power steering Will significantly reduce your field of vision Will affect your vehicle's electronic systems Is still likely to distract your attention from the road
13 Your vehicle is fitted with a navigation system. How should you avoid letting this distract you while driving? (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingVehicle navigation systems can be useful when driving on unfamiliar routes. However they can also distract you and cause you to lose control if you look at or adjust them while driving. Pull up in a convenient and safe place before adjusting them.

Keep going and input your destination into the system Keep going as the system will adjust to your route Stop immediately to view and use the system Stop in a safe place before using the system
14 You lose your way on a busy road. What is the best action to take? (mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingIt’s easy to lose your way in an unfamiliar area. If you need to check a map or ask for directions, first find a safe place to stop.

Stop at traffic lights and ask pedestrians Shout to other drivers to ask them the way Turn into a side road, stop and check a map Check a map, and keep going with the traffic flow
15 You should ONLY use a mobile phone when ( mark ONE answer)Knowledge and UnderstandingIt is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving, except in a genuine emergency. Even using hands-free kit can distract your attention. Park in a safe and convenient place before receiving or making a call or using text messaging. Then you will also be free to take notes or refer to papers.

Receiving a call Suitably parked Driving at less than 30 mph Driving an automatic vehicle

Contains the Theory Test Questions for Car Drivers valid from September 2008 or valid until Autumn 2010. Crown copyright material has been reproduced by permission of the Driving Standards Agency which does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the reproduction.