Everything You Need To Know About The K53 Driving Test

The K53 test – for the South African driver’s licence

K53 Test is the term given to the practical driving licence test in South Africa. It is a more stringent test than the previous tests, with less penalty points being permitted and very specific defensive driving techniques that form an integral part of the test.

It is therefore essential that a learner driver takes lessons with a suitably qualified driving instructor before taking the official test. It is no longer a case of asking a family member or friend to give you a few driving lessons before going for your test. With the K53 test there is now a lot to know and remember to do correctly.

Some points to remember

You are not allowed to do the K53 test in a light motor vehicle that is less than 3 metres in length.
During the test, smoking and the use of cellular phones are not allowed.hat the tests covers.
You can take the test in either a manual or an automatic vehicle. However, when you pass the test using an automatic vehicle, your driving licence will be restricted for use with an automatic vehicle only, and you will not be allowed to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission (i.e. where you must use a gear lever to change gears). Therefore, it is best to learn to drive, and to do the K53 test, with a manual transmission vehicle because that will authorise you to drive both manual and automatic transmission vehicles of that vehicle class.

What you will be tested on

Light and heavy motor vehicles

  • A pre-trip inspection of the vehicle’s roadworthiness.
  • A yard testof your basic manoeuvring skills, away from traffic, which consists of
    • starting the engine
    • moving off
    • a three-pint turn – i.e. turning around in the road to drive back in the opposite direction (light vehicles only)
    • alley docking: reversing into an alley, and driving out again
    • parallel parking – i.e. parking parallel to the kerb (light vehicles only)


The road test will take at least 20 minutes, and continue up to a maximum of 45 minutes. If for any reason beyond your control the duration of the test is more than 45 minutes, no more penalty points will be recorded. However, all errors that normally lead to immediate failure will be recorded (violation of traffic law, uncontrolled/dangerous action, and collision/mechanical failure).

The stopwatch will be stopped when you have stopped the vehicle after completing the pre-established test route. However, test scoring will continue until you have closed your door from the outside.

Pass requirements

You will be allowed a maximum average of 8 penalty points per minute of the test. So, if the test took 30 minutes, you will be allowed a maximum of 240 penalty points. Once the examiner has given you the necessary instructions, the stopwatch will be started.

You will fail the road test if you:

  • have exceeded the permissible maximum penalty points allowed; or
  • failed on one of the ‘immediate failure’ items.

The Road Test

**Remember, the K53 test starts with the yard and then moves onto the road test. For more information, visit K53Tests.co.za

The K53 road test will commence only after you have passed the yard test. You will be given the instructions for the road test before you start the engine to move off.

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