K53 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.


What the test covers

The K53 test measures a driver’s ability in the following main areas:

  • the safe and competent handling of the vehicle
  • obedience to traffic rules, road signs, traffic signals and surface markings
  • correct application of the K53 defensive driving system through all aspects of the test
  • coping with traffic problems in practical driving situations


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

(For motorcycles, click here)

  • 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)
    • stopping and moving off on an incline, without allowing the vehicle to roll backwards
    • left turn (light vehicles if towing a trailer, and heavy vehicles)
    • reversing in a straight line (light vehicles if towing a trailer, and heavy vehicles)
  • A road testconducted on public roads carrying traffic, including the following situations where available:
    • obeying traffic signals
    • changing lanes
    • overtaking other vehicles
    • speed control
    • turning left and right at intersections
    • proceeding through an intersection
    • uncontrolled intersections
    • obeying Yield signs and traffic lights
    • stopping in traffic
    • stopping at a Stop sign
    • a traffic circle
    • a railway level crossing
    • a pedestrian crossing
    • entering a freeway
    • leaving a freeway
    • passing a freeway off-ramp and an on-ramp
    • overtaking on a freeway
    • an emergency stop

Recommended K53 test preparation material

Choose the format you prefer:

These materials set out in detail all you need to know for both the learner’s licence test and the K53 driving licence test, covering heavy and light motor vehicles as well as motorcycles.


Related pages

The K53 Driving Licence
Licence Codes
The K53 Driving Licence Test
K53 Driving Test Scoring Method
K53 Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection
K53 Road Test
K53 Motorcycle Riding Skills Test
Which K53 Manual To Use For Preparation?
CD – Topscore K53 Learner’s and Driver’s Licence Test Success