All You Need To Know About The K53 Yard Test And More

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K53 Yard Test

Let Our Knowledge Of The K53 Yard Test Guide You

The K53 yard test is one of many aspects which will be addressed during the driving test, the problem is that we are only human and attempting to remember all the requirements for the test is nearly impossible, yet we try to anyway.

In our experience, we have found that repetition is one of the best ways to learn, not only repetition in practising driving manoeuvres but also in the repetition of what can inevitably cause our students to fail.

Remembering to avoid something you are aware of is better than doing something which you did not know about.

The Aim Of The Test

The practical driving test has been designed to determine the ability of a prospective light or heavy motor vehicle driver.

Various aspects of a driver’s ability are tested in the K53 yard test and driving test along with a driver’s proficiency.

The Abilities Tested During Your Test

  • Handling the motor vehicle.
  • Understanding of road signs.
  • Following of traffic rules.
  • Knowledge of traffic signals and surface markings.
  • K53 defensive driving system application.
  • Handling situations which arise in practical driving situations.

Bad driving habits which are implemented on a daily basis such as checking social media at stop lights, answering messages or smoking of any sort is not acceptable in normal driving situations or while you are busy with your driving test.

The abilities tested are essential skills which we need to not only pass but to use on a daily basis.

The test has been created to ensure that we have the ability to control a vehicle while adhering to the traffic rules, signs and marking which have been put in place to keep every road user safe.

How Will Your Performance Be Evaluated

With everything in life we are appointed scores whether it be in a written or verbal examination, performance appraisal and yes even a driving test.

The evaluation of a driving test consists of two sections namely the time constraints regarding the completion of sections and a number of penalty points which you can lose.

We have a detailed infographic for you to help you get prepared and pass your drivers licence the first time.

Time Limitations

In total, you have 1 hour and five minutes to complete your driver’s test, in other words, it is a total of 65 minutes. These 65 minutes are divided into 20 minutes for the yard test and 20 to 45 minutes for the road test.

The instructor will use a stopwatch to record the time you take to complete the various sections during the test. The stopwatch will be paused during intervals after the completion of a certain action.

Instances When The Stopwatch Is Paused

  • During the time in which you receive instructions for your pre-trip inspection.
  • Each manoeuvre completed and commenced.
  • Whilst receiving instructions for the road test.

The stopwatch is to ensure that each driver attempting their licence receives a fair chance to complete their test.

The instructors understand that when they are giving you instruction, while you are doing your inspection and during the times you are moving between parking stations in the yard.

That time can be wasted as some people are nervous talkers or there might be too many vehicles in the yard attempting the same manoeuvres.

How Will They Keep Score

The examiner will have a score sheet containing your information on which he / she will evaluate your performance. Your goal is to score as little as possible penalty points.

Aside from penalty points which have been specifically allocated to the execution of manoeuvres and road situations, the evaluation will take place to identify the errors you make where after penalty points will be allocated.

Indiscretions Which Will Award You Penalty Points

  • 1 Point for not showing courtesy to other road users.
  • 5 Points for not checking the mirrors every 5 to 8 seconds.
  • 1 Point for looking in the mirror too long.

You have sufficient time to complete the test and still make it back to binge watch your favourite series, because let’s be honest you put in a whole day leave for a test that will not even take you an hour to complete.

So do not lose points for checking your make-up in the rear-view mirror or not checking your mirrors at all and always remember a friendly driver is a safe driver so use it to your advantage.

The Content Of The Test

The driving test tests more than your abilities as a driver, they want to make sure that you can actually drive.

The driving test consists of three sections; these three sections consist of further requirements which you need to be able to perform in order to pass your test:

Pre-Trip Inspection

The pre-trip inspection of a motor vehicle determines the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

You will be required to have an understanding of the tire thread requirements, whether the indicators are in working order along with the water, oil and fan belt’s working conditions, further, it is required to check that there are no obstacles underneath the vehicle.

This is an easy section in the test, use this as a section to gain marks rather than loose them.

Driving Test Instructions

  • You have 20 minutes (stopwatch time) to complete both the yard manoeuvres and the pre-trip inspection.
  • You are permitted to stop the vehicle at any point during the manoeuvres.
  • It is expected that you complete the K53 observation procedures whilst giving the correct signal, in the same manner, you would whilst driving on public roads.
  • Wearing a seatbelt during the yard section is not compulsory.
  • In the event where your test is terminated at any point, you will be required to redo it at a later stage.
  • The road rules, road markings, signs along with the road markings need to be obeyed at all times during the test.
  • Collision with an obstacle or mounting a kerb during any manoeuvres whether in the yard or on the road, it is grounds for immediate failure and the test will be ceased.
  • You will not be allowed to drive uncontrolled or dangerously.
  • During the yard test manoeuvres, the push-and-pull steering method is not required.
  • You are allowed to ask the examiner any question regarding the above-mentioned points.

The driving instructor will inform you of all the instructions prior to the commencement of your inspection.

You do not have to worry about the time of your test as the instructor will be keeping a record of the time which passes for each section in the same manner as he will be evaluating your skills as a driver inside the yard and on the road.

It is essential to remember that this stays a test no matter where you are, you always have to apply the K53 defensive driving techniques.

K53 Yard Test

This section will be completed in the testing yard at the traffic department where you will have to implement your driving skills to park and turn the vehicle without connecting the obstructions in the road.

You will be guided to the starting point for the first required manoeuvre (remember that all the rules count even if it is just to move the vehicle’s position inside the yard) You will receive instructions to apply the parking brake, and shift the vehicle into neutral, cancelling the indicators if applicable.

The instructor will explain the requirements of the manoeuvre to you while you are stationary enabling you to pull off with clear instructions of what is expected of you.

You have two attempts for the yard manoeuvres, mistakes in both attempts will be recorded for entering and leaving the manoeuvre area.

Abilities Tested During The Yard Test

  • Switching on the ignition.
  • Pulling off from a standing position.
  • The implementation of a three point turn to turn around in the road.
  • Parking the vehicle in an alley and driving out through alley docking.
  • Parking the vehicle parallel with the street using parallel parking techniques.
  • Stopping and pulling off with the vehicle on an incline without rolling backwards.
  • With a light motor vehicle towing a trailer or a heavy vehicle you will have to attempt to turn left.
  • With a light motor vehicle towing a trailer or a heavy vehicle you will have to reverse in a straight line.

The abilities tested in the yard is basically to ensure that you know the basic function of a vehicle, the driving part is easy it is the ability to park, turn and frankly to get the car moving without causing an accident which is the hard part.


With the successful completion of the pre-trip inspection and the K53 yard test, you will be instructed to the public roads which will carry the usual traffic which one can expect on the roads on a daily basis.

Instructions regarding the road section of the test will be communicated to you while you are still stationary in the yard.

It is important that the instruction process is the first step to drawing your attention to situations which you might incur during the test such as obeying rules and signs.

Situations Which Will Be Evaluated

  • Obeying traffic signals.
  • Pulling off without rolling backwards.
  • Overtaking other vehicles whilst keeping to the right.
  • Controlling your speed as required on the roads which you drive, ie. suburban, metropolitan, provincial.
  • Changing direction by turning left or right at intersections.
  • Proceeding through intersections.
  • Reaction to situations at uncontrolled intersections.
  • Adhering to yield signs and traffic lights.
  • Completely stopping at road signs and not rolling over them.
  • The correct use of a traffic circle.
  • The procedure to cross a railway level.
  • Maintaining the correct speed and right of way at a pedestrian crossing.
  • Entering and leaving the freeway.
  • The considerations for passing a freeway off-ramp and on-ramp.
  • The process to overtake another vehicle on the highway.
  • Implementing the emergency stop.

You will be evaluated on your ability to implement safe driving techniques, pulling off without rolling backwards to avoid a collision with the vehicle behind you.

Speed control whilst somebody is overtaking you or while you are overtaking another driver is important to avoid accidently attempting to switch lanes where a driver is present.

The aim of the test is to ensure that you have what it takes to be a safe driver.

What Can Cause You To Immediately Fail The Test

The time allocated for the completion of the last section of the test is between 20 to 45 minutes, if events occur beyond the driver or the instructor’s control resulting in the test exceeding 45 minutes, no further penalty points will be recorded.

Do not be fooled by the last part of the sentence, no penalty points will be recorded but errors which will result in immediate failure can still be taken into consideration after 45 minutes have been exceeded.

Causes Of Immediate Failure

  • Exceeding the allowed maximum penalty points.
  • Failure due to immediate failure items.

It is important to be aware that you will be awarded penalty points, it is equally as important to remember that certain actions during the test will result in an immediate fail.

Immediate Failure Situations

  • Using a motor vehicle which is not roadworthy or which does not have a license.
  • The use of a motor vehicle with a mechanical failure.
  • Violation of traffic laws, road signs, signals or road markings.
  • Actioning of uncontrolled or dangerous manoeuvres.
  • Causing a collision with obstacles, mounting the kerb of the road or touching a boundary line.
  • Failure to complete a manoeuvre in the allowed number of attempts.
  • Failure to control the vehicle by allowing it to roll forward or backwards.
  • Inability to demonstrate a hand signal correctly on instruction.
  • Exceeds the allotted time of 20 minutes for the yard test.
  • Penalisation of more than 50 penalty points for the yard test.
  • Exceeding the allowed 8 penalty points per minute.

Immediate failure situations is a testing centres way of telling you that you need to freshen up on your road rules, take a few additional driving lessons or maybe have your vehicle checked out. These are situations which can save your life if avoided.

We Have The Best Driving Schools In South Africa

With our instructors conveniently located near you, you will have easily accessible, professional tuition ensuring that you adhere to all the requirements of the K53 yard test through to the road test to pass the first time.

We are the only people who can tell you more about who we are, what we do and how to start taking lessons, so spare a few minutes, give us a call and let us get you on the road.

Make sure you read our driving school website design tips. Make sure you read our article on how to get cheap car insurance.

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K53 Yard Test

Thomas Hall
DrivingSchoolsNearMe Founder

Thomas is an advanced driver and driving instructor who teaches new candidates, along with advanced driver’s, the skills to enhance their driving competence and make them the best driver’s to their ability.