If you are working on getting a Kenyan driving licence, your final step will be to take and pass the driving test. And although the test is shrouded in mystery on the street, it is very clear in law. As with many things in Kenya and elsewhere, there are both legal and illegal ways to succeed. This article is for those focusing on the former.
The driving test evaluates your knowledge in the following critical areas: rules of the road, road signs and signals, the Highway Code, and physical fitness to drive a motor vehicle.
In addition, you must demonstrate your ability to operate a vehicle safely and competently in actual practice. You should also be aware of the minimum requirements for a vehicle in terms of equipment and operational condition (road worthiness.) For example, vehicles must be equipped with an accurate and operational speedometer, lights, brakes, horn, seat belts and windscreen wipers.
Rules of the road govern interactions between vehicles and with other road users. These include prescriptions on the lawful ways to: share multiple lanes travelling in the same direction, overtake slower vehicles, approach and negotiate junctions and roundabouts (traffic circles), accommodate emergency and law enforcement vehicles and so on. Critical, more or less subjective, driving practices are also important in order to encourage the civil and safe sharing of public roadways. We have covered road signs and signals in previous posts and will cover the other areas in detail subsequently so be sure to return to this blog.
The driving test itself consists of two parts. The theory part comes first and covers all the knowledge described above. You must be able to answer questions designed to test your understanding of this material. In practice this means sitting in front of an examiner who will ask you questions such as how you would handle a particular driving scenario, or the meaning of a particular road sign, or the difference in meaning between particular road signs or markings. Frequently, the scenario questions will involve the “model town”, a table-top depiction of part of a town including multi-lane roadways, parking lots, junctions, roundabouts etc. For example, you might be asked to “drive” a toy car from position A to position B, while the examiner watches your actions and listens to your verbal descriptions in order to evaluate your internalization of the rules of the road, the Highway Code, road markings and road signs.
If you pass the theory part, you proceed immediately to the practical part. If you fail, you can register to take it again in a few weeks. In the practical test, you will drive a test vehicle (with your examiner occupying the front passenger seat) on a nearby roadway so that the testing officer can evaluate your ability to handle the vehicle safely and in compliance with the rules of the road. You may be especially tested on how you handle taking off from a stop (without stalling the vehicle), shifting gears smoothly, approaching a junction, turning left or right at a junction, parking properly along the kerb, reversing onto a side street, use of your rear view mirror, direction signals or indicators and the like. The ultimate way to prepare for this part of the test is to practice driving on public roads, which is best done in a properly authorized and marked vehicle and with a licensed instructor. The more time you spend practicing, the better prepared and more confident you will be on the date of your driving test.
Upon passing this practical test, you qualify to receive your driving license.
Click here to get a feel for some of the test questions you can expect during the theory part of the Kenyan driving tests. In addition to the questions and score, you can find out the correct answers for any questions which you get wrong. Practice makes perfect, so you can retake these quizzes as many times as you want.
- Download our Road Signs of Kenya eBook.
- Test your knowledge with our free online Kenya Driving Quiz.