Could you still pass the theory test in 2023?

8 minute read

L plate on the back of a blue car

For many years, learner drivers were asked questions based on the Highway Code as part of their practical test, but this changed in 1996 when a separate driving theory test was introduced. Nearly 30 years later, the Highway Code has been updated several times, most recently in January 2022, and is required reading for learner drivers.

1 in 5 drivers over the age of 50 admit that they have not revisited the Highway Code since passing their test, so it's safe to assume that many of us might struggle to pass the theory test if we were to take it now.

We conducted a survey that asked some of the country's most experienced drivers when they last read the Highway Code, and if they could correctly answer possible theory test questions around the updated guidance. We discovered that, based on their knowledge of the Highway Code, Bristol drivers are the best in the country, whereas Southampton motorists could benefit from a refresher course.

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We also found that Bristol is one of the safest cities to drive in, as there was a below-average number of car accidents recorded per 100,000 population (Source: Perhaps it's unsurprising that the safest city is home to the most knowledgeable drivers. Understanding road safety rules and regulations help keep our roads safe, so it's important to refresh your knowledge regularly to stay up to date with the latest changes.

Could you pass the theory test now? Take our true or false quiz to find out.




1. When overtaking a cyclist, you must ensure there is at least 0.5m between your car and the cyclist?

(Answer below the image)

Cyclist with helmet on London road

Answer: False. You must leave at least 1.5m when passing bicycles. Only 20% of drivers answered correctly.


2. You must always stop for pedestrians at a Zebra crossing?

(Answer below the image)

Family crossing road on zebra crossing

Answer: True. You are legally required to stop at a zebra crossing once a pedestrian has moved to the crossing. 90% of drivers got this right.


3. There is an additional test for those wishing to tow a trailer or caravan?

(Answer below the image)

Car towing trailer

Answer: False. Car and trailer driving tests were scrapped in September 2021. All drivers who obtained their license from 1 January 1997, are now allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM. Any weight above this will still require an additional test. 90% of respondents were unaware of this change.


4. Children under 12 or shorter than 1.35m must use a child safety seat?

(Answer below the image)

Child being strapped into car seat

Answer: True. It is against the law for children under 12 or shorter than 1.35m to travel without a car seat or booster, unless in special circumstances as outlined in the Highway Code. The majority of drivers (76%) answered this correctly.


5. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure all passengers under the age of 14 are wearing seat belts?

(Answer below the image)

Person buckling car seatbelt

Answer: True. 84% of drivers remembered that it is their responsibility to make sure anyone under the age of 14 is wearing a seat belt.


6. You should sound your horn to let other drivers know they are in the wrong?

(Answer below the image)

Hands at a car steering wheel pressing horn

Answer: False. You should only sound your horn to warn of a danger, and never to indicate your annoyance. 86% of drivers know this.


7. You should flash your headlights to let other drivers know you are letting them go at a junction?

(Answer below the image)

Close up of lit car headlights in the dark

Answer: False. 13% of drivers think this is acceptable, however, the Highway Code states that you should only flash your headlights to let other road users know you are there.


8. You can receive a fine if you don't use the 'Dutch Reach' method of opening vehicle doors?

(Answer below the image)

Woman opening car door as cyclist approaches from behind

Answer: False. While you can't receive a fine for not using the 'Dutch Reach' method, the updated Highway Code encourages drivers to open vehicle doors with their opposite hand to avoid injuries to passing cyclists. Almost half of the respondents said that they weren't sure about this one, so make sure to read up on the 'Dutch Reach' if you have any doubts.


9. It is mandatory to display a warning sign when charging an electric vehicle?

(Answer below the image)

Close up of charger in an electric car

Answer: False. The new guidance suggests that drivers should display a warning sign when charging their electric vehicles, to warn pedestrians of trip hazards. However, it is not mandatory. 58% of drivers said that they did not know the answer, again reiterating that a lot of us need to brush up on our Highway Code knowledge.


10. You should give way to pedestrians attempting to cross the road at junctions?

(Answer below the image)

Road junction on residential street

Answer: True. From January 2022, pedestrians waiting to cross at junctions should be given priority. 81% of respondents answered correctly.

Now that you've put your skills to the test, are you a whiz when it comes to road safety knowledge, or is it time for a refresher course? Share this quiz on social media to find out how you friends and family shape up in comparison.

Plus, learn more about Age Co's Over 50s Car Insurance so you'll always be covered whilst on the road.


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