Monday 14 June 2021




During the Q-Safe driving test, the examiner will give you directions to follow a pre-planned route and then assess your driving performance.  Listed below is the scoring criteria used in the Q-Safe Driving Test.  The number and type of errors basically determines the overall result of the driving test. Driving test errors are divided into three sections; Pre-Drive Check, Vehicle Operation, and Hazard Perception.


Errors in your driving performance are scored as:

Non-critical driving errors (NCDE) – 8 of these small errors and you still pass. This is an error, but you haven’t compromised your or other road user’s safety.

Specific repeated driving error (SRDE) – Woops! 6 errors for certain performance checks, for example 6 signalling errors make one SRDE – this is a fail.

Critical driving error (CDE) – one of these and you fail the driving test.


There are also general critical driving errors which aren't related to the performance checks listed below. Basically, a driving test may be terminated by examiner intervention, collision, dangerous action and disobeying an official direction.


Since 2015, the Q-Safe driving test has placed an emphasis on:

Zero tolerance to speeding.

Appropriate following distances.

Turning safely at intersections.

Appropriate hazard perception skills.

Merging or entering high speed areas.

Note: The following is a summary of the scoring criteria for different driving errors. Some of the criteria have been shortened from the actual official version.

If you have time check these posts:

Information on the performance outcome on each criteria.

Tips on how to pass the Q-Safe driving test.



NCDE – non-critical

SRDE – specific repeated

CDE - critical




Ancillary Controls

Operates any ancillary controls incorrectly or inappropriately.

Wearing a seatbelt that is incorrectly fitted or adjusted.

Fails to start engine (because of incorrect gear selection in automatic vehicle).

Assumes the engine is running when it is not.

Unable to start or engage the gear of the vehicle because of any electronic disabling device.

Attempts to start the engine when it’s already running.

Fails to wear seatbelt when legally required.

Fails to operate any ancillary control which leads to a potentially dangerous situation.

Uses handheld mobile phone when vehicle moving or stationary (but not parked).



Excessively and continuously rides the clutch.

Rests foot on clutch when not being operated for more than 15 seconds.

Releases the clutch too quickly.

Coasts with clutch depressed prior to or during a turn.

Coasts with clutch depressed for a duration of between 3 and 5 seconds.

Fails to use the clutch appropriately to maintain control at slow speeds.

Operate clutch incorrectly.

Repeated clutch coasting (six times)

Operates clutch in a manner which compromises the safe operation of the vehicle.

CDE Note: Includes clutch coasting more than 5 seconds or clutch depressed prior to or during a turn where safety is compromised.



Stalls the vehicle for any reason.

Repeated stalling (six times)

Stalling that causes obstruction to traffic and contributes to a dangerous situation.



Operates in an uncontrolled manner.

Revs engine excessively while clutch disengaged or partially disengaged.

Operates accelerator in manner which compromises safety.



Selects inappropriate gear for situation.

Coasts in neutral for 3 – 5 seconds.

Fails to re-select drive gear during the auto gear change exercise.

Changes gear or attempts to change gear without using clutch.

Repeated errors for gears.

Demonstrates serious lack of knowledge & ability to change gears appropriately for speed control, vehicle control or driving conditions.

Coasts in neutral for duration of more than 5 seconds.



Does not steer a steady course.

Rolls up an angle kerb without mounting it.

Operates or holds the steering wheel incorrectly.

Repeated steering control errors (that is, six errors).

Removes both hands from the steering wheel while the vehicle is in motion.



Causes vehicle to pitch forward because of excessive or erratic brake operation.

Fails to secure the vehicle (handbrake or foot brake) when stationary.

Applies foot brake heavily during a turn. ­

Leaves the handbrake on whilst the vehicle is in motion. ­

Uses left foot for braking.

Unnecessarily brakes abruptly and following vehicles to take evasive action. ­

Rolls on a grade where safety is compromised.


Road Position

Fails to stay within the confines of a lane. ­

Drives with less than one third of the vehicle on the incorrect side of the road.

Road position is inappropriate for the prevailing environmental and traffic conditions.

Fails to keep left, where practicable, on a two-way road.

Unnecessarily drives in the right lane.

Stops or parks illegally.

Overtakes inappropriately.

Unlawfully overtaking on the left of another vehicle. ­

Stops on a level crossing. ­

Stops on crest or curve (outside a built-up area) - less than 100m clear visibility to the rear.

Driving with one third or more of the vehicle unnecessarily on the incorrect side of the road.


Manoeuvre Positions

Reverse parallel park

Finishes 45cm or more from the kerb or more than 2m from the vehicle in front. ­

Moves the vehicle more than 3m between the parked vehicle and the front of the test vehicle.

Three-point turn

Makes more than four direction changes, that is, more than five points to the turn.

Reverse exercise

Moves more than 50cm from the kerb while during the straight reverse manoeuvre.


Unable to turn the vehicle around in one forward movement. ­

Takes inappropriate course on the approach to, and during, U-turn.


Left Turn Position

Approaches turn not as close as practicable to the far left side of the road. ­

After the turn - not near to the left side of the road – (swings wide). ­

Takes inappropriate course turning at an intersection that has a slip lane.

Turns from, or through, an incorrect or non-allocated marked lane.

Takes inappropriate course turning at a multi lane intersection.

Causes other vehicles to take evasive action because of incorrect positioning.

One third or more of the vehicle on the incorrect side of the road when turning.


Right Turn Position

Vehicle is not within the lane or left of and close to the centre of the road.

Fails to turn from the far right side of a one way street. ­

Positions the front wheels to the right while waiting to turn, unless appropriate. ­

Makes a wide turn by driving to the left of the centre of the intersection.

Cuts the corner marginally but not causing a potentially dangerous situation.

Turns from or through an incorrect or non-allocated marked lane, including at roundabouts.

Undertakes a U-turn on a multi-lane roundabout from the left lane.

Takes inappropriate course turning at a multi-lane intersection.

One third or more of the vehicle on the incorrect side of road when turning.




Observation, Scanning and Shoulder Checks

Fails to scan and observe road space ahead (sides, behind, at intersections). ­

Late, rushed or not scanning in the correct direction for potential hazards ­

Does not conduct blind spot check over the shoulder (lane change or divergence).

Fails to scan and observe primarily to the rear while the vehicle is being reversed.

Diverts attention away from the driving task for an inappropriate period of time.

Six or more diverging situations where blind spot, shoulder checks are not conducted.

Fails to scan and observe at an uncontrolled intersection or uncontrolled level crossing.

Fails to scan and observe at an intersection with a control (Give Way or Stop sign). ­

Diverts eyes from the direction of travel and compromises safety. ­

Fails to shoulder check and signal (lane change, divergence, moving off).

Fails to scan and observe at controlled intersection (Give Way or Stop sign) or level crossing. ­

Nil observation to the rear when reversing.



Does not check the rear vision mirrors - slowing, stopping, turns, hazards etc.­

Stares into a mirror - excessive for situation.



Fails to signal intention with sufficient warning when required.

Fails to signal left before exiting from a roundabout. ­

Activates the signal in the wrong direction.

Fails to cancel the signal within five seconds after the turn or divergence has been completed. ­

Cancels the signal prematurely and without subsequent reapplication. ­

Signals unnecessarily, where confusion to other road users may occur.

Repeated non-critical signalling errors (that is six errors).


Hazard Detection

Does not respond appropriately or quickly enough in the event of a traffic hazard.



Does not judge appropriately the speed and distance of other vehicles.

Stops appropriately, but does not proceed when there is a safe gap in traffic.

Stops in a situation where it is clear to proceed.

Gives way unnecessarily to another road user.

Repeated judgement errors (that is, four errors).

Enters a choked intersection and obstructs other vehicles, trains and/or pedestrians. ­

Enters a level crossing and obstructs other vehicles, trains and/or pedestrians. ­

Fails to leave intersection on yellow/red light when waiting to turn right.

Fails to give way to vehicles and other road users.



1. When driving through a break in a dividing strip a driver must give way to vehicles on the part of the road the driver is entering (QRR 84). ­

2. A driver entering a median turning bay must give way to any oncoming vehicle already in the turning bay (QRR 86). ­

3. Drivers must give way when leaving or entering a road-related area (QRR 74 and 75).

4. Drivers must give way to other vehicles when entering a turning lane after driving from a painted island (QRR 85 and 138). ­

5. Drivers must give way to pedestrians on a slip road (QRR 72) ­

6. Drivers must give way to vehicles ahead of them when merging in another line of traffic (QRR 149). ­

7. Drivers must give way to pedestrians on and entering a children’s crossing (QRR 80).

8. Drivers must give way to any pedestrian or cyclist on a marked foot crossing (QRR 65) ­

9. Drivers in shared zones must give way to all pedestrians (QRR 83) ­

10.   Drivers must give way to buses entering the traffic from the side of the road in a built-up area where the speed limit is 70 km/h or less (QRR 77)


Safe Margins

Reduces following distance to less than two seconds but more than one second. ­

Following distance less than four seconds but more than two seconds in adverse conditions. ­

Drives too close to parked vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, traffic without compromising safety. ­

Stops in a line of traffic with insufficient space between the test vehicle and the vehicle in front.

Drives too close to the edge or kerb of the road.

Driving closer than 30cm is reasonable if driving at slow speeds and in confined situations.

Repeated non-critical safety margin errors (that is, four errors).

Follows other traffic with one second or less following distance - tailgating. ­

Fails to maintain a safe distance from vehicles, obstacles, pedestrians etc.

Nearer than 1m when passing cyclists in a 60km/h or less zone or 1.5m above 60km/h. ­


Drives to Conditions

Fails to adjust speed appropriately in response to advisory speed sign. ­

Fails to adjust speed appropriately when merging. ­

Accelerates too rapidly or slowly for the traffic and environmental conditions. ­

Drives too fast, including in reverse, but does not exceed speed limit. ­

Drives too slowly for the situation when not required.

Drives excessively slowly for the situation where conditions do not require it. ­

Increases speed while being overtaken (QRR145). ­

Drives too fast for the situation, (QRR80), and compromises safety, including in reverse.

Drives in excess of the speed limit.


Signs, Signals and Road Markings

Stop with the vehicle protruding marginally over a stop line.

Disobeys a through traffic keep right (or similar) sign. ­

Fails to enter intersection on green light (turning right) and wait for safe gap.

Demonstrates poor knowledge/understanding of traffic signals.

Moves into the intersection behind the first vehicle – (turn right on green signal).

Unnecessarily crosses a continuous line separating the lanes (QRR 147).

Disobeys any regulatory road sign, traffic signal or road marking including:

Standing in a line of traffic over a keep clear road marking.

Driving onto a railway crossing while the red lights are still flashing.

Drives unnecessarily to the right of two continuous parallel dividing lines (QRR 139).

Disobeys a stop sign, including:

Driving through a stop sign at any speed

Not stopping the vehicle at the stop line.

Stopping with the vehicle over the stop line or intersection to the extent that it could cause a potentially dangerous situation.



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