Theory Test Topics Explained: Attitude

Theory Test Topics Explained: Attitude

Greetings, PassMeFast readers! As promised, we’re back with our next instalment in our Theory Test Topics Explained series. This month, we’re moving onto the second topic out of the fourteen used in the DVSA’s multiple-choice question bank. That’s right, we’re looking at the attitude topic! Get the full breakdown, example questions, plus handy revision resources below!

Table of contents: 

Theory Test Topic: Attitude

What is attitude featured image

The second topic from the theory test is attitude. As you can probably guess, this topic relates to a driver’s attitude towards other road users, the rules of the road and their own driving in general. It also covers how drivers should react to things that occur on the road. It’s important that all drivers display a measure of patience, control and awareness when taking to the road, avoiding reckless and careless behaviour that can endanger themselves and other road users.

Yes, yes, we know. This is pretty vague, right? You’re in luck! We’ve broken down the theory test topic attitude into bite-sized chunks to help you get your head around what you need to know for the theory test.

✓ Give priority when necessary

Priority on the road is fairly straightforward. For the most part, you’ll be able to figure out who has it by spotting nearby road signs. Now, some drivers might not be as observant as you. If you know you have priority on the road ahead, you should continue on but be ready to stop, just in case an oncoming driver is confused and assumes they have priority instead.

Notice that we said priority is fairly straightforward. There are a few situations with distinct priority rules…

Unmarked crossroads

As you’ve probably figured out by the name, unmarked crossroads don’t have any signs that point out who has priority. This means that it’s essentially a free-for-all situation. Drivers coming from any direction could decide to go at any time. As such, it’s your responsibility to be sensible—only continue on through the junction once you’ve checked to make sure it’s clear and safe to do so.

Emergency vehicles

People’s lives depend on emergency vehicles being able to move through traffic quickly. If you see one of these vehicles, you need to move out of the way safely. Ambulance, police and fire services use blue lights (as do bomb disposal, blood transfusion, HM coastguard and mountain rescue services). You might also see a doctor’s vehicle with green flashing lights. If you’re not sure how to respond in these types of situations, head on over to our guide on dealing with emergency vehicles safely.


If you spot a bus ahead of you signalling to pull out at a bus stop, you should (if it’s safe to do so), slow down or stop to give them priority. You should also pay close attention to bus lanes and their times of operation—you are allowed to use them outside of their times of operation which are displayed on road signs.

✓ Be considerate

When you’re driving, it can often feel like you’re the only one on the road. Unfortunately, that’s simply not the case. You’re sharing the open road with other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. As such, it’s vital that you treat them with respect and patience, in order to avoid potential accidents.


Everyone has different skillsets and experiences on the road. Whilst you might be an excellent driver, you could end up next to someone who’s slightly nervous. Giving into road rage when they forget to signal or drive too slowly, however, can make them feel extremely intimidated. Instead, try to be more considerate. Remember that they might not have had their driving licence as long as you, or might have taken a long break from driving altogether. Just take a deep breath and react as safely to the situation as you can.

Similarly, if you end up driving next to an impatient person looking to overtake you, or race you, don’t get in their way. Simply follow your defensive driving techniques, let them pass you and continue on your way. Competitive driving, and driving in anger, will only create unsafe situations.


It’s not exactly a secret that many drivers dislike cyclists. Unfortunately for them, however, cyclists have the same right to be on the road as them. And, unlike you, they’re in a completely vulnerable state on the road. If they end up in an accident, they don’t have the protection that a car can offer. As such, you should give them plenty of space when you drive past them. If they cross in front of you, don’t try to intimidate them by driving too closely or by beeping at them.

You should also be aware that cyclists’ speed will vary. You might pass a cyclist by only for them to eventually overtake you. As such, you’ll want to keep glancing into your mirrors to make sure you don’t veer into them accidentally.


Though most people have the sense not to cross into the road all of a sudden, there are some pedestrians who will do so. As such, you need to keep your eyes peeled and be ready to stop if necessary. As frustrating as it can be, don’t beep at people if they cross when they’re not supposed to—just breathe in and out, and let it go.

You will need to be extra alert when you come across the different types of pedestrian crossings out there:

  • Zebra crossings: give way to pedestrians on the crossing and keep your eyes peeled for anyone approaching
  • Puffin and pelican crossings: pay attention to the traffic lights and watch out for pedestrians who try to cross before the green man shows up. Also, be considerate of pedestrians who aren’t able to cross quickly enough.
  • Toucan crossings: make sure you stop before the white line to give cyclists and pedestrians enough room to cross. (On your test, you could fail for stopping after the stop line.) Keep your eyes peeled for any cyclists attempting to cross at the last second.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to gesture (either with your hands, headlights or horn) to pedestrians to cross. Though you might think it’s safe to do so, there might be another vehicle approaching.

✓ Make your intentions clear

The roads can be an extremely unpredictable place. There are potential hazards everywhere, which means drivers need to be on their guard all of the time. You can make it easier for other drivers (and road users), however, by making your intentions as clear as possible.

The main way to do this is by making sure that you position yourself on the road and use your indicators in good time. If you intend to turn right, for example, you should start to position yourself to the right-hand side of the lane and use your indicators early on. You do not want to leave it until the last possible second. If you do, the road users behind you might end up colliding with you because they’re not expecting you to stop.

✓ Use your horn and lights carefully

Your car horn and lights are handy tools that can be used to aid you on the road. It’s important, however, that you know when you should and shouldn’t use them. As you’d probably expect, you should never use your headlights or horn to signal your anger towards another road user. In fact, you’ll only ever need to use your car horn to warn other drivers of your presence (read more about this here).

Your headlights should only be used when driving in dark conditions, or if your visibility is severely reduced during the day. (Typically, poor visibility is when you can’t see more than 100 metres ahead of you.) You’ll need to use your dipped headlights when following other vehicles or meeting oncoming traffic, in order to avoid dazzling them. Though some drivers often flash their lights to thank other drivers, or to tell them to go, you should avoid doing so. This type of action can often lead to confusing and, potentially, dangerous situations.

If you’re stuck in a long line of traffic at night, you’ll need to be considerate of the drivers behind you. Using your brakes will activate your brake lights at the back, which could end up dazzling the road users behind you. In this situation, you’ll want to opt for using the handbrake instead.

✓ Avoid tailgating

No matter how much of a rush you might be in, you should never resort to driving too closely to the vehicle in front – otherwise known as tailgating. This is dangerous for a number of reasons. For starters, if the driver in front of you slows down suddenly, you’ll likely end up crashing into them—or, swerving to avoid them, thus resulting in another potential crash. Additionally, tailgating can be extremely intimidating for the driver in front, which can in turn, lead to them panicking and doing something dangerous.

To avoid this kind of situation arising, you need to keep at least 2 seconds behind the vehicle in front. This will need to double to 4 seconds if you’re driving in wet conditions. You can read more about this on our guide to tailgating.

If you end up being an unfortunate victim of tailgating, it’s important that you don’t give in to anger or panic—this will only make things worse. Instead, try to slow down gently and let the other vehicle overtake you as soon as possible.

✓ Be careful with animals

It’s not just motorists, cyclists and pedestrians that you need to be aware and considerate of when on the road. You might also end up sharing the road with animals at some point. Unfortunately, unlike other road users, they tend to be far more unpredictable—which means that you need to be even more careful.

If you spot an animal on the road, you need to slow things down. Give them plenty of room and be prepared to stop if necessary. You do not want to beep at them, or flash your lights. When driving on rural roads in particular, you need to be aware that animals may find their way onto the road at any point. As long as you keep your eyes peeled, and are ready to slow down when necessary, you should be fine. In the event that you encounter a large number of animals on the road, e.g., a herd of sheep, you should stop and switch off your engine until they’ve passed you by.


Feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of this information? Don’t worry. We’ve created a simple summary of the rules you need to know about the theory test topic attitude below!

Theory test attitude rules

Example questions featured image

Multiple-choice questions

If you haven’t yet swotted up on the format of the theory test, we’ll give you a quick rundown. The multiple-choice section consists of 50 questions in total. In order to pass this section, you need to get at least 43 right. These questions will vary in topic—as it’s completely random, there’s no way of knowing how many of them will relate specifically to the attitude topic. That’s why it’s vital that you revise the topic thoroughly!

To help you along the way, we’ve put together an attitude quiz that contains questions from the DVSA’s question bank. Enjoy!

All in all, when it comes to the attitude topic, the answers are more or less common sense. It’s all about picking the safe and considerate option. If you’re ever unsure of yourself, flag the question and come back to it at the end.

Let us know how many questions you got right in the comment section below!

Case studies

Whilst written case studies are no longer part of the multiple-choice section (as a result of the latest batch of theory test changes), learners are still required to watch a video scenario and answer three questions. This video is simply a case study brought to life in front of you.

In order to make sure that you’re ready for this video, and that you fully understand how the attitude topic can apply to real-life situations, we’ve put together five written case studies for you to try your hand at! All you’ve got to do is carefully read the situation that a driver is in and then decide what their next moves should be.

Though you’ll be facing a single video case study in your theory test, you’ll be using the same set of skills you used for the above written case studies. All you have to do is watch the scenario carefully, apply your attitude knowledge and pick the safest option. Easy as pie!

Be sure to let us know how many questions you got right in the comment section below!

How to revise attitude

Two stacks of books, one taller than the other, each with a car on top, floating in clouds

The trick to passing the multiple-choice section of the theory test is to fully understand all of the topics involved. Now that you know what’s involved in the attitude topic, it’s time for you to put your newfound knowledge to the test. You can do this by pitting your wits against online quizzes and mock tests. We’ve compiled the best of them over in our ultimate theory test revision resources guide.

If you’re looking to concentrate solely on the theory test topic attitude for the time being, here are some handy tests to get you started:

It’s not enough to just take a few tests here and there. You need to commit to a solid revision plan and put in the work in order to pass your theory test first time. We’d recommend downloading one of the theory test revision apps mentioned in our theory test guide. These apps offer quizzes, thorough explanations and mock tests that will allow you to build up your knowledge until you’re raring to go for your theory test!

Looking for more? Check out our other theory test topic breakdown instalments:

By Bethany Hall

Whether you’re a learner or a pro driver, Bethany is here to help. From defensive driving to the Highway Code, she’ll tell you everything you need know about driving. If she’s not on the road, you’ll probably find Bethany with her head in a book or binge-watching the latest TV show.

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