Driving tests around the world: Would you pass?

The UK driving test isn’t exactly easy by any stretch of the imagination, with most young people ranking their driving test along with GCSEs and A-levels in terms of the fear factor.

In fact, it seems as though learner drivers dread their test so much that they’re even willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid it. Just yesterday, news broke than nearly 700 learners in the UK hired illegal doppelgängers to take their tests for them, for prices of up to £1,800!

But if you thought that Britain is the worst country in the world for the driving test, think again. Some countries in Europe and beyond have tests that are much more difficult than here, while some barely count as tests at all.

Stranger still are some of the rules, regulations and all-round weird criteria that some drivers are required to follow in order to pass. If you’re a learner driver who has yet to pass your test, maybe some of these will boost your confidence. Or then again, maybe some won’t!


In Bhutan, drivers applying for a licence must first provide a passport-sized photograph of them wearing full national dress before they’re allowed to continue. Strange…

Burkina Faso

It’s heavily rumoured that nobody passes their driving tests in the West African country of Burkina Faso. Not before they quietly slip their driving instructor a £30 bribe, at least.


Up until 2013, learner drivers in China were given some pretty questionable advice while on their lessons.

Among other things, they were instructed that when a head-on collision with another car was unavoidable, they should let go of their steering wheels and assume the foetal position in their seat. We’re not sure about that one, personally…

Costa Rica

Costa Ricans place heavy emphasis on driving from an early age, and children are able to take the theory part of the driving test from as early as 13 years old.

The government there is also set to introduce driver training to the country’s national curriculum, something which has been suggested for here as well.


To cope with the wintry conditions, driver training in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries is notoriously rigorous. Compulsory training includes advanced lessons on how to skid correctly, plus at least seven hours of first-aid training. That’s why Scandinavians make such good rally drivers!

Dominican Republic

While the Dominican Republic does have an official driving test, figures show that it’s rarely taken at all. In fact, it was named the most dangerous country for drivers back in 2013. Ooh-er.


Until only very recently, the Egyptian driving test consisted of driving six metres forwards and then six metres backwards. Now, things have gotten only a smidgeon more difficult; drivers must answer ten questions and drive around an S-shaped track.


One of the questions on the Honduran theory test is: “What would you do if you ran a person over?” Allegedly, the answers include “Cover him with leaves”, “Drink an eight of rum” and “Leave him there”. Alongside the correct answer, we presume.


It mightn’t be much use for safety training, but the Kenyan test sure sounds fun; applicants are asked to push toy cars around a specially-constructed table and the test apparently lasts less than a minute.

North Korea

In order to attain the highest-level of a driving licence in the notoriously secretive state of North Korea, drivers must be able to prove that they can build their own cars. We can make some with LEGO, does that count?


As if the test here wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, Libyan learner drivers are required to take their tests with the examiner, a police officer and all the other candidates squashed in the back seat.


Until 2002, women in Lichtenstein were bizarrely required to have a full gynaecological exam, and that’s before they could even apply for a driving licence!

The Netherlands

The driving test can be especially nerve-wracking for anxious drivers. Luckily, learners in the Netherlands can request a faalangstexamen, a test with an examiner who has been trained specifically to deal with nervous drivers. We like this rule!


Like Denmark, Norway features a notoriously tough driving test. Before even getting their first lesson, drivers are required to attend a theory class. This covers topics like basic traffic law, first aid and how to communicate effectively with emergency services in the event of an accident.


Despite being one of the worst countries in the world for strange traffic happenings, Russian authorities are extremely picky about who they let learn to drive.

Among those banned from driving altogether include gamblers, addicts and recently transsexual and transgender people as well.

Saint Lucia

Bad news if you live on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia and want to pass your test quickly; the country has a long backlog of tests booked thanks to the fact that there’s only three driving instructors on the entire island!

Sierra Leone

Like Kenya, it seems as though government in Sierra Leone have taken a more novel approach to getting road users to learn the rules of the road. Instead of consulting the Highway Code, drivers are required by law to buy and play a board game based on the country’s traffic laws.

South Africa

South African learner drivers can fail their tests without even setting off. As part of the test criteria, candidates who fail to check under their cars for oil leaks will instantly fail, alongside those who make a noise with the handbrake. Ouch.


Find it hard to hold all that information about stopping distances, traffic signs and right of way in your head? Just be thankful you don’t live in Spain, where the Highway Code is three times the length of the one here in Britain. In fact, it’s the most detailed in Europe!


Swedish drivers must learn the same advanced anti-skid techniques as those in Denmark and Norway, along with extensive night-time driving lessons. Those who pass in the summer will return to complete a second test in the winter as part of the night-time course.


Recently, Thai authorities expanded the minimum compulsory length of driver training from just four hours to twelve. However, all of the lessons and the test itself take place within a closed-off private compound, and not on the roads.


According to anecdotal evidence and local stories, the Turkish driving test lasts as little as two minutes, while some licence holders don’t even know how to use a handbrake correctly!

You know, having looked through all of those, suddenly the British version of the driving test doesn’t look so bad after all. But then again, from the state of some drivers’ behaviour4, we wouldn’t be surprised if they’d received their licence in some of these countries!

If you’re a learner looking for your first car, or even just someone browsing the market, why not take a look at Perrys full range of new and used cars?

We offer highly competitive prices, along with zero per cent finance for up to five years! For more information, get in touch with your local Perrys dealership today.