Advice on What To Do If Someone Flashes You on the Driving Test

When you’re on your driving test, the last thing you want is an unexpected situation to occur. Unfortunately, these situations have a habit of occurring specifically during a driving test.

When we are flashed by a driver to proceed, we often have a compulsive urge to act quickly so not to inconvenience them. However, it’s important to first think and observe before making any decisions. If a driver does flash you on the driving test, use the following advice:

  • Never act impulsively
  • Never assume that the driver who flashes has checked that it’s safe for you to proceed
  • Always observe your surroundings before proceeding
  • Try to gain eye contact with the driver before making a decision
  • If you cant see that it’s safe to go, it’s not safe to go
  • If the situation is too hazardous, wait for a safer opportunity
  • Never be hasty and proceed slowly whilst constantly checking around for hazards
  • Communicate with the examiner to let them know you’re in control

Let’s take a look at some common scenarios where drivers often flash other drivers and consider the appropriate action to take.

Waiting to Turn Right into a Side Road

In this scenario, you’re waiting to turn right from a major road into a minor side road. The traffic lane that you need to cross is congested and a driver flashes you to proceed. For many driver, this situation occurs frequently.

Learner driver on test, driver flashes them to let them go
Driver flashes right-turning car to proceed

Due to this situation occurring frequently on the roads, it’s therefore quite likely to occur on a driving test. The driver that’s flashing you on is just being courteous and on a driving test, you should take them up on their offer.

However, never act impulsively and remember that the driver probably hasn’t checked that it’s safe for you to go. Always take the time to observe your surroundings prior to moving. As we can see from the diagram above, a cyclist is advancing down the road and a pedestrian is crossing the road. It would be easy to miss hazards if you moved without thinking or observing.

Being Flashed Whilst Emerging from a T-junction

This is another common scenario that many drivers encounter on the roads. Waiting to emerge from a T-junction into a busy road and a driver flashes you to move off.

Diagram of a learner driver being flashed to proceed out of a T-junction
Being flashed to proceed out of a T-junction

If you happen to be turning left out of the T-junction, there’s not too many hazards to worry about, but when turning right, your observation may be obscured by other vehicles. In this situation, you’re going to need to cross the first lane in order to enter the faster moving lane.

Proceed slowly and with extreme caution and never assume that the driver who’s flashing has checked that it’s safe for you to proceed. Remember, if you cant see that it’s safe to go, it’s not safe to go. If necessary, wait for the vehicle that’s obstructing your view of the road to move ahead.

Driver Flashing and Causing Confusion

This situation occurs when there’s two vehicles waiting to turn and you’re not sure who who the driver is flashing.

Diagram of two cars attempting to turn right with a driver flashing them out
Try to gain eye contact with the driver before proceeding

This situation can become quite hazardous as nobody is quite sure who the driver is flashing. On a congested road, the ideal situation would be that the driver of the red car first lets the learner driver out before proceeding themselves. However, don’t assume this to be the case.

Try to first gain eye contact with the other turning driver. If they acknowledge you and are waiting, it’s usually a sign for you to proceed. In this situation, there can be a lot going on in a very short amount of time. But avoid being hasty as there can always be a hazard that you cannot see. For example, the motorcyclist proceeding ahead and passing the red car.

Can I Fail a Driving Test if a Driver Flashes Me?

Yes you can fail a driving test because it all depends on how you act in any given situation. The driver has flashed you, their part is now over, the onus is now on you to decide what to do and how to do it.

If the situation is simply to hazardous to proceed, you may decide not to take the driver up on their offer to proceed and wait for a safer situation. Never gesture the waiting driver to move on. Instead, you can simply nod ‘no thank you’.

However, if you wait there and do nothing when the situation does allow you to proceed ahead (with excellent levels of observation and control), there’s a possibility you may fail the test due to undue hesitation.

If you do decide to go ahead, don’t be afraid to communicate your intentions with the examiner. This lets them know that you’re in control and might be particularly beneficial in the unlikely event they didn’t see the flash.

These situations can be stressful due to a lot happening at once, plus it’s possible that you’ve not been in this predicament before. But provided that you do everything safely and under good control, there should be no need to worry about failing the driving test.

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