Where's the hardest country to pass your driving test?

Swedish golfer, Henrik Stenson finally wins his first major title at The Open 2016 and compares it to his biggest achievement to date – passing his driving test.

Sitting a driving test is a memory most of us will remember for a lifetime, some will hold more of these memories than others, but would you consider it to be one of your life’s biggest achievements?

Well for the new world no. 5, it was a bigger achievement than becoming the first Swede to win The Open. It made us question how difficult it would be pass a driving test in Sweden and the research confirms… ok, it’s pretty hard! We compare it to other driving tests across the world:

Let’s start at home…

UK Driving Test - legal age: 17

Introduced back in 1935, the UK to reduce the number of casualties on the roads, the theory and practical elements of the test have advanced greatly over the decades.

What’s included?

Theory test: Two components – multiple choice to answer 50 questions (you need to answer 43 correctly) and the Hazard Perception Test – testing your reflexes and ability to spot hazards from 14 video clips (you need to score 44 out of 75). 

Practical test:  starting with a ‘read that number plate’ eye test, then answering a couple of questions from ‘show me, tell me’ section to then completing 40 minutes of driving which will include one or more manoeuvers and independent driving. Very recently, some new additions have been made by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency – including reversing out of parking space and using satnav. 

Sweden Driving Test - legal age: 18

Home of the acclaimed ‘safest car manufacturer’ Volvo, it’s no wonder their driving test wouldn’t be a walk in the park. Before getting your driver’s permit, you’ll need to get an eye test, complete a health declaration and pay 220 kr. You’ve then got five years to get your licence.  

What’s included?

Compulsory drugs and narcotics course

The Slippery Road Test – 4 hour course involving learners to actively participate in exercises such as driving at speeds up to 100Kmph whilst remaining in control of the vehicle
Theory: 8 tests, that’s right EIGHT!

Practical: 45 minutes drive, quite similar to UK driving test as well as undergoing a mini-test i.e. light check. 

Japan Driving Test - legal age: 18

Deemed one of the most difficult places to pass a driving test with pass rates falling below 35%

What’s included?

Practical test: Drivers must stay at 30kph (19mph) or under during the entire test or they fail instantly.

Failing to stop a traffic light is an immediate fail much like the UK however Japan will also penalise you if you do not stay far left enough in the lane or for not bending down low enough to check for cats or children before driving off. 

Australia Driving Test - legal age: 16

Similar to the Swedish ways, some test need to be passed before applying for your provisional – eye test, medical test and theory test.

Once you pass these, you need to complete 25 hours of supervised driving, sit a practical test, some more supervised driving, a Hazard Perception Test and then you get your PROVISIONAL Licence. This lasts around two years before you take a test for a FULL licence. Wow, I feel like I’ve lost 2 years of my life just outlining that process.

Pakistan Driving Test - legal age:18

With a first time pass rate of 80% percent, we get the feeling that the driving test in Pakistan is not very difficult.

What’s included?

There aren’t any rules for supervised driving hours like other countries, just a theory exam and a short practical test – which requires you to drive through a short course around cones.

The country might consider adding some more complexity as it has a very high accident rate of 16 deaths per 100,000 people.

Mexico Driving Test - legal age: 18

If you thought Pakistan had a lenient driving policy, you haven’t been to Mexico!

What’s included?

No test, no supervised driving, nothing. All you need is 626 pesos (around £28) to buy yourself a licence.

Before you start packing your bags and heading for Mexico, keep in mind that Mexico city is one of the most heavily populated cities in the world with 4 million cars on the road, where car accidents are a regular occurrence.

Further Reading

Get some tips on passing your driving test first time. We also have an article on the best first cars if you've just passed.

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