Top 10 Reasons People Fail The Driving Test

Top 10 Reasons People Fail The Driving Test

As the driving test turns 80 years old, statistics indicate top 10 issues where people fail their driving test. If you’ve passed your test, have you fallen into any of these bad habits? Here in no particular order these 10 points are as follows:

1. Observations at junctions

Driving off the edge of a cliff is a bit of an exaggeration. But poor observations at junctions is one of the top 10 reasons that people fail.

You’ll be marked with this fault for not taking effective observation before emerging at junctions, and emerging into the path of other vehicles.

Always make sure it’s safe before proceeding.

2. Moving off safely

Moving off safelyCrown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

When you’re moving off from the side of the road, you need to make sure you look around, check your blind spots - and that you’re indicating the right way!

3. Use of mirrors

Use of mirrors

Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Remember that you need to use your rear view mirror and wing mirrors - and react to the information!

People get caught out for pulling up with no mirror checks, increasing their speed with no mirror checks, or using their mirrors too late.

4. Reverse parking

In the driving test, you can be asked to either do a parallel park on the road, or reverse into a parking bay at the test centre.

You’ll notch up a fault in this area if you need to reposition to correct a loss of control or accuracy. A complete misjudgement or significant loss of control will count as a serious fault.

5. Response to traffic lights

Response to traffic lights

Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Some of the mistakes that people make include waiting at a green filter light when it’s safe to proceed and staying at the stop line when it’s safe to move.

Other faults that count include not conforming to a red light, and stopping beyond an advanced STOP line in the area designated for cyclists.

6. Steering


Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

You need to be able to maintain a steady course in normal driving. Things like mounting and dismounting the kerb, and not following the contour of the kerb results in faults in this area.

7. Positioning

Your vehicle should be positioned correctly for the route you’re taking. If lanes are marked, make sure you’re in the middle of the lane. Avoid straddling lanes.

8. Turning right at junctions

Turning right at junctions

Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

When you’re turning right, position your vehicle correctly - it shouldn’t cut the corner when turning right.

Also, watch out for cyclists and motorcyclists, and any pedestrians crossing the road.

9. Control when moving off

Control when moving off

Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Is this the one everyone dreads doing?

Fails that are included in this reason are as follows:

  • Repeated stalling;
  • moving off (or trying to!) with the handbrake on;
  • rolling backwards when trying to move off;
  • not putting the car in gear and attempting to move off.

10. Response to road markings

Response to road markings

Crown copyright: Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

You’ll be marked with faults in this area for doing things like unnecessarily crossing the solid white centre lines on the road, and not following directional arrows.

Stopping in a yellow box junction when the exit is not clear also counts for this reason.

So make sure you know the rules about using them.

Prepare to pass

It is normal to be nervous before your test, but if you are properly prepared and your instructor thinks you are ready, then there is really no reason to worry.

On average, people who pass the test have had 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of private practice.

Your examiners are not trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you can drive safely.