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Top 10: Reasons to fail a driving test

6 min read • Nov 22, 2018
Top 10 reasons to fail a driving test

One of the best ways to ensure that you pass your driving test is to understand the most common reasons to fail a driving test. Sounds sensible, right? But you’d be amazed at how many learners make the same easily-avoidable mistakes.

We’ve researched the most common reasons to fail a driving test to give you the best possible chance of passing first time. Just read this article, practise the areas we mention and you’ll be able to book your test confident in the knowledge that you’re as well prepared as you could possibly be.

The most common reasons to fail a driving test

Observation at junctions

Failing to correctly use the mirrors when approaching junctions is one of the most common reasons to fail a driving test.

When you approach a junction be sure to use your mirrors, take note of the flow of traffic and slow to an appropriate speed. Also be sure to observe other vehicles and the road around you while ensuring that you don’t come to a stop over the white line. Visit our guide to junctions for more information.

Mirror use

It’s easy to forget when you should check your mirrors, but we’ve got a simple trick to help you remember. If you are changing speed or direction or moving off in the vehicle, check your mirrors. If you’re unsure if you should be checking your mirrors, check them just in case. If you’re still not 100% clear on when/how to use your mirrors, visit our guide to mirrors.

Junctions (turning right)

Almost 80,000 learners slipped up when turning right during their driving tests in 2011/12. It’s a subtly complicated part of the test; you need to remember to position your vehicle towards the centre line, keep up your observations, slow right down (5mph or less), maintain good clutch control and time your exit carefully. With so much to remember, it’s no wonder that this is one of the most common reasons to fail a driving test. For extra help with junctions, read our article on turning left and right.

Steering control

Don’t cross your hands while steering, don’t allow the wheel to spin freely and don’t drive with your hands off the wheel for any longer than is necessary to change gear and you should avoid failing a driving test on this particular fault.

Moving off safely

Moving away safely is easy once you’ve mastered your MSPSL routine. However, many learners rush into their driving tests without making sure that their MSPSL is flawless every single time they pull away. Read our article or watch our video to make sure that your MSPSL is as good as it should be.

Before you move away, CHECK YOUR MIRRORS AND YOUR BLIND SPOT!! Guess what? We’ve got an article on moving away safely, too.

Responding to traffic lights

You’d think that stopping for the red light is something that every single learner driver on the planet could manage. Sadly, that’s not the case: 68,877 traffic light-related faults were reported in 2011/12. It’s unclear how many of those faults were people speeding through red lights and how many were legitimate mistakes, but still…what a mistake to make on your driving test! Read this and make sure that you’re ready to face traffic lights in your test.

Incorrect positioning

Using the wrong lane on roundabouts or coasting over the white line at junctions can slip up even the best-prepared learner. Have a refresher lesson just before your driving test and talk to your instructor to make sure you’re 100% confident when it comes to positioning.

Brush up on your lane positioning with our guide to junctions.

Moving off – control

When moving off, you need to make sure you’re fully aware of what’s going on around you and that you’re in complete control of the vehicle. You need, for example, to be able to demonstrate to the examiner that you’re able to pull away safely when performing a hill start, without rolling back or kangarooing forwards.

Reverse parking

This one trips up quite a few learner drivers, which is a shame since it’s such a silly reason to fail a driving test. The key is quite simply good observation and good preparation. The manoeuvres are an easy to practise and predictable part of the driving test; you should have them perfected before you consider booking your test. For help with reverse parking and all the other manoeuvres, visit our YouTube channel.

Response to road markings

All those white and yellow squiggles on the road are there for a reason; they’re not just there to give men in high-vis waistcoats something to do… Ignoring junction box markings, stopping on “Keep Clear” markings and driving in bus lanes could all result in your failing your driving test. Make sure that you’re always reading the road ahead of you.

Top tip

Take a driving lesson an hour before your driving test. Ask your instructor to watch your drive extra-carefully for any of the mistakes mentioned above. This will help you get to get in the right mindset for your test and, if you pull off a good drive, will give you a massive confidence boost.

Source: Gov.UK

Image courtesy of dsagovuk at Flickr via Crown Copyright.

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