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Most common reasons for failing driving test

Dec 27

This guide will help you to avoid the most common mistakes that people make when taking their driving test. You should read this so as not only learn about what could go wrong, but also have an idea on how to fix it!

All these reasons and tips will become more effective if you have a good driving instructor who can help you with them.


1) Using mirrors ineffectively when changing direction

Before you change direction or speed, make sure that all of the mirrors are clear.

The ‘mirror-signal manoeuvre’ (MSM) routine is a great way to check them for obstruction first!

The MSM is the routine used when using roundabouts, junctions or just generally turning left or right. The idea is you use your mirrors to ensure everything is clear then you signal which direction you are planning to go.

Not utilising your mirrors can cause very dangerous accidents and results in minor and major faults for your driving test.



2) Not setting off from stationary safely

The ability to safely move off the road is an essential part of being a good observant driver.

You’re able do this from different angles, on slopes or hills (gradient), behind parked vehicles so you move off to left or right.

When you move off from behind a parked vehicle, it’s important to watch for traffic coming in both your mirrors and your blind spot. But if you do this and still move off into the path of a vehicle, it can be deemed as a serious fault due to the other driver significantly slowing down.


3) Having bad positioning on the road during normal driving

One of the most important tips for safe driving is to position your car correctly.

Make sure you are in the middle of the marked lanes, and only change when necessary. Also always ensure you are positioned correctly for your intended route, so that last minute lane changes are avoided.

You will also get penalised for driving too near the kerb or the road centre. This will be marked down as either a minor fault or major fault depending on the severity of the incident.


4) Using traffic signs incorrectly

When on your driving test, and at all time when driving you must be able to read all traffic signs correctly. Not doing so can very dangerous for yourself and fellow drivers.

You go to the wrong side of a ‘keep left’ sign in road. This is dangerous because it can cause an accident and result with a failed driving test.

Ignoring a ‘stop’ or ‘no-entry’ sign.

If you see a ‘stop’ or ‘no entry’ sign in the road, it is important to stop your vehicle or not enter that road.



5) Having inadequate control of steering wheel

Steering is one of the most important parts of your driving test and driving in general. With so many factors at play, you must be able to time your turns and curves with precision if you want them gone smoothly for yourself as well as any other road users around.

One of the most common driving test faults for steering is when turning left, the car repeatedly understeers and does not follow the kerb. This means there’s not enough space for vehicles turning right to fit alongside of yours without any issues, causing a potentially dangerous situation on your driving test.


From 1 in 10 reported accidents being caused by the driver making a poor turn or manoeuvre, you can see that turning may be one of your best bets to avoid an accident.

See more here.


6) Response to traffic lights

The right response to traffic lights is something that catches people out.

Some of the mistakes made include waiting at a green filter light when it’s safe and surpassing the cyclist section when stopped at traffic lights, meaning the cyclists cannot wait in their designated area.




After taking these points into consideration, it is important to liaison with your driving instructor and go over your driving test report again to ensure you have covered everything and ensure everything is done to help you in your driving lessons.

It is also important to remember that these are common driving test fails, so do not feel disheartened, as you can take your practical driving test as many times as you need.



How do I make sure I pass my driving test first time?

  • Find the right driving instructor for you: Do not be afraid to find the most compatible instructor – one that you can work with and trust. Before even considering your first driving test, book a tester lesson or two; it will help prepare for what is about come in-depth communication skills (which are necessary when taking this type of examination). If an individual doesn’t make you feel comfortable during these times together then move on as you will most likely be spending 30-40 hours of driving lessons with them.
  • Driving practical test routes: Whether you’re applying for your first time or retesting, it’s always good to know what areas and roads may be included on the driving test route. You can expect large roundabouts as well as complicated junctions that will appear in Google Maps so expect them! Ensure your driving instructor takes you on as many routes as possible that may come up in your test prior to your driving test as DVSA do not publish the test routes.
  • Show me and tell me questions: You may be asked to test your knowledge of the practical side with these questions. Make sure you are prepared for anything, from checking if brake lights work properly all the way up until making sure that headrests provide maximum protection in case something happens during a crash!


What are the 4 manoeuvres in driving test?

There are four basic manoeuvres: pulling up on the right, forward parking into a parking bay and reverse parking and the parallel park.


Is it normal to fail driving test?

When it comes to your driving test, a failed test is a very common thing. But don’t worry- people fail and come back even stronger. A failed driving test can actually effect you positively, making you more determined to right your wrongs and come out on top.


What are some reasons you would automatically fail a driving test?

  • Not coming to a complete stop when driving, just slowing down (Rolling stop).
  • Lack of/poor steering wheel control.
  • Driving too fast or too slow.
  • Being distracted whilst driving.
  • Braking too harshly.
  • Not checking mirrors.

These are just a number of the dangerous faults that can occur on a driving test, there are others such as the ones listed through the main article. You can have 15 minor faults on a driving test, meaning 16 minor faults would result in a fail. However, 1 dangerous fault or 3 of the same minor will also result in a fail.


How do you deal with a failing driving test?

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself: It’s easy to feel like giving up, but don’t do it! No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Make the best of this experience by understanding why you failed so that next time won’t be as difficult for yourself.
  • Listen to your driving examiner: The most important thing to do after you fail your driving test is stay calm. If the driving examiner tells you that it’s a failure, then listen carefully and try not to show any emotion when they break down what went wrong in detail- this will help with future successes! There are two parts of every failed exam: the reasons why (including how many errors were made) as well as areas where improvement can be made. Make sure these findings fill up both sections so there’s no question answered without information on hand.
  • Practice more: Common problem areas for new drivers include not looking around enough at junctions and using mirrors incorrectly when changing speeds or directions. Your instructor will help you make the necessary adjustments so that your driving test goes smoother than your previous test, as well as offer tips on how best to cope with nerves.


For Driving Lessons in Shepton Mallet and surrounding areas contact Star Drivers

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01749 608389

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Shepton Mallet,




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