Top Reasons People Fail Their Driving Test

Top Reasons People Fail Their Driving Test

Once you’ve taken the leap of faith and booked your driving test, its all steam ahead to ensure that you are fully prepared for any test route, manoeuvre or unexpected situation that you may be faced with. While it is true that practice makes perfect, its also recommended spending some time researching and chatting to your instructor about the most common reasons as to why people fail their test – so you can know what to avoid!

To get you started and give you an insight into the top reasons people fail their driving test, we’ve devised a list of the ones we’ve found most common over the years and how to stop all from causing you a problem.

6 Top Reasons People Fail Their Driving Test

Although it is horrible to think that some learners, unfortunately, do fail their practical, it does give those who are yet to take their test a good indication on the main “do’s and don’ts”. Talking to your instructor is a great way to get a first-hand insight into the most common mistakes that examiners keep a careful eye out for. This will give you a fantastic starting point on what should be your main focuses on the weeks leading up to your all-important practical test.

There are many small, resolvable errors that many learners make during their test simple out of nerves, which can be avoidable. Here we discuss the top six and how to avoid falling victim to a major.

Pulling Out At Junctions

No matter where in the UK you are learning to drive, there are two main junctions that you will be faced with; open junctions and closed junctions.

Open junctions prove less of an issue because they are just that, open. You’re likely to find open junctions leading onto a dual carriageway or main road, and there will be nothing blocking your view of the road ahead. The problem with this is that many drivers chance pulling out at an open junction when there is a vehicle approaching because they can afford to go a little faster. Emerging from an open junction when a car is approaching is incredibly dangerous due to the high speed, so if done on your test, is likely to result in a major.

As opposed to an open junction, a closed junction is found in industrial or residential estates. They are classed as a closed junction because the view of the road ahead is obstructed by buildings, houses, hedges or parked cars. When approaching a closed junction is it vital always to slow down and stop, look left and right then start to emerge out slowly. You’ve probably heard your instructor mention the term ‘peep and creep’. If you have, then closed junctions are precisely where you can put this into practice. Pulling out at a closed junction and causing another driver to alter their speed, swerve or emergency brake will result in a major. Hesitation at a junction and waiting around too long may result in a minor.

busy motorway

Lack Of Observation

You’ve probably heard your driving instructor mention observation over and over again, and that’s because it genuinely is so important, especially during your test. The examiner will always keep a look out for potential hazards; whether you have noticed them and it what manner, you will manage them to ensure you remain safe.

During your test, you must always ensure that you regularly check all mirrors, both interior and exterior, and if needed, blind spots. Taking a quick glance at your interior and wing mirrors should be done before slowing down, speeding up, changing lanes or changing gears. When performing manoeuvres, blind spots behind you should also be checked.

If you consistently show a lack of observation and it becomes dangerous, your examiner is in their right to fail you. Although, if it is just now and again then you are likely only to pick up minors. Either way, observation is critical, it could mean the difference between a collision and emergency braking in time.

Driving Above The Speed Limit

You’d be surprised the number learners during their test that drive above the speed limit without realising or think that the faster they drive, the quicker their test will be over and done with. However, if you’re breaking the law in your test, then how can an instructor let you lose on the roads alone?

Your driving test will most likely be a combination of driving on busy dual carriageways and residential housing areas, which means you’ll quickly have to slow down from 60mph to 30mph. Try not to slam on the brakes the moment you notice 30 zone road sign. Be vigilant and always look around for new road signs which will mean you have to alter your speed. Easing off the accelerator a little in advance will help the car to slow down gradually, then just a light brake and change down in gears will be required when you hit the 30 zones.

30 zone speed limit

Incorrect Signalling

Incorrect signalling can be anything from forgetting to cancel your signal after making a turn to forgetting to signal altogether, both of which are key culprits for picking up avoidable minors. The only way of informing other drivers of your next steps is through your indicators, so incorrect use can become incredibly confusing.

Make sure that you always signal when making the following movements:

  • Changing lanes
  • Emerging from or entering a junction
  • Turning left or right at a roundabout
  • Leaving a roundabout
  • When moving off or parking

You must also ensure that you cancel your signal immediately after completing your turn, to avoid misleading other road users. For example, when leaving a roundabout in a city or town, you are likely to have many junctions straight afterwards. Failing to cancel your signal makes the driver behind you think that you are planning to make a second turn and will slow down to give you space.

Failing to signal altogether is the issue most likely to result in a major as it runs the risk of a collision.

car indicator

Turning Too Wide or Too Tight

Steering accuracy does not tend to be considered when weighing up the most important skills to remember before your test, but is incredibly important.

Making a turn at a junction or roundabout must always be accurate, and you need to ensure that you remain in your lane and your lane only. Making a turn too wide runs the risk of disrupting the driver in the lane next to you or an approaching vehicle.

Whereas, turning too tight, especially in a residential estate, risks skimming the curb or even heading into the pavement in the path of a pedestrian or cyclist.

Panicking At Roundabouts or Traffic Lights

Making a small mistake in your test is okay, as is stalling, as long as you can quickly recover the issue and do not disturb any other drivers. Every examiner understands that you are under immense pressure during your test and it is likely you will be very nervous, which is why you are allowed up to 15 minors.

The most common points during a test that a learner will panic and stall is at a roundabout or traffic light when you have to find the correct bite point and pull off from stationary. If you do stall and can remain calm, turn the engine back on and drive off, then although you might pick up a minor, you’ll still pass. However, if you lose control and cannot recover the situation then end up holding up many drivers, then you run the risk of gaining a major. We recommend always preparing your vehicle before pulling off, as you notice traffic slowing down and a space big enough for you to enter into, get your bite point ready and start to move over to the acceleration.

For more information on how to deal with different stalling situations, take a look at this handy Ingenie article.

traffic lights

Pass Your Practical Test!

During the lessons leading up to your test, ensure that you continue to practice any areas that are proving a particular struggle. If you’re feeling worried about a specific manoeuvre or test route, just ask your instructor if you can spend some time going over it. Our driving instructors in Leicester are always happy to go over any areas that pupils may be finding a little trickier to ensure that they are completely test ready!

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