Driving Test Fails to Avoid!

In the UK there are 1.5 million driving tests taken every year. Of those, 830,000 tests are failed — that’s 55 percent!

The UK practical driving test now costs at least £62 per attempt. So there’s plenty of money to save by passing your test first time. To help you out we’ve put together five top tips on how to avoid the most common driving test fails:

Driving test fail -- man and woman in car

1. Observation at Junctions

This is the number 1 cause of failed driving tests! Failing to observe effectively at junctions or rushing to get out will not go down well with the examiner.

You must approach each junction with care and be fully prepared to stop. However, you must also avoid undue hesitancy. Be sure to plan well ahead by starting to look early.

Scrutinise the road — look in all directions. Check for cyclists, motorbikes and pedestrians crossing your path.

Your view may be obstructed by parked cars, trees or bushes. Lean forward in your seat to look past obstructions — only proceed when you are 100% sure it’s safe to go.


2. Reverse Parking

Reversing too quickly without effective observation is a sure recipe for a driving test fail.

The examiner is looking for a high level of control and accuracy, so keep your car moving very slowly. Check your mirrors and turn your head to check your blind spots.

You need to be looking out for small children that may be behind your car, whilst also keeping an eye on traffic movements. Be prepared to pause and take a good look around your vehicle.

If other road users are trying to get past you, be patient and wait to let them pass in safety.

You should aim to park parallel to the kerb and not be too far away from it. If you do touch the kerb, stop and take effective observation. Once you’re ready, move forward to adjust your position.

Remember — the examiner will want you to keep calm and carry on.


3. Use of Mirrors

The examiner will expect you to check your mirrors frequently and to act upon what you see.

You need to check your mirrors every time before you:

  • Signal
  • Change position in the road
  • Change the speed of your vehicle

You should use your mirrors in pairs. So for example, if you’re planning to turn left check your centre mirror first, then your left-hand door mirror.

You should check your mirrors whenever you identify a potential hazard. Being fully aware of what’s behind you will help you plan in case the hazard develops and causes you to change speed or direction.

Make sure you always keep plenty of space ahead of you. This will give you plenty of time to check what’s happening behind.


4. Moving Away Safely

It’s all too common to fail your driving test by not moving off safely.

Here are some common examples that will lead to a driving test fail:

  • Forgetting to check what’s in front or behind you
  • Poor balancing of clutch and accelerator
  • Not signalling your intentions

Pulling away is one of the first things you’ll do in the test, so make sure you do it right. Start by calmly thinking your way through it — and never forget to check that blind spot with a turn of your head.

You will be asked several times during your driving test to pull up in a safe place. Sometimes this will be on a busy street, and sometimes on a hill.

Make sure you practise moving off safely without causing other vehicles to change their course or speed.


5. Use of Signals

How many times do you see other drivers using their signals incorrectly?

It happens all too often, so let’s make sure you get it right:

  • Always use your signals in good time
  • Use them correctly to signal your intentions to others
  • Avoid giving confusing signals

Here are some common examples of driving test fails related to signalling:

  • Not signalling before pulling up on the left when there is traffic close behind you
  • Leaving a left signal on whilst driving past a side road
  • Flashing or waving pedestrians to cross the road when it is not safe
  • Repeatedly forgetting to signal before exiting a roundabout
  • Signalling to pass every parked car

Practice Makes Perfect

If you follow this advice and practice driving regularly both with your driving instructor and in your own private vehicle you should pass your test with flying colours!

Still deciding which driving school to go with? Not getting along with your current instructor? Why not take a look at what we can do to help you pass your test.

Finally, if you have any other great tips on how to avoid failing your driving test, please leave them in the comments below. We’d love to hear your suggestions!