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Most Common Driving Test Mistakes

If you have ever failed any test, you will know what a harrowing experience it is. A driving test is no different – failing can be challenging and knock your confidence, especially if you’ve failed several times. Hearing you failed your driving test is a big letdown, especially when you know you’ve put in hours of hard work. Most of the time, it comes down to nerves and making basic errors you haven’t made during lessons for a long time. The key to passing your test lies in preparation and avoiding minor faults. It is best to practice as much as possible, read up on the common driving test mistakes and learn from this particular attempt to ace the next one.

In this post, we discuss the common mistakes on driving tests you could make. We’ll also provide a list of the top reasons people fail their driving test and examples so you know what to look out for.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), not observing junctions properly and not using their mirrors effectively are the top reasons learners fail the driving test in the UK. The driving test pass rate was only 47.1% in the first quarter of 2022. Many people who failed their tests made at least one of the mistakes explained in this post.

Junction Observations

According to records from the DVSA, drivers not observing junctions were responsible for 37% of all reported accidents in the UK. This is a dangerous fault; the examiner usually pays close attention to how well you handle junctions and demonstrate critical observation skills. There are a few things to observe at a junction that could affect your driving test with common mistakes.

  • Failing to judge the speed of an approaching vehicle: This is when you turn from a minor road and fail to consider the speed of the approaching vehicle. And move off, forcing the vehicle to slow significantly.
  • Entering a roundabout with a vehicle approaching from the right: When you get to a roundabout and a vehicle is approaching from the right and keep driving and entering the roundabout, that is a mistake.
  • Going straight ahead at a crossroads: This mistake occurs when you approach an intersection and cross without making any observations to the right or left.

Approaching a junction can feel like one of the most stressful parts of driving tests, and it is bound to make you nervous. So get plenty of practice approaching different junctions, as this crucial skill ensures you feel confident.

Not Using Mirrors When Changing Directions

As mentioned above, not using mirrors effectively is one of the most common reasons people fail their driving test. It has consistently been among the top three most common driving mistakes most learners make. When you use your mirrors correctly, your driving is smoother and safer. However not using them correctly is a prevalent mistake that can lead to a failed driving test.

Maintaining awareness of your surroundings will help you anticipate potential hazards, making you a much safer driver. You must demonstrate these abilities to your examiner during your test.
Usual errors that the examiner will look for include failing to check mirrors before turning, changing lanes, or when overtaking another vehicle. Most learners miss checking the mirrors because of complacency or stress during the test.

Not Checking Road Markings And Responding Accordingly To Them

Another reason for common driving test fails is if you don’t demonstrate that you understand and react appropriately to traffic signs and various road markings during your test. These include road lines and lane markings, stop and give-way lines at intersections, pedestrian crossings, and road parking markings. One of the driver faults that the practical driving test examiners watch out for is if the driver crosses or straddles a double solid white line and other designated markings. Whether it is you are doing a parallel park or reverse parking, you need to focus on every aspect. Something you need to focus on during your driving lessons.

Taking notice of road markings even when you aren’t driving is a good way to stay in the habit of paying attention to them. If you are unsure how to respond to the markings during normal driving, make a note to ask your driving instructor. Being comfortable with all the various road markings will help you react faster to hazards, prevent serious or dangerous faults, and help prevent some of the common driving test faults.

Driving Too Slowly

Driving is more than merely using the mirror; observing junctions and using the correct speed when notified play an essential role in safe driving. Appropriate speed use is more than just staying under the speed limit while driving, but also judging what is suitable, as per the traffic around you, other drivers, the weather, or an approaching junction.

Driving too slowly or too close to a parked vehicle is as dangerous as driving fast and can be the cause of an accident. Driving too slowly also indicates to the examiner that you need to be made aware of the speed limit, which could lead to you failing the test, so press the pedal if you are too slow, but keep an eye on the upper speed limit too.

Letting Your Nerves Take The Wheel

One of the easiest ways to fail your driving test is by letting nervousness get the better of you. This can lead to poor decision-making, lack of concentration, and questionable driving. It is essential to stay calm and composed throughout the test. If it helps, take a few deep breaths before you start your test and focus on the examiner’s instructions and the road. The examiner will look for cues to see if you are letting your nerves take the wheel and drive you to failure.

Not Responding Appropriately To Traffic Lights

This error is tied to the previous one – since the nerves usually get you wired up, and you miss the traffic signal. The examiner will look to see if you stop at the appropriate place for red lights, what you do when it switches to amber, and how you drive off once it turns green.

You could be penalised for sailing through a red light or setting off before green light – when it was not time or ready. So quick and appropriate response to traffic lights is crucial.

Forgetting Your Turn Signals

Many drivers make the common mistake on driving tests of failing to use their turn signal, indicating a turn during their driving test. Turn signals are necessary to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians and prevent accidents. Use your turn signals well before turning or changing lanes to avoid making this mistake. Before signalling, check your mirrors and the blind spots and only indicate the turn when it is safe to do so. Another tiny detail the examiner will look for is whether you cancel the signal once you’ve turned.

Changing Lanes In An Intersection

Another common mistake learners make during a driving test is changing lanes at an intersection. This is a potentially dangerous manoeuvre if not executed correctly. To avoid this mistake, check your mirrors and blind spots before entering the intersection. If you have to change lanes, wait until you’ve exited the intersection before doing so, and remember to use your turn signals when switching lanes and signal at the right time to indicate your shift.

Following too closely

The Highway Code recommends a minimum two-second gap between vehicles. This is to avoid tailgating – another common mistake drivers make during their tests. Drivers who follow too closely do not leave enough space between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them, resulting in accidents if the vehicle in front brakes or slows down suddenly.

Not Being Aware of Changes To The Speed Limit

One of the most top driving faults drivers make during a Uk driving test is not being aware of changes to the speed limit. Speed limits can change unexpectedly, especially in urban areas – it is important to pay attention to road signs and speed limits, as those not being alert will fail their driving test.

Not Keeping Both Hands On The Wheel

Another crucial detail the examiner looks at during a driving test is the position of your hands on the steering wheel. Most drivers overlook this and fail to keep both their hands on the steering wheel, resulting in poor steering control and a higher chance of an accident. You can avoid this mistake during your test and other times by always keeping both hands on the steering wheel. This improves reaction time in the event of an emergency.

Turning Right From The Left Lane

It is important not to rush when turning right at intersections – while it may seem to be an easy manoeuvre, turning right at intersections necessitates a great deal of thought. It would help if you also positioned your vehicle correctly to alert other road users that you are turning to right hand lane. This requires good observational skills and is something examiners during driving tests look for.

Moving Off In The Wrong Gear

This common mistake occurs when the driver is starting from a stationary position, such as at traffic lights or a junction. Moving off in the wrong gear is one of the serious faults and can result in the driver failing a driving test and can lead to a cut in the score. The driving instructors Birmingham assess the driver’s ability to move off safely, and the mistake will indicate that learner drivers are not fully in control of the vehicle.

Not Stopping At Stop Signs

The stop sign is a red octagon with the word STOP – when approaching a stop sign, a driver must come to a complete stop before proceeding. Failure to do so can lead to a dangerous situation where the driver cannot see oncoming traffic. To avoid this, pay close attention to traffic signs and signals, come to a complete stop when approaching an advanced stop line, and look both ways for oncoming vehicles before proceeding.

Not Understanding Clutch Control At Junctions

Most new drivers struggle with clutch control initially and end up with jerky movements. To avoid this error, practise clutch control before taking the driving test. A driver is expected to slow down as they approach a junction and prepare to turn or merge with traffic. Clutch control at intersections is essential because it allows the driver to control the vehicle’s speed and movement and drive safely.

Not Having Proper Control Of The Steering

Practising proper steering control during your automatic driving lessons is an excellent way to ensure that you maintain adequate steering control during your driving test. Maintaining vehicle control is easier if you keep your hands in the 10 and 2 positions. The push-pull or shuffle steering technique, in which one hand pulls down the steering wheel while the other pushes up the steering wheel, is also a safer alternative and avoids incorrect positioning of the hands.

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Davies Thomas
Davies Thomas
Hi, I am Mini Thomas. I would just like to say that Rashid has been an absolute star. He was punctual for every session. He was an excellent instructor, calmly explaining everything in a way that I understood. Under him, I managed to come further than I ever thought possible and I would just like to say that he is brilliant and I thoroughly recommend him for any future learners.
I passed my driving test first time with my instructor Saeed!! Best instructor ever!!
Mazni Mustafa
Mazni Mustafa
I passed my driving test today at redditch test centre. My instructor is Habib
Christos Nikoulis
Christos Nikoulis
I passed my driving test on my 1st attempt yesterday. Excellent preparation and mentorship from driving instructor Raja.
hootan parsapour
hootan parsapour
I passed first time on a new test route that I started preparing at short notice due to a last minute cancellation. This would not have been possible without Amir who went the extra mile to make sure I was ready and confident to pass. I have had my fair share of driving instructors before and during the pandemic where luck was not on my side. I ended up taking a break from driving for over a year. Getting back into driving at a time where driving instructors were in high demand, Amir took me on board and made sure I would be test-ready through continuous practice, manoevrues and mock tests to boost my confidence and learn key routes. He has been the most patient instructor I've come across while being a great communicator and supportive to make sure I achieve my goal without wasting my time, especially by getting me to keep being on the lookout for test availabilities. I'm very thankful to Amir, nothing but good things to say
shingai Chirinda
shingai Chirinda
Passed first time at King standing with the help of Habib. 10/10 instructor
Hina Khan Swati
Hina Khan Swati
Passed my test on my first attempt thanks to my instructor Ansar Jabeen. She was so punctual and utilised every single minute of my lesson to make sure i knew my routes. I really appreciate her patience and her help.
Harpreet Grewal
Harpreet Grewal
Passed my driving test on 1st attempt. Thanks to my driving instructor Salma.Very calm and knowledgeable. Thats all you need to pass your test as a new driver.
Maria Mahmood
Maria Mahmood
I passed this morning with Salma and it went really well and smoothly. I must confess that surely she is a skilled professional trader and the best among all. Before the test my instructor was very good she helped calm me before it was time to head into the test centre and we went over what would happen in the test to help relieve my nerves. She is the best instructor out their so friendly very professional and instructions are easy to understand and take in. Salma was able to easily adapt her teaching to suit me best. She is very sweet and you can tell she only wants the best out of you … she isn’t a instructor just there for the money she will tell you your mistakes and won’t move on until you have perfected it leaving you with no weaknesses.very very highly recommend her as your instructor.
Brandon c Newman Newman
Brandon c Newman Newman
Sooo happy today. I've just passed my test today at Redditch driving test centre. I was with Habib. Really nice guy and helped me to understand the roads, especially the high speed 70mp h speeds.Thanks mate😀