Driving Test Tip - Speed Fail for too slow

All learner drivers should know that they can't break the speed limit and expect to pass the driving test, but it is not just speeding that you need to avoid.
You could be failed on the driving test for driving too slow as well.

The DSA examiner is assessing your use of speed in different conditions, so while the speed limit on a street might be 30MPH, you as a learner driver need to know if it is safe to drive at that limit considering the prevailing road conditions. Is it a busy high street with people walking about, cars parked on the left and right, buses stopping and moving off, all these factors will affect the speed that you drive at, so you might need to drive at a slower speed than the posted limit.

Making progress on the driving test

The DSA driving examiner also wants to see you making progress on the test, so your speed must be close to the limit if it is safe to do so, as you don't want people trying to overtake you when it is not safe.
This is one of the reasons why the examiner will fail you for driving too slow on the driving test even if it is a multi-lane National Speed Limit (NSL) dual carriageway and you are doing 50MPH.

More reading
Can you guarantee I will pass driving test?
Listen to DSA instructor advice.
10 reasons people fail the driving test in the UK.
Stalling the car during the DSA practical car assessment.

DSA Driving Test Maneuvers Instructor Advice

On the 4th of October 2010 the driving standards agency (DSA) responsible for conducting the driving test in the UK, made an important change to the practical test by introducing a 10 minute independent driving element to the test, and reduced the number of maneuvers required to just one, so you now have a lower chance of failing the driving test doing a manuever.

Here in the UK, you will be required to do at least 2  1 maneuver during your driving test as part of the practical car assessment. Turn in the road (formerly called 3 point turn), bay parking (reversing into a limited opening), parallel/reverse parking and reversing around the corner to the left are the driving skills that will need to covered, as you don't know which of these the DSA examiner will require you to perform in order to pass the driving test.

Many learner drivers fail to pass the current UK driving test on manuovers due to simple driver errors that could easily be avoided, and would only cost a little extra effort on the candidate's part.

Key driving maneuver skills

The video above shows you how to do the parallel parking exercise to the desired DSA standard. It was shot in a Toyota Yaris, but the reference points should work in other vehicles.

The key driving skills that the DSA examiner is looking for while performing manoeuvres on the driving test are ability to carry out the set exercise correctly in a safe manner and under control. This is one of the reasons why a lot of foreign licence holders have problems passing the driving test, they can do the maneuver okay, but according to the standards required, it was not safe or the examiner deemed the driver not to be in complete control of the car all the way through the exercise.

So what does the potential full British licence holder have to do to get that coveted pass cerificate and succeed while carrying out maneuvers on the practical car assessment?

Know what is the required standard for each set exercise, in particular that you must look through the rear windscreen when reversing, and not use the interior mirror to look behind (it doesn't matter if you hold a foreign international licence and have used this method for 10, 15 years without an accident), as this is not safe according to the DSA whether you agree with them or not.

Get a free Giffgaff Sim

Keep the car slow while performing any maneuvers, making sure you start with the POM routine system, and continue to take effective observations throughout the maneuver giving way to other road users (including pedestrians) where necessary. If in doubt as to whether it is safe to proceed or not, stop and secure the car using the handbrake, have a good look all around and then continue, always using POM. You should not rush to complete the exercise, safety should be paramount, while avoiding undue hesistation. This is where having the advice of a professional instructor can help with passing the driving test, as they have the experience and knowledge to be able to guide you through the various scenarios that you might encounter on each maneuver.

Left reverse round the corner

Reversing round the corner to the left (or right if you do the test in a van without a rear windscreen) is in my opinion the hardest driving test maneuver that a learner driver can be asked to perform by the DSA examiner, especially on a busy road, and this is why it is important that you have had enough practise of carrying out this driving test maneuver on various roads with different degrees of bends on the corners and also on busy roads as well as quiet ones.

Parking Brake and Maneuvers

It is not compulsary to used the parking brake (handbrake) if you stop while performing a maneuver, but the extra effort and time required to do this could potentiallly prevent you from committing a serious driver error if the car rolled out of control and hit the kerb, goes forward when you are trying to move off up a slight hill.

official guide to passing uk driving test
If you are struggling with the maneuvers, then you might want to get the DSA official guide to passing the driving test, which contains videos clips from an actual official driving test being conducted by an examiner and a user guide with step by step explanations to show you how everything should be done to the required dsa standard.

In summary, while you might think that maneuvers can be difficult, there is no reason why you can not pass the driving test no matter what set exercise you get, as you can practice all of them until you can perfectly carry them out.

Are You Ready For The Driving Test

Did you know that the number one reason many candidates do not pass the UK driving test is JUNCTIONS? Are you ready for the DSA examiner?

Common Driving Test Mistakes
I am going to list below some of the most common mistakes that candidates make on the UK driving test and gets them a serious or major dsa fault.

1. Observations: You need to make sure that you take effective observations before you commence and during your driving test manuevers. Safety should be your main concern, and if for any reason you are not sure, stop check and then continue. Pedestrians can come from anywhere, and they can esily be missed, so be slow and observant.

2. Junctions: This is the number one cause of failure on the UK car driving test, and covers roundabouts, T-junctions and being able to emerge safely, speed on approach to a junction. Undue hesitation and knowing when it is safe to proceed without being a danger to other road users. The video below should be of help in this area.

3. Road signs and markings: Most candidates concentrate mainly on speed limits, but there is more important information or instructions that signs or markings might be giving you as a driver. If you cross a solid white line for example, it could be a failure, lanes closures on dual carriaways, temporary lights or road works are all things that you need to be aware of.

4. In-Correct use of signals: On the driving test, the DSA examiner expects you to be able to correctly use signals and indicators to inform other road users of your intentions. You need to signal in good time, if necessary, and cancel the signal after turning, exiting a roundabout or changing lanes on a dual carriageway.

Don't forget the highway code is the standard expected, so master it as it could save you from make a simple error that would result in failure, revise it when not taking practical lessons!

Stalling on the driving test

It is not a big deal if you stall the car on the driving test, but you need to recover the car the correct way. There is no point in panicing, you've already got a driver error for the mistake, and you don't want to accumulate more or get a serious for doing something dangerous if you want to pass the test, so follow the tip given below.

The first thing you should do if your car stalls, is to secure the car from rolling out of control, by applying the handbrake (also known as parking brake). You can now put the car in neutral if necessary (if you stalled because you were trying to move off in 2nd or 3rd gear), otherwise you can press the clutch down and restart the engine if you were in reverse or first gear.

You can now get the car prepared (make sure you have the biting point if you are doing a hill start), do your observations (very important, as cars, motorbikes or cyclists might be trying to get round you), and then move off when it is safe. I know cars around you might be harrassing you, but you've already made the mistake, and you need to keep your cool to avoid falling your test due to the aggression of these other road users (this is why you need to practice this during your driving lessons).

There is no reason why you shouldn't pass your driving test even if you stall your car, I did.

If you stall the car a lot during driving lessons, then you need to find out why, is it because you've just changed to a petrol car which can be very different to diesel, or the vehicle has just been changed by the instructor and the clutch is different, what ever the case is, go somewhere quiet and practise until you get it right.

This will boost your confidence when you get to more busy traffic conditions, and especially on the DSA driving test.

Extra test advice
Passing the test guaranteed by some organisations.

Pass the Driving Test

If you want to pass the UK car driving test, then you must follow the rules of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) who sets the practical car assessment.

Many learner drivers do not give the UK pratical car driving test the credit it is due, as it is one of the toughest examinations in the world that a civilian takes in order to get a full driving licence, and the figures speaks for themselves. Of over 3 Millions tests taken in a year, only 40% of candidates pass!

Driver Requirements
In order to take the UK practical car skills assessment, the candidate must be over the age of 17, possess a current provisional driving licence, have passed the DSA's driving theory test and be normally resident in the UK, in addition to this you will have to provide the car (majority of learner drivers use their driving instructor's dual controlled vehicle) to be used which must be roadworthy to the DVLA standard and adequately insured (this rules out using a hire car from Hertz, Europacar, ZipCar, etc). Before the start of your test, the DSA examiner will ask you to sign a declaration to this effect.
You must arrive on time for your appointment, if you are more than 5 minutes late, your driving test will not go ahead, you will lose your fee and have to wait 10 days before you can book another practical car test.

DSA UK Driving Test
The DSA practical car driving test lasts about 40 minutes and consists of 2 parts, the eye sight assessment and then the actual practical driving skills test.
Before you are allowed anywhere near your private or driving school car, the DSA examiner will request you read a car number plate from a distance of about 20 metres or 20.5 metres depending on the type of number plate. You will be given up to 3 chances to read the numbers, the 3rd will involve the examiner measuring the exact distance using a tape, and if you still fail to correctly identify the numbers on the DVLA specification registration plate (you can write them down if you have a problem speaking english) then you will not be allowed to do the practical driving aspect, and will be deemed to have failed.

Show Me Tell Me
The test will begin with 2 vehicle safety questions normaly refered to as Show me and Tell me, this could involve you having to open the car bonnet and identifying the engine coolant and how to check it is at the required level for example or knowing how to diagnose if the ABS system is working correctly.
It is important to know that you can't currently fail the driving test if you incorrectly answer both show and tell questions, though you will be given a driver error.

40 minutes with the DSA examiner

Once you've been asked to get into the car and make yourself comfortable, the driving examiner will walk round the car presented for the test to make sure that it is roadworthy. Things that are being looked for are that the tyres are legal, non of the lights or lamps are broken, and the car is displaying regulation 'L' plates. This is one of the reasons why it is important that you read the driving test appointment letter sent to you in the post. I have seen many learner drivers (mostly those using private cars) denied the opportunity of going out because the DSA examiner found a defect in the car which could not be fixed within 5 minutes of it being pointed out. If this happens then you will lose your booking fee and go home empty handed without a pass certificate.

If everything is okay, the examiner will get into the driving test car, complete his/her paperwork, then give you a brief synopsis of what will happen during the next 35 - 40 minutes, you will expected to drive on a variety of roads of different speed limits under various traffic load conditions, carry out at least 2 driving skills manoeuvres and might also be expected to do an emergency stop.
Important Instruction! The examiner will now say 'I would like you to follow the road ahead unless road signs indicate otherwise, If I need you to turn, I will let you know in good time'. You must take note of this, as if you get to a junction and are not giving an instruction, then you need to follow the road ahead or obey the road signs (compulsory left or right turn).

If you are able to complete the 40 minutes of the assessment, driving at the standard required by the DSA, without committing a serious or dangerous error and do not accumulate more than 15 ordinary faults, then you will pass the driving test, otherwise at the end you will hear those dreaded words 'that's the end of the test, I'm sorry to say you haven't passed, would you like me to explain why?'

I hope over the coming days to give you various driving test tips, hints and information that will help you to achieve your goal, hope that you will be able to learn from other learner driver's mistakes and the experience that I have accumualated over the years and finally pass the driving test.
Your comments are welcome, and I will try to answer all queries, but please note that I might be constrained by time and other commitments.

Additional Reading
Guarantted driving test passes

Best time to book Test

Are you willing to pay for a guaranteed pass on your next driving test? Click here for more details.

What is the best time to book the driving test is a very common question that I get asked all the time, so let's have a look at it, and see when is the best time that you have a greater chance of passing the driving test, first watch the video below:

It is important that you do not book the DSA practical car driving test until you have reached the required standard, and have fully covered all topics on the syllabus. An easy way of know this is using the DSA's driver record, you should be at a level 5 on most of the driver skills and definately a consistent 4 on all of them.
There should be nothing on the driving test that you should be hoping you don't get. Multi-Lane roundabouts, 70MPH dual carriageways, left reverse round the corner or emergency stop, you should be able to do them to the required standard, you don't have to like them, just be able to do them.

If there is anything you are having problems with, then practice or get your driving instructor/supervising driver to explain it to you, as this will greatly increase your confidence on the practical assessment, and reduce the effects of driving test nerves.

Time of the day for driving test

Most people will say don't book your driving test during rush hour, as you are more likely to fail due to the busier traffic conditions and the fact that people in a hurry can either cause you t make a serious driver error or do something which you might not be able to safely deal with.
If you book your driving test between 08:00, 09:00 or 9:30 then yes the roads would generally be busier, other road users would be less tolerant of learner drivers and you the test candidate will need to be more confident with your driving skills and decision making especially when emerging to turn right at a junction or at a roundabout, does this mean you have a lesser chance of passing the driving test? Not if you are fuly prepared, and have enough on the road experience via professional driving lessons of these conditions. Someone has to take their driving tests during rush hour!

Off Peak driving tests
Most people will try and book their driving test during a time when they think the roads will be quiet, hoping that traffic will be light and thus increase their chances of getting that full driving licence, but this not necessarily true as if you have problems dealing with the Swindon magic roundabout or Apex corner, then the time of the day will not make much difference as your confidence will go down immediately you get to the junction.
You will also have to be able to make quick progress off peak as road conditions will mean driving closer to speed limits especially on dual carriage which you are more likely to get if your test is not during rush hour.

So if you want to know the best time to book your driving test in order to pass, then you've got the answer.

Don't forget the highway code is the standard expected, so master it as it could save you from make a simple error that would result in failure, revise it when not taking practical lessons!

More Reading
Top 10 driving test failure faults
Guaranteed driving test pass schemes.
Failed the driving test?
DSA Test Maneuvers.
Booking driving test, ADI number not required.

DSA driving test examiner marking

You must concentrate on what you are doing during the practical car assessment if you want to pass the driving test.

Don't be bothered everytime the DSA examiner writes on his/her clipboard, even if you've made a mistake. It is more important that you deal with what is happening on the road, and how you are going to safely negotiate the situation, than wondering if that was a serious fault that the examiner has marked on the DL25 driving test report.

Sometimes the examiner might not be marking a fault, it might be a tick in a box to indicate which set exercise you just performed, a note of how many times you've been pulled over on the left (they usually do this 3 or 4 times and will put a mark on the sheet to keep tally).

Of course they will also write on the clipboard if you make a mistake, but sometimes it might not be immediately after as there might be other hazards which need to be dealt with so they would be watching to make sure they don't miss your reaction, and will make notes after the whole situation has passed, so don't think you got away for not signalling at the last junction just because the examiner didn't write on the test report immediately after.

Whatever the case, keep your mind on performing the driving skills to the best of your ability and at the DSA standard so you have a better chance of passing the driving test. You might be surprised that what you thought was a serious mistake was only a driver error and that you had succeeded!

Read also Top ten mistakes to avoid on driving test.

Driving test guarantee