10 reasons not passing driving test

Here are the top 10 reasons for failing to pass the driving test according to the DSA, the government appointed body responsible for conducting over 1.5M practical car driving tests each year with a failure rate of 60%. I have included some driving videos to help understand some of the skills expected by the examiner.

Observation at junctions, including roundabouts. Candidates fail to make effective observations and exercise good judgement especially when emerging at a T junction or crossing the path of oncoming cars either because they are in a hurry or feel pressurised by vehicles behind them.

Use of car mirrors. Not checking or failing to act on information provided by looking at mirrors, it is not just a matter of going through the motions of moving the head to please the DSA examiner, you need to react to what you see safely.

Reversing around a corner. This is one of the hardest driving test maneuvers, and ineffective observation during this set exercise or a lack of accuracy and good control of the car causes a lot of learner drivers not to pass the test at this point.

Incorrect use of signals The driver does not cancelling an indicator after use or more importantly giving out misleading signals on the driving test to other road users including pedestrians is another reason for failing.

Reverse parking exercise Ineffective observation in particular not looking behind through the rear windscreen (you can't reverse using the interior mirror) or lack of accuracy and control, usually hitting the kerb or going too fast.

Moving away safely Ineffective observation before moving off (a 6 point check will always avoid this), and because you will be asked to pull up on the left and then move away about 4 times during the driving test, you need to make this a habit starting with your driving lessons, otherwise you will be caught o
ut by the test examiner, and it is a stupid driving error to fail on!

Incorrect positioning on the road At roundabouts use the correct lane, obey road markings and stay in your lane while driving on dualcarriageways expescial on bends.

Lack of steering control Steering too early or too late, especially if you have the habit of crossing your hands is another reason for failing to pass the practical car driving assessment.

Incorrect positioning turning right At junctions, roundabouts and on one way streets, make sure you have the car in the correct position, don't cross the middle line in the road and don't cut the corner.

Inappropriate speed Many learner drivers fail the test for driving too slowly, and wonder why, when they think they are being safe! You can't of course pass the driving test if you break the speed limit.

Make sure none of the above driving errors is giving you any serious problems before booking your driving test, otherwise you will just be one of the 60% that does not pass the test.

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Driving Test Confidence

If you want to have a good chance of passing the driving test, then you need to be confident of your driving skills ability, and that you can perform to the DSA standard on the day of your practical car driving assessment. If you don't believe that you can pass the test, then you probably won't!

As a DSA approved instructor, over the years I've seen many learner drivers who have taken the required driving lessons, are at the required standard needed to pass, but yet I have to continually boost their confidence telling them that they are ready to take on the DSA driving examiner for the 40 minute car test.

Here is a checklist that should help you to be confident in the knowledge that you are ready to pass the driving test.

Driving Lessons

Have you taken the prerequisite number of driving lessons with an approved instructor who offers quality tuition covering the complete DSA syllabus as detailed in the driver's record and not just the first person you found offering the cheapest driving lessons in your area.
There are two things that needs to be covered by anyone teaching you to drive a car before you should consider yourself confident enough to book and take the driving test.
You need to learn the driving skills as expected by the driving examiner, so for example your instructor or supervising driver will show you how to carry out the parallel parking exercise to the test standard.
You also need to have enough experience of carrying out this exercise in various road conditions and situations. It is no use knowing how to do the reverse parking manuover, but can't deal safely with cars or pedestrians that turn up during the maneuver while on the test either because you've never been in such a situation before, or you've not be told the DSA standard of dealing with such situations. Experience is very important, so get enough practise doing all the driving skills as many times as possible to boost your confidence.

Believe in your instructor

If you've been preparing for the driving test with an instructor, and they advice you that you've reached the standard of the practical car assessment, then you must trust their judgment, knowledge and experience. If you don't trust your driving instructor, then why are you still paying them to give you a service that you think is second class? Usually ADI's will be telling candidates that they aren't quite ready for a test, so there is no excuse for not trusting on this one, even if you feel you aren't, then at least give it a go. Being nervous about it is common, but if you concentrate on the task at hand, then you should be okay.

Driving Knowledge Builds Confidence

Another way of building confidence is if you know the rules and regulations that govern the roads that you drive on. I've lost count of the number of times a learner driver approaches a roundabout in the UK and slows down because a car seems to be driving fast towards the junction from the left. If you know that you have the right of way, then you would approach with confidence knowing that the car will have to stop for you, or have to explain why it ran into you at the roundabout.
If you've passed the driving theory test, then the DSA driving examiner expects you to use the information while out on the road, so slowing down for cars on side roads that have give way signs, not obeying road markings or sign all affect your confidence.

I advice any driving test candidate to read the highway code in between lessons, to remind them of the information they gained from passing the theory test which could be almost 2 years ago.

It is up to you be confident about your driving test, as getting that pass certificate depends on your ability to demonstrate to the DSA driving examiner, that you deserve that full British licence.

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Signals on Driving Test

Here are some driving test tips that should help you with your signalling decisions (use of indictors) on the UK driving test. Remember that the dsa examiner will mark incorrect use of signals on the DL25 report sheet, and it is possible to fail the practical car assessment for wrong use of indicators.

1. You should always signal at a junction during the driving test, irresective of if it is a compulsory left or right turn. This also applies to whether a car is around or not when you get to the junction.

2. Remember to signal left to leave a major roundabout. The timing of the signal should be right, and not misleading, and is as you go past the exit before the one you need. So if coming off at the 3rd exit, you will put your indicators for turning left as you go past the 2nd exit.

3. You should not be using your indicators during maneuvers on the test, as there should be nobody around to benefit from them when the car moves. Use of the reverse and brake lights to inform other road users of your intentions is however required. Your driving instructor's advice should be followed here, especially for the reverse parking exercise.

4. Don't get into the habit of always signalling right to move off from a parked position on the left. While the DSA driving examiner can not penalise you for this, if you forget to cancel the signal or the timing leads to confusion for other road users, it could cost you the driving test. If there are cars approaching from behind, and there is not a safe gap, don't signal to come out, wait till they've gone or a safe gap appears, and you can move off without signaling.

5. You should always signal when changing lanes on a dual carriageway or any other road with more than one lane travelling in the same direction.

I hope you've found all of these tips useful, and that they help in your quest to pass the driving test, if so your comments are always welcome, and don't forget to share this information with your mates who are also learners.

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Common Driving Test Mistakes

Here in the UK, you can make mistakes on the driving test and still pass the DSA practical car assessment (I was told you can't make mistakes in the Netherlands, which is part of the EU).

The DSA driving examiner does not expect you to be a perfect driver, and you are allowed up 15 driving errors on the test (as long as they are not classified as serious or dangerous), with each mistake marked on the DL25 test report sheet underneath the appropriate section as the assessment takes place. I've already mentioned before that you should not take note of the driving examiner's marking, but it is important also that you don't giveup hope while on the driving test, no matter the mistake you make during the 40 minutes that the examiner is in the car with you.

The most sensible thing you can do if you make a mistake during the driving test is correct it if possible, so if you wanted to select a particular gear to go up a hill, don't allow the car to struggle all the way up if you accidentally got the wrong gear. The examiner might not mark you down if you make the correction immediately, but you would definately get a driver error if you allow the car to continue in the wrong gear.

The other thing to bear in mind is that the driving test is not over until you get back in to the test centre and the examiner tells you to turn off the car engine, therefore you don't know that you have passed or failed especially if you made a mistake which your instructor has told you not to do on the test (touch the kerb during turn in the road). The DSA examiner does have some discretion to use, and while you want to drive at the required standard, you must not give up hope on any mistakes you make, as you could still pass the driving test if the examiner decides to be lenient on you.

Important! If you are not learning to drive with an instructor, it is important that BOTH you and the person teaching you to drive read The DSA official test guide, this book will greatly increase your chance of passing the driving test without spending too much money on lessons.

See also reasons for failing driving test and driving test guarantees.

Road Signs and Markings on the Driving Test

Junctions on the Test

Turn in the Road 3 Point Turn

Listen to driving instructor advice

This might seem an obvious driving test tip, but I must stress that if you really want to have a good chance of passing the uk driving test, then you need to listen to the advice given to you by a DSA approved driving instructor.

From experience, I know that a lot of learner drivers think that when ever an ADI says you are not ready for the test, they think that the instructor says this only because they want more driving lessons and money from you! If you are told to postpone a test, you should ask the question why, and find out what it is you have to do to be in a better position to pass the test.

Another thing you can do is get a second opinion on your driving skills by taking an assessment lesson with a different instructor, if the feedback to get is similiar to the recommendation from your normal ADI, then you do have some work to do before you should put yourself in for the DSA practical car test at any centre.
Many learner drivers are very quick to take advice from family members or friends when it comes to the test, but think about this, would these advisors of yours be able to pass the current driving test without taking any professional instruction?

An approved driving instructor has all the knowledge and driving skills to pass the test as required by a DSA examiner, so they are the best person able to let you know if you have reached the required standard, you should also make sure you have covered all the skills mentioned in the DSA drivers record available from the driving standards agency website.

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