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Why People Fail Driving Tests

Why People Fail Driving Tests

This question has baffled people for a long time. Learner drivers want to know what they have done wrong during their practical on the road test, so that they can avoid making the same mistakes twice.

Fortunately, driving examiners will have a detailed list of errors that they can share with the student after the test has been completed. Driving examiners are not trying to trip up the student by tricking them into performing an illegal act that will disqualify them. For those who have not yet taken their driving test, these suggestions can help students to avoid having to go through with the driving test again.


Observation may seem to be a small part of a driving test, but it is actually a very significant part of safe driving. When the driving instructor sits down beside the student, they will be observing them for the duration of the test and making sure that they watch the road ahead. This means that whenever they get to an intersection, crossroads or even a set of red traffic lights, that they are observant at all times and act accordingly. Making a correct turn at a stop sign means coming to a complete stop and then looking left and right for traffic and halting if another vehicle is coming. Students must also alert other motorists of their intentions, by using their indicators. Failure to exercise proper observation and due care will mean an instant fail, because it does not prove to the driving instructor that they are sitting beside a safe, cautious driver.


It is very important to keep within the legal speed limit at all times during the driving test. Failure to do so will mean instant disqualification. Students should keep an eye on the speed that they are doing and adjust it to the road conditions. That means if the posted speed limit is 35mph but the road ahead is icy, a lower speed limit would be more appropriate. This shows the examiner that the student is alert to the need to slow down, even though the posted speed limit is higher.

Operating the Car

By the time a student books their driving test, they should know how to operate the car. However, if they cannot prove to the examiner that they are in full control of the car and know how to drive it correctly, then they will not pass their driving test. For example, if taking the test in a manual transmission car, the student must know how to change gears according to the speed that they are traveling, and use the clutch. Drivers must also know how to find the “biting point” when using clutch control and try to prevent the car from stalling. Stalling the car once will not be viewed as a reason for failure, but as a minor fault, as long as the student recovers from it and proceeds well during the rest of the examination.


Part of the driving test will involve manoeuvres such as performing an emergency stop, doing a three point turn and parallel parking. A student needs to know how to carry out these requests when asked to do so and show the examiner that they can competently manoeuvre the car. They must also watch the road carefully during these procedures and be mindful of the appearance of small children and other vulnerable road users. The driving examiner will expect the student to stop or slow down if there is any obstruction and continue with the manoeuvre only when it is safe to do so.

Near Crash

A student who does not give way to oncoming traffic and almost causes a collision will fail their driving test. It is as simple as that. As far as the examiner is concerned the student did not obey an important traffic law and is therefore a danger on the road.

Driving examiners are not looking for perfection when examining student drivers. They simply want to see the car driven responsibly and skilfully. A student will be nervous when taking their driving test, which is quite natural, but they need to show that they can overcome their nerves and prove that they have earned the right to drive alongside more experienced drivers on the road. By doing this, they will be more likely to pass, rather than fail their driving test.

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21 Responses and Counting...

  1. Kelsey

    April 29, 2007

    This really will make me pass my drivers test i have taken it 19 times

  2. lee

    April 29, 2007

    My examiner actually distracted me from the road by making me clean my rear windscreen just at the time a major road sign was coming up so that i would miss it and i did and failed i was more worried that id get a bad mark for not cleaning it as the visability was effected.Up till that point i didnt even has any minors i felt so angry i imediatly realised what he had done! to me.

  3. melissa

    April 29, 2007

    its funy i passed an did everything wrong i tured left wen i was supose 2 turn ryt i was driving on the wrong side of the street..i went 2 slow..had the heat high..idk y i passed

  4. chelsea

    April 29, 2007

    i failed twice. once, because i couldnt park. the second time, because i ‘bumped’ the curb parking. im terrified to take my test this saturday.

  5. kamrann

    April 29, 2007

    i wanna pass my test in first attempt as i have driven a car about 7 months in UK on international driving licence and during this my period i didn’t do any serious fault.
    please pray for me to pass in first attempt becouse i passed theory test 50 from 50 and hazzard 56 from 75 in first exam
    may God help me


  6. kamran

    April 29, 2007

    i failed this test today it was a worst day for me.i was fully sure that i ‘ll pass my test but i was astonished when i saw the examiner has given me serious mistake so my morale fell down.my driving was alright i think pass or fail depends on examiner’s psychology.if he think that he will pass him then major mistake sometime become minor mistake so i think practical car test method is totally wrong and strange becouse many capable drivers are suffering from these bad rules.we are human being we are not machines who operate as examiner think.if a person drive right without being danger to others then why he suffer from failure

  7. Kat

    April 29, 2007

    I always thought I was a pretty good driver. My instructor and my mother both said I was very good. Then when I took the test, I failed. I guess it was because I was nervous, the test instructor gave me this glare the whole entire time, and then I accidentlly pulled into the wrong parking lot for Parallel Parking. I automatically failed. He just grabbed my keys, slammed the door and left me there.

    ): I never cried so much in my entire life.

  8. Frances

    April 29, 2007

    I’m from California and when I went to the DMV, I failed the first driving test because the examiner said that I needed to practice my right turns and accelerate the vehicle more smoothly. Hoping that I would pass the test the next time, it was even worse the second time around. Everything went smoothly during my second try but I failed immediately near the end of the test because I was about to turn right and a car was coming down. They had the right of way and I didn’t. Even though, I failed the second time, I learned a great deal of being a more careful and skillful driver. Third time, I passed and I’m so happy!

  9. Rinz

    April 29, 2007

    i stalled at the top of a hill, slightly hit the curb twice and moved off in 3rd gear……I STILL PASSED! i think it matters who is examining you and of course if u can drive but my examiner thought that i was a good driver even though technically i should have failed because i hit the curb. i continued my whole test thinking i had failed but i didnt, so the test isnt over until the examiner says “ok please turn off your engine”.

  10. meghan

    April 29, 2007

    I forgot what gear i was in when doing a 3 point turn, thought i was in reverse but was in 1st how stupid of me. I failed but next time it will not happen for sure.

  11. lauren

    April 29, 2007

    the test is extremly scary but i think its important that you just concentrate and do your best. I failed the first time and have my test again next week, so i’m hoping i’ll pass!! but its about luck on the day and hoping you get no confrontation which may panick you or get in your way!!
    I failed the first time as i was doing a hill start and he told me to move off to i signelled and a women stoped to let me out so i had to go but because i caused her to slow down from putting my indictator on i failed! Hopefully i’ll be more lucky next week!!

  12. Cini

    April 29, 2007

    I failed today =(.
    I came into oncoming traffic and they took on an EXTREMELY small road to do a three point turn on- on purpose!!!

  13. Yaz

    April 29, 2007

    I failed first time for coming out of a side road at the wrong time, failed second time for hesitating twice, but what can you expect when you’ve got a women examiner sat next to you asking you questions through out the whole 45mins test, I have another test booked for tomorrow morning, fingers crossed it’s going to be a third time lucky PASS,

  14. GP

    April 29, 2007

    I failed my test on my 1st attempt because of the attitude of the examiner. Her instructions were not clear and she was rude. I committed 9 driving faults and 1 serious fault which am sure was minor. I was accompanied by my wife who is a qualified driver and she disagreed too.The lady examinor said I would have stopped when reverse parking but it was not necessary since the car approaching had a lot of space to pass. Besides I had almost finished the whole reverse parking. I pray I get a male examinor next time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. JM

    April 29, 2007

    i failed my first time because i was nervous the state police came and did 7 faults especially the parellel parking but now i reealize my mistake and make sure I fix those 7 mistakes so that I can get my license

  16. S

    April 29, 2007

    Every test booking they earn money
    I have given so many times all it takes is your luck and
    a good examiner (in a good mood) !

  17. Kel

    April 29, 2007

    I took my road test yesterday…
    It was on a closed course so all i had to do was look at the signs, follow the course & listen to what my instructor told me to do.
    I did everything perfectly… i stopped at every stop sign, used my blinker for every turn, checked all directinos before pulling out into the next road. Everything was perfect… until parallel parking.
    I pulled into the parking lot they set up & pulled up next to all the cones. i backed up and was diagonally in the space getting ready to cut the other way to straighten out. what i didn’t realize was that i was already against the curb… i tapped the gas, but instead of just backing up a little bit i completely went over the curb! My instructor grabbed the emergency brake and was just like, “Do you know where you are?” … DUHHHHH I’M ON THE FRIGGIN CURB! DID YOU NOT JUST FEEL US HIT IT?! << i didn’t actually say that, but i was definately thinking it….
    I had practiced parallel parking a million times and i could do it perfectly…. my instructor was really nice & i was calm the entire time….. i honestly don’t know what went wrong.
    Needless to say, I didn’t pass =/
    Worst part is, even though legally you only have to wait two weeks to take the test again, every DMV near me is booked until a month from now. I’m the last one out of all my friends to take my test since my birthday is so late in the year & now I have to wait another MONTH! fml =/

  18. BR

    April 29, 2007

    I just took my drivers test and i failed :[. The first 3 minutes i already screwed up and i knew i was going to fail. The instructor told me to go left and i was about to go right. I was so nervous that i thought he said right. Also i was in the wrong lane to make a left hand turn. So it was a automatic fail :[. I have my next test in two days so i hope i pass :/.

  19. Timber

    April 29, 2007

    I failed my drivings test today. It was because I hit the cones when parking. I thought it was sort of dumb because when we ended the test i parked perfectly.And the instructor said i did everything else beautifully…but i gues it didnt matter. Hopefully i pass the test when i take it again in 3 days.

  20. hannah

    April 29, 2007

    hello!im taking my road test tommorrow in fishkill, new york. im so nervous! how did you guys stay calm during the road test? because i cannot stop freaking out. i think about the road test in and out.

  21. Ginny

    April 29, 2007

    My daughter now has failed 3 times at her drivers test out here in AZ., and she is 27 years old! I have been her instructor for nearly 2 years now. She has got to stop being nervous and follow thru and do it correctly. I wish we had a professional driving school out here in our area; we don’t. :(

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