How to overcome a driving test failure

Failing your test can feel like a huge blow to your confidence, and it can be tempting to have a few weeks off to get over it. The problem with this is skills fade: the longer you spend away from the car, the more you’ll forget how to drive at a high standard. Try not to leave it more than a few days before booking your next lesson.

the driving test failure are common in the UK and those of us who fail to do so for the same reasons.

Any fault could be a driving fault, serious fault or dangerous fault. The situation in which the fault occurs in would dictate whether the fault is classed as a minor or major fault.

There are three types of faults:

  • dangerous fault includes anything which causes danger to you, the examiner, the public or property and is the most serious of all the faults. This is known as a major fault. So, for example, a pupil fails to check his exterior right door mirror before moving right around a parked car. But there is a motorbike close behind and the motorbike rider has to brake. This has caused another road user to take avoiding action and this would be assessed as a dangerous fault or a major fault.
  • serious fault includes anything which could be potentially dangerous to you, the examiner, the public or property. A serious fault is also known as a major fault. In this example a pupil fails to check his exterior right door mirror before moving right around the same parked car, however this time there is a motorbike well behind. As the motorbike rider could be affected this would be assessed as a serious fault or a major fault.
  • driving fault includes faults which are not potentially dangerous. These are known as minor faults in your test. If you repeatedly make the same fault it can become a serious fault. For this example, a pupil fails to check his exterior right door mirror before moving right around a parked car. But there is no other road user about that can be affected, so this is assessed as a driving fault or a minor fault.

On the driving test, a pupil can have 15 driving faults (minor faults) and still pass. However, any serious or dangerous faults (major faults) would fail a pupil. An accumulation of driving faults (minor faults) in one area, i.e. checking mirrors before a change of direction, would show there is a pattern developing in this area and sooner or later this will lead to the fault being serious or dangerous. Therefore this would be assessed as a serious fault and lead to a fail.

The most common driving test fails

First things first: let’s look at the most common reasons people failed the new style driving test, which came in on 4 December 2017. Between then and 3 December 2018, the top reasons according to the DVSA were:

  1. Junctions: observation
  2. Mirrors: change direction
  3. Control: steering
  4. Junctions: turning right
  5. Move off: safely
  6. Response to signs: traffic lights
  7. Move off: control
  8. Positioning: normal driving
  9. Response to signs: road markings
  10. Reverse park: control

The top two on the list – not looking around enough at junctions and not using mirrors correctly when changing direction – were the cause of 40% test failures.

Book another driving test

Your driving instructor won’t suggest you book a test until they feel you’re ready, so if they’ve suggested it previously, they obviously rate your chances of passing fairly highly.

When you’re rebooking your test, you need to choose a date at least 10 working days away.

Get an extra practice

Speak with your driving instructor about having some extra lessons before your test, to fix any problem areas the examiner identified during your first attempt.

These might be about observation, control of the car or something else – you should be given a copy of your driving test report outlining where you’ve gone wrong. Your instructor can also provide tips on how to overcome driving test nerves.

Top tip

If your instructor gives you the green light to book your driving test, it means he thinks you’re ready! Any mistakes you make are likely to be caused by nerves, so we’d recommend taking a driving lesson an hour before your driving test. That will give you a valuable chance to get comfy behind the wheel and calm those nerves.

How to dispute a driving test result

There are some circumstances in which you can dispute a failed driving test result, such as if you believe the examiner hasn’t conducted the test in line with the regulations or has discriminated against you. 

Even if successful, you won’t be given a pass certificate and will have to retake your test, but you could recoup any out-of-pocket expenses (like the cost of rebooking your test, and the use of your instructor’s car) if the complaint rules in your favour.

Posted on Aug 28, 2020 by Sam

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How to overcome a driving test failure