Biggest reasons for failing the driving test

Failing a driving test is not a fun experience. We have listed the top 5 reasons for people failing their driving tests in the UK in the hope that it will help you or someone that you know. So without further ado, here they are:

  1. Observations at junctions

  2. Use of mirrors

  3. Moving away

  4. Use of signals

  5. Manoeuvres

Observations at junctions

This can come in many forms. Usually a learner will come out of the junction when they should have waited. Misjudging the distance of an oncoming vehicle that has priority or not seeing at all is common.

Here are some tips for avoiding making these types of faults:

  • Don’t rush to come out of a junction

  • If your view is obstructed, use the peep and creep technique

  • Use shop windows and other cars to look for reflections

  • Double check before committing yourself into the junction

  • Make sure you understand who has priority, if in doubt take a second to think about it

Use of mirrors

If you are finding it difficult to deal with the mirrors, the thing to remember is that you will be required to use your mirrors before doing either of the following:

  • Signalling

  • Changing direction

  • Changing speed

That may not sound like a lot of times but when you are driving, you will be doing the above quite a lot.

Here are some tips on dealing with mirrors:

  • Don’t change lanes without first checking that there is no one there.

  • Look out for when lanes are merging together and check for traffic merging with your lane

  • If you need to brake sharply, check centre mirror first ( Unless you are doing emergency stop )

  • When signalling just remember this routine – MIRROR MIRROR SIGNAL

Moving Away

When moving away, you will be marked on whether you move away:

  • Under control

  • Safely

Most people fail under the safely section. This is due mainly to poor observation before they move off.

Some tips for moving away safely:

  • Make sure you check all your blind spots

  • If you are moving out to the right then the right blind should be the last place you check before moving off

  • Don’t leave too much time before checking the blind spot and moving off

  • If time has passed since you checked your blind spot, check it again before moving off

  • Don’t move off as you are checking, make sure it is clear before you move off

Use of signals

When it comes to use of signals, you will be forgiven for thinking that the only way to get this wrong is by not signalling. On the test, you will be assessed on whether you used the signals:

  • Correctly

  • Timely

  • Necessarily

If we look at correctly, there are a few ways you can get faults on this. A typical way will be at roundabouts, particularly the bigger ones where someone might not signal to come off a roundabout or fail to signal right when they are going to the right 3rd exit.

Timely is basically to do with the timing of your signal. Signalling too early can confuse other road users, likewise so can signalling too late.

Sometimes people signal unnecessarily. An example would be signalling to go round a bus and people thinking you are turning right.

The main thing to ask yourself before you signal is: What is this signal telling other drivers? If you can put yourself in their shoes it might help you to decide what sort of signal to use.


There are four manoeuvres the examiner can choose from. During the test you will be asked to complete one of them.

They are:

  • Parallel park

  • Driving forward into a bay and reversing out

  • Pulling up on the right and reversing

  • Reverse bay park