The standard driving test mark sheet has lots of different categories, all of which are important parts of the test. If you miss the mark in one of these categories, you can risk failing your test. Fortunately, the most common reasons for failing the practical test are easy to know because the government publishes them every year. Each year, the top ten reasons change around a little but tend to consist of the same faults. Here are the five most common reasons from 2018/19.
1. Lack of Observation at Junctions
Lack of proper observation at junctions has been the top reason for failing the driving test every single year since 2006. It’s clearly something that learners struggle with, but it’s also important to pay attention to it. If you’re taking your test, you need to be able to demonstrate effective observation when approaching and emerging from a junction. Failure to do this can be very dangerous, and it will mean that you aren’t able to pass your test.
2. Not Using Mirrors When Changing Direction
Under the “use of mirrors” category in the driving test, you will need to show that you know how to use your mirrors as an effective tool while driving. Your mirrors are there to help you watch out for hazards and position your car correctly, so it just doesn’t make sense not to use them. Neglecting to check them when changing direction is one of the most common faults for people taking their driving test.
3. Poor Steering Control
Several different skills are measured under the “control” section of your driving test. The eight subcategories test your ability to use the clutch, accelerator, steering wheel, footbrake, parking brake, and gears. Poor steering control is usually the third most common reason for failing the test. You need to demonstrate that you can steer smoothly without swerving and that you can remain in control of your vehicle. And, of course, keep your hands on the steering wheel.
4. Incorrectly Turning Right at Junctions
Junctions are a common sticking point for driving tests. Not only do many people fail to be sufficiently observant, but they struggle with turning right at junctions too. When you’re turning right, you should indicate to other road users and pedestrians what you’re doing, using both your indicator and the position of your car. You need to show that you can approach the junction correctly, use your mirrors and signal properly, and wait your turn.
5. Failing to Move Off Safely
Your instructor will be checking your ability to move off smoothly and safely during your test. You should demonstrate that you know how to carry out the correct observations before you move off, including checking your blind spot. This part of the test includes showing that you can use your signals and that you can move off smoothly, whether you’re going straight ahead, at an angle, or on a gradient.