Top 10 reasons people fail their driving test

Top 10 Reasons People Fail the British Driving Test

If you’re getting ready to take your test or just starting out, then learning how to avoid the Top 10 Potential Pitfalls could help you get gain your full driving licence that bit sooner!

We’ve been talking to the nice chaps over at Safe Driving For Life who have compiled the list and created some amusing videos to illustrate the most common reasons people fail the UK driving test.

1. Observations at junctions
Poor observations at junctions are one of the top 10 reasons that people fail their test. This would be recorded as a fault for failing to make an effective observation before merging into the path of oncoming traffic.  Always make sure it’s safe before proceeding.

2. Moving off Safely
When you’re moving off from the side of the road, you need to make sure you look around, check your blind spots – and that you’re indicating the correctly!

3. Use of mirrors

Remember that you need to use your rear view mirror and wing mirrors – and react accordingly! People get caught out by stopping or increasing their speed without checking mirrors, or using their mirrors too late.

4. Reverse parking
During the driving test, you can be asked to either parallel park on the road, or reverse into a parking bay at the test centre. You’ll notch up a fault in this area if you need to reposition the car to correct a loss of control or accuracy. A complete misjudgement or significant loss of control will count as a serious fault.

5. Response to traffic lights
Responding correctly to traffic lights is something that catches people out. Some of the mistakes that people make include waiting at a green filter light when it’s safe to proceed or remaining stationery at the stop line when it’s safe to move. Other faults include not conforming to a red light, and stopping beyond an advanced stop line in the area designated for cyclists.

6. Steering
You need to be able to maintain a steady course in normal driving. Things like mounting and dismounting the kerb, and not following the contour of the kerb results in faults in this area.

7. Positioning
Your vehicle should be positioned correctly for the route you’re taking. If lanes are marked, make sure you’re in the middle of the lane. Avoid straddling lanes.

8. Turning right at junctions

When you’re turning right, position your vehicle correctly – it shouldn’t cut the corner when turning right. Also, watch out for cyclists and motorcyclists, and any pedestrians crossing the road.

9. Control when moving off
Repeated stalling is one of the things that count as control when moving off. Other things that are included in this reason are moving off (or trying to!) with the handbrake on, rolling backwards when trying to move off – and not putting the car in gear and attempting to move off.

10. Response to road markings
You’ll be marked with faults in this area for doing things like unnecessarily crossing the solid white centre lines on the road, and not following directional arrows. Stopping in a yellow box junction when the exit is not clear also counts for this reason. So make sure you know the rules about using them. is a website produced in partnership with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and is a one-stop information resource for all drivers and riders.