Ten of the most common driving test mistakes

The DVLA has published a list of the top ten reasons people failed their practical driving test in 2016–17. We take a look at the most common mistakes and how learners can avoid making them.

1. Observation at junctions

Drivers fail when they’re at a junction and don’t:
  • Look in both directions before emerging.
  • Creep forward when necessary.
  • Look in the direction of travel while emerging.
  • Recognise unmarked crossroads.
  • Leave enough space when pulling out.

2. Use of mirrors when changing direction

Drivers fail for not looking in their mirrors before:
  • Turning.
  • Changing lanes.
  • Overtaking.

3. Control of the steering

Drivers fail when they lose control and:
  • Cross their hands when turning the wheel.
  • Let the wheel spin back after turning.
  • Keep their hand on the gear stick for too long.
  • Remove both of their hands from the steering wheel.
  • Over or under steer on corners.
  • Steer with their right arm on the window ledge.

4. Turning right at a junction

Drivers fail when they’re turning right and don’t move:
  • To a position near the centre lines.
  • Into a protected centre lane when available.
  • Forward enough when giving way to oncoming traffic.
  • To the centre of the side road when turning right at traffic lights.

5. Moving off safely

Drivers fail when there’s:
  • No attempt to look around.
  • A lack of observation ahead and behind them.

6. Normal driving position

Drivers fail when they’re:
  • Too close to the left-hand kerb.
  • Too far out towards the middle of the road.
  • Unnecessarily moving in and out from between parked cars.

7. Moving off (control)

Drivers fail when they lose control by:
  • Stalling the engine.
  • Moving away at too high a speed.
  • Rolling back.

8. Response to traffic lights

Drivers fail when they:
  • Drive or attempt to drive through a red light.
  • Don’t stop on amber when it’s safe to do so.
  • Drive away on red and amber.
  • Don’t drive on a green light when it’s safe to do so.

9. Reverse parking

Drivers fail this tricky manoeuvre when they:
  • Have poor clutch control.
  • Stall the engine.
  • Accelerate excessively.
  • Steer insufficiently or excessively.
  • Use the footbrake too harshly.
  • Are too close to a parked car.
  • Hit the kerb, are too far away from the kerb, or at an angle to the kerb.
  • Are unable to complete within two car lengths.

10. Response to signals (road signs)

Drivers fail when they ignore:
  • Speed limit signs.
  • Warning signs.
  • Prohibiting signs.
  • Priority signs.

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