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:
- Changing lanes.
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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