Taking a driving test with a head full of thoughts on how things might go wrong seems counterproductive.  At the same time, knowing the most common reasons for failed driving tests could technically steer you in the right direction…no pun intended.

Truth is, focusing on everything you’re already fantastic at is not going to work in your favour.  What you need to do to pass your test is ensure that all those little bits and pieces you’re less confident with don’t work against you on the day. 

With this in mind….and just in case you wondered…here’s a brief overview of the most common reasons why people fail driving tests in the UK:

  1. Lack of observation at junctions – the single most common cause of driving test failures, every single year for almost 20 years now.
  2. Failing to use mirrors properly when changing directions – likewise, a hugely common cause of failed driving tests every year since 2006.
  3. Incorrect positioning when turning right – something that not only causes a frustrating obstruction in the road, but can also constitute a major safety risk.
  4. Inappropriate or unsafe use of the steering wheel – this can be anything from how you hold it to the way you turn it when making turns at junctions.
  5. Not responding properly to traffic lights – this includes common errors like braking harshly at the last minute to stop at a red light, or hesitating for too long when the lights turn green.
  6. Overlooking or ignoring road signs – your instructor will be paying close attention to whether or not you see and heed any important road signs you pass along the way.
  7. Failure to comply with road markings – the most common example of which is drifting out of your lane at any time, which depending on the severity of the swerve could constitute a major or minor fault.
  8. Moving off in an unsafe manner – failing to check any mirror, your blind spot or anything else before setting off could render your test null and void before even getting started.
  9. Unsafe or incorrect road position – this refers to the position you hold within your lane, and at the same time ensuring you are a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  10. Inadequate control when moving off – last up, stalling when moving off is not an automatic failure, but repeated stalls and/or how you react in the event of a stall could be recorded as a major fault.

All of which sounds pretty scary, but each of the above is a fundamental that needs to be mastered to drive safely. It’s not that examiners are out to get you (at least, not most of them), but they cannot and will not authorise you to claim your driving licence if you make these potentially dangerous mistakes.

Knowledge is power, so bear the above in mind and practice those grey areas until you’re completely confident!