10 Reasons For Failing Your Practical Driving Test


Observation – This fault involves not taking effective observation before proceeding at junctions and emerging into the path of other vehicles. Satisfy yourself that it’s safe before emerging.


Change direction – You need to use your rear-view (interior) mirror and door mirrors and react to what you see! Don’t get caught out for changing direction or pulling up with no mirror checks, increasing your speed with no mirror checks, or using your mirrors too late. Mirrors need to be checked before you change your speed, direction and as you’re driving along every few seconds.


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.


Turning right – Before you turn right, position your vehicle left just left of centre of the road, it shouldn’t cut the corner when turning. Watch out for other vehicles, cyclists, motorcyclists, and any pedestrians crossing the road.

Move off

Safely – Using your mirrors to check for other road users is essential. It’ll be marked as a fault if you attempt to move off without taking effective observation.

Response to signals

Traffic lights – The correct response at traffic lights is something that catches people out sometimes. Some of the common mistakes include waiting at a green filter light when it’s safe to proceed and staying at the stop line when it’s safe to move. Other faults that count include not complying to a red light and stopping beyond an advanced stop line in the area designated for cyclists.

Move off

Control – Repeated stalling is one of the things that counts 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, and not putting the car in gear and attempting to move off.


Normal driving – 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.

Response to signals

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.

Reverse park

Control – n the driving test, you can be asked to either do a 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 to correct a loss of control or accuracy. A complete misjudgement or significant loss of control will count as a serious fault.

Test Nerves

It’s normal to be nervous before your test, but if you’re properly prepared and your instructor thinks you’re ready, then there’s really no reason to worry. On average, people who pass the test have had 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of private practice. Your examiner is not trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you can drive safely. Remember you can never over prepare for your driving test. Make sure you get plenty of practice. You may be nervous but your skill level should see you through.