The agency responsible for the practical driving test – the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – has released a list of the top ten reasons why folk are walking away their tests with a fail.

The following rundown is especially important during the upheaval caused by the pandemic.

With the waiting list for a driving test now predicted to be as much as five months – with some claiming it could even stretch to eight – the DVSA wants to make sure that when you do finally get a test, you pass first time.

Learn from your mistakes

It advises if you are repeatedly making the mistakes listed below, then it is better to keep learning with your instructor because you are not ready for your test.

And while you personally may feel that you’ve got all the bases covered, do bear in mind that the driving test pass rate was only…

45.9% between April 2019 and March 2020

… with most folks failing because they made at least one of the top ten mistakes listed here.

The top ten list of big driving test fails

1. Not making effective observations at junctions

For example:

  • Failing to judge the speed of an approaching vehicle
  • Making no effective observations whatsoever…
2. Not using mirrors correctly when changing direction

For example:

  • Not using mirrors when exiting a roundabout
  • Trying to change lane on a roundabout when a vehicle is directly alongside.

3. Not having proper control of the steering

For example:

  • Not steering enough when going around a bend
  • Repeatedly mounting the pavement when pulling up on the left.
4. Incorrect positioning when turning right at junctions

For example:

  • Obstructing traffic when you wait to turn right
  • When you want to turn right at the end of the road, you incorrectly position to the left.
5. Not moving off safely

For example:

  • Repeatedly moving off from the side of the road with no blind spot checks
  • Not making any rear observations when moving off following an emergency stop.
6. Not responding appropriately to traffic lights

For example:

  • Failing to react to a red traffic light
  • Going ahead when a green light is showing but the junction is not clear.

7. Poor positioning on the road during normal driving

For example:

  • Unnecessarily driving in the right-hand lane of a dual carriageway
  • Repeatedly driving too close to the kerb or centre of the road.
8. Not responding correctly to traffic signs

For example:

  • Going to the wrong side of a ‘keep left’ sign
  • Driving in a bus lane.
9. Not having control of the vehicle when moving off

For example:

  • Repeatedly stalling when moving off
  • Trying to move off without selecting a gear and then rolling back.
10. Not keeping control of the vehicle during reverse parking

For example:

  • Wheels ending up on the pavement at the end of a parallel park
  • Losing control of the car when parking in a bay.

Why are such basic errors being made?

Some of the errors that can lead to a fail have raised eyebrows because they are so basic – but experts believe that there are two simple reasons:

“A lot of the most common test failures are some of the very first things you’re taught when you get behind the wheel, but that clearly just goes to show that maintaining a regular pattern of lessons is important to keep up the fundamentals, and that nerves can play a large part in the test experience which causes silly mistakes that you wouldn’t expect.”

• Peter Brabin, Head of Training, Bill Plant Driving School

• Learn how to steady your nerves before and during your driving test with our comprehensive guide here.

What you can do to avoid a fail

To help you get that all-important pass first time, the DVSA recommends you discuss the above list with your driving instructor plus:

  • ask them to keep a record of your driving lessons so you know which areas you have covered and which need more work
  • ask anyone helping you with private practice to keep a record too so you can share it with your driving instructor.

Finally, Theory Test Pro would strongly recommend you read all of the DVSA’s excellent blog here, which offers many more examples plus some great practical advice on how to address each and every problem area.

If you do your homework now, it means when that driving test finally does swing round, you will be in the best possible position to land a hard-won pass.

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Double your chances of theory test success with Theory Test Pro. Sign up for free here.

Wing mirror © Gustavo Spindula/Unsplash