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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

The most common driving test errors that cause an instant fail

Taking your driving test is such a nerve-wracking experience, it’s no wonder that so many people need multiple attempts to pass. If you are nervous, it’s worth understanding how you can manage your anxiety to give you a better chance of success.

But it’s also worth noting the most common mistakes people make, particularly those that result in an immediate fail. Thanks to research from Dayinsure, we can share with you the most common major faults, so you can hopefully avoid them.


The most common reason for a major fault and an instant fail on driving tests is observations at junctions, with just over 1 in 4 (26%) making such mistakes. These can include failing to spot oncoming cars, pedestrians, or cyclists when looking to pull out of a junction. Nick Shaw from temporary car insurance specialists, Dayinsure, states:“Sometimes, learners get so focused on showing the examiner that they are making their observations, that while they are turning their head both ways as they’re meant to, they fail to take in their surroundings while looking around.”

With this in mind, be sure to pay close attention to everything, even while you are making sure you’re doing things so the examiner can see.


Checking your mirrors is critical and you’ve got to make sure your examiner knows you are doing it, whether you’re moving off, changing lanes, turning, or slowing down and stopping. 1 in 5 fail to do this on their test when changing directions, making it the second most common reason for an instant fail. Don’t forget to look over your shoulder to check for blind spots when necessary.

Response to signage

Road signs must be followed and this is where just over 1 in 10 learner drivers (11%) make a critical mistake that results in an instant fail. Traffic lights are some of the main culprits, with hesitation and failure to stop being red flags for examiners. It’s always worth refreshing your knowledge of The Highway Code before your test for other signs and instructions as well.


Drivers must always remain in control of their vehicle, otherwise, they can be a danger to themselves and other road users. 1 in 10 fail to maintain control throughout their test and find themselves with a major fault. Steering is a large part of this, but it can also take into account how you handle your gear changes, position on the road, and driving style.

Moving off

Some people don’t even make it up to full speed before failing their test. Moving off from a stationary position at the start and throughout your test is a focus point for examiners, and it needs to be done with plenty of control and the use of your mirrors. 1 in 10 fail this at some point during their test and will have to take it again.


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