How To Avoid Most Common Driving Test Mistakes
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash
Research by insurance broker onesureinsurance.co.uk
analysed DVSA data to find the most common faults that led to a failed driving test. On driving tests learners can have up to 15 minor faults, but no serious or dangerous faults at all. Experts have provided advice on how learners can prepare to ensure they avoid making these serious mistakes on their driving tests.
1 – Junctions (Observations)
Observations at junctions are the number 1 cause of failed driving tests. When approaching roundabouts, crossroads and other junctions, instructors are looking for clear and obvious observations left and right, with plenty of time, to assess other road user's speeds and positions. This includes slip roads joining dual carriageways; drivers must give way to oncoming traffic and ensure it's safe to join the road.
2 – Mirrors (Changing direction)
Using mirrors is one of the most important elements of driving as you need to be aware of everything behind and to the side of you as well as in front of you, because of this it’s also something people fail tests for often. Learners need to develop good habits, and rather than feeling confident it is clear, double-checking mirrors at all times so that it becomes second nature in a test. Checking mirrors at a roundabout is a specific location people often forget, either when changing lanes or exiting its necessary to check your left and rear mirrors.
3 – Moving off (Safely)
You must be able to move off safely either from a roadside, on a slope or hill or from behind parked cars. When moving off it's definitely best to have a routine, some people find that going from left to right, left blind spot, left mirror, rear, right mirror and then right blind spot, can help them to remember to check everything and ensure it's safe to pull out. Some may also double-check the blind spots one last time just to display to the examiner they have definitely made sure it's safe. It's vital to ensure that when moving off there are no oncoming cars from behind or both directions if you are pulling off from a ‘pull up on the right’ manoeuvre.
4 – Junctions (Turning right)
This fault can include turning right at a roundabout and being in the left lane. In this case, learners should follow through and either turn left or go straight over. Any attempt to merge into the right lane could potentially lead to a serious fault, however, going in the wrong direction a few times is absolutely fine and you can still pass. Other faults could be positioning to far left when wanting to turn right. As a rule of thumb if you’re turning right, stay as far right as is safe to do so.
5 – Control (Steering)
Control is key when driving especially during a test as contact with pavements and curbs can result in an instant fail. When turning left learners need to follow the curvature of the road as to not veer into the right lane (oversteer) or if turning onto a minor road making sure they don’t drive fully onto the wrong side of the road. Learners should maintain a safe and conservative speed as this will help control the steering, the faster you drive the harder it is to control the steering, so good advice for new drivers is to take corners and turns slowly to ensure the steering is controlled.
6 – Response to signals (Traffic lights)
It's always best when approaching traffic lights to be prepared to stop, even on green, as if they suddenly change and you break heavy or continue through a red light you could fail. Also stopping over the lines or in the designated bike section, could also lead to a fault so being aware of road markings is vital. Even with a green light if the junction is not clear going could force a driver fault and you could fail. By approaching carefully and being aware of the lights and other drivers’ learners can avoid making these simple mistakes.
7 – Response to signals (Traffic signs)
When it comes to traffic signs the best advice that can be given, is to do your revision. Knowing what each sign means, including any times, symbols or numbers that may be included is vital. Often new drivers can be confused by signs they may not recognise and on a test, this could be the difference between a pass and a fail. Two common mistakes are people not stopping completely at stop signs or driving in bus lanes when the signs specify it's in use during specific times (both instant fails). So learn your signs and be aware of them while you're driving.
8 – Positioning (Normal driving)
Positioning is key as it tells road users where others intend to go, by practising good and positive lane discipline learners will have no issues with tests. If unsure which lanes to use look for signs and road markings that can direct you. Keeping to the middle of the lanes is important, as driving too close to kerbs could put pedestrians at risk or the other side could impact other road users, and driving in right-hand lane of a dual carriageway unnecessarily could be a fault.
9 – Response to signals (Road markings)
Much like the response to traffic signs, responding to road markings is all about awareness. Road markings are great if you are unsure on which lane to be in or where you are going to its always worth keeping an eye on these markings for help as well as being aware of changes in speed.
10 – Reverse park (Control)
Many drivers even experienced can struggle with manoeuvres such as this and parallel parking so learners are no exception. Fails on these parking techniques tend to come from too many attempts to reposition, mounting the pavement at the end or outside of the lines of the bay or general loss of control. If your car has a reversing camera, you can use these although don’t forget to do proficient checks of mirrors and blind spots still. Otherwise, the best advice for these is practice, practise, practise!
A spokesperson from onesureinsurance.co.uk commented:
“On average someone is injured or killed on roads in the UK every 16 minutes. Bad driving practises can lead to accidents, death and damage, so driving tests are there to ensure that the standard of driving is upheld so that you and everyone around you is safe on the roads. Learning to drive is important for many to gain freedom and independence; however, it's important that people are driving safely and responsibly.
"With the waitlist for tests growing by the day due to a backlog from COVID and prices of tests going up, it's more important for new drivers to pass the first time to avoid unnecessary costs and wait times. With the cost-of-living rising learners want to be prepared for their test so they have the very best chance of passing on their first test, saving money and time.”