Watch the video to avoid the common mistakes on a driving test
This is what will happen on your driving test day.
10 reasons why you could fail the driving test
I have listed ten most common reasons for failing your driving test.
1. Not acting correctly at road
essential that you use the Mirrors, Signal, Position, Speed and gears routine
when you approach any kind of junction. Did you check that the new road was
safe to drive into? That's essential when your turning either left or right.
Was your speed on approach too high? If that was the case, then you might not
have been able to stop if needed.
2. Reversing around a corner Most
learners fail on this with either their control of the car or lack of observation.
When reversing around a corner, it’s important to keep the car moving as slow
as possible. You then have time to decide when to steer at the correct time. It’s
also important that you keep looking around for any other road users in the
vicinity, and act appropriately.
3. Steering faults Losing
control of the steering, either in normal driving or during a manoeuvre. This
can be because you have allowed the steering wheel to 'spin through your hands'
4. Reverse parking faults Reverse
parking can be one of the hardest of the manoeuvre's to do successfully. Like
all of the other exercises, it needs very careful use of the controls to keep
the car moving very slowly, so you have time to decide when to steer at the
right time. You should also be aware of other road users and act appropriately
if you see anyone else, while you're completing the task.
5. Making proper use of the
gears Its essential to use the correct gear for the
speed and road conditions. For example, if your approaching or driving through
a lot of hazards, then its important to drive in a low gear whereas, if there
are few hazards, the examiner will be expecting you to be in the highest gear
available. A common error is to stay in a low gear (and this will include third
Another area where people fail on gears, is
forgetting to select 1st gear before moving off. It results in the car
stalling. This could cause inconvenience to others, or have dangerous
6. Not using the mirrors
correctly Why do you need to check your mirrors? Its
essential to know if there are other road user’s following behind you before you start any
manoeuvre. Roughly speaking, you should check them between 25 and 50% of your
driving time glancing in the mirrors. If you spend any more time, you are not
paying enough attention to the road.
An 'old wives' tale' says that you have to move
your head when you make the checks. The examiner is trained to check your
mirrors without you having to emphasize that your checking them,
7. Avoiding hesitation and
driving too slowly Don't expect to pass if you stop
somewhere unnecessarily. For example giving way to traffic where it’s safe to
continue without stopping.
The examiner will be expecting you to keep up with
the flow of other road users within the legal limit, providing the road
conditions allow you to. Driving too slowly when its safe to drive at the legal
limit, will cause inconvenience to others.
8. Acting correctly when
turning right As with anything that isn't driving in a
straight line, remember your mirrors. Look at them before you do anything. Then
indicate and move to the right of the lane you are in Wait for an appropriate
gap in the oncoming traffic – you know how long it takes for you to turn right,
the aim is not to hold other people up unnecessarily. If someone flashes you
out, decide if it’s safe then move out.
9. Hesitation at junctions Your
driving examiner will be expecting you to be able to judge gaps and the speed
and distance correctly when either pulling out, or turning right. You should
not pull out, or turn if you cause the approaching traffic to slow down or make
10. Moving away from stationary
positions The most common reasons for failing on this, are;
moving off in the wrong gear; forgetting to turn the indicator off if you've
used it; rolling back if you're moving off on a hill; or not looking around to
make sure its safe go.
How to cope with driving test nerves
Tips for driving test nerves
Here are some hints and tips from other learner drivers about how they overcame driving test nerves:
Think of all the good times that you’re going to have when you pass your test.
Imagine that you’re a taxi driver and you’re taking someone home and have to follow their directions.
Chill out with friends before your test to help relax.
Chewing on chewing gum.
Have a positive attitude – “I will try my best but if I fail then at least I’ve tried”
Don’t have a big meal before your test – it will make you feel sluggish and tired.
Ask your instructor to sit in on your test – a familiar face in the car can make you feel more at ease.
Don’t tell everybody when your test is!
Eat a bowl of porridge before your test.
Listen to music before your test.
If you’ve found a great way to overcome driving test nerves, why not let us know.
Ten tips to help you pass
You MUST study for this exam. Give yourself the best chance possible by following my driving test tips.
1. Sleep - It's been scientifically proven that those who are well rested respond far better in reaction tests. Your driving test is one long reaction test! The night before avoid having any alcohol or caffeine - both of these will interrupt your sleep cycle. Humans optimum sleep time is 8 hours. If you go to bed at 10pm, you MUST set an alarm for 6am. Any more than this and your body and mind enter a new sleep cycle which waking from will make you groggy. To find out more about sleep, click here.
2. Food - What you eat makes your body respond in different ways. If your exam is early in the morning you need to get a good nights sleep so eat a carbohydrate rich meal e.g. pasta. Carbohydrates make your body feel sleepy. If your exam is in the afternoon you need to eat protein e.g. meat, eggs or fish. Protein makes your body feel alert.
3. Be prepared - The night before your test get all your documents ready and leave them by the front door. You need 4 things; plastic licence card, it's paper counter part, your invitation for the exam with the time and day (check they are correct), and your theory pass certificate. Know what is to be expected from you on the day of your exam. Have a look at how the practical driving test works and how the examiners mark it. Information taken from the DSA guidance for examiners can be found here. At least read the part in the big red box!
4. Use this site - I've created an on-line tutorial for this website covering all subject topics you'll be tested on in regards to the exam. Study them. Our lessons (mostly) only last an hour; it's a huge amount of information to take in. Use the on-line tutorials to find out more. People learn in 3 ways; visually (seeing things), aurally (listening to instruction) and kinesthetically (by doing). If you learn visually, like I do, you'll greatly benefit by seeing instructions written on a page. A tiny percentage of people learn aurally, mostly women, and that's how most of the instruction in the lesson is taught. Most people respond well to kinesthetic learning, which is great, as your driving lesson is just that. There are diagrams, photos and step-by-step guides for everything you need to know about driving. I've also included information about each driving test centre in Bristol. Where and what people often fail on; maps of the test routes and trouble areas with guides and photos to help picture how to navigate around it successfully. (Brislington, Southmead, Warmely). Use this to practice with friends and family. I also publish updates with regards to roadworks and road layout on the blog. Have a look to see if there are any major disruptions at the test centre you're going to be tested at. Having an idea of what might be coming up will aid you greatly.
5. Practice - “Those who pass their driving test have had, on average, about 45 hours of professional training combined with 22 hours of private practice. Learners who prepare this way, with a combination of plenty of professional training and plenty of practice, do better in the test." This is copied directly from the DVSA website. If you have only had a handful of lessons with an instructor and no private practice, you are attempting the impossible. Get out on the road and behind the wheel as much as you can. If you can't learn practically, you MUST practice theoretically. The best way to do this is to visit and read the on-line driving tutorials on this site.
6. Make the most of your lesson - I will always give you at least an hour in the car. If you turn up late, and I have another lesson afterwards, I can't let down my next client because of you. Be ready to go when the door bell rings and make sure you get an hours worth. Be well hydrated - lack of fluids severally diminishes concentration levels. Make sure you have eaten (no crash diets), preferably something that will stimulate you like; asparagus, avocados, bananas, cod, cheese, peanuts, lettuce or fresh fruit. If you give your brain the right nutrients, you will be able to think faster, have a better memory, be better coordinated and balanced and have improved concentration. For more insight into the science of food, do some research.
7. Ask me - If you are unsure about something, ask me. That's what I'm here for. If you are thinking about driving whilst at work, text me, email me, skype me, call me. I really don't mind and will try my best to explain in the simplest way possible. I enjoy teaching and want you to pass. Even if you're not my student, send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get back to you ASAP.
8. Don't try to do too much at once - I've seen this too much over the years. Students try to pass as quickly as they can, squeezing lessons into lunch breaks, between school/college/university exams and after work. DO NOT TAKE A LESSON IF YOU ARE ALREADY TIRED! You won't get the most from your lesson and it can be counter-productive. This exam is very stressful, be flexible. Don't pile unnecessary pressure on yourself.
9. Be relaxed and calm - Dress comfortably - The examiners aren't there to judge you on appearances; they are paid to judge your driving ability. - Don't wear high heels - flat shoes are the best option. Remove bulky jackets and heavy jumpers. - Breathing - In through the nose, out through the mouth. Doing this 5 times slowly will help lower your heart rate. - Remedies - Antispasmodic stomach medicine, such as Colofac, can help keep those 'butterflies' under control. Rescue Remedy spray can help too. - Your environment - Open the window. Fresh air will help keep you alert and cool. Make sure the car's environmental controls are set so you are comfortable. Don't sit there melting!
10. Have confidence - I will only let you go forward for the exam if I think you have a great chance of passing. If you don't feel confident with your driving ability - you're not ready. You are allowed to change your test 3 working days before hand. Don't throw away £100 (£62 for the test, £25 for lesson before, £25 for car hire) needlessly. No one likes to fail and if you think you're going to, you'll make it happen. Only when you feel confident do you stand a chance of success.
11. Music - The Mozart Effect is believed to increase learning and spacial awareness by up to 20%. Years ago it was said that by listening to Mozart made people smarter. This is not the case. What helps increase learning is to listen to your favourite music for 10 to 20 minutes before you start to learn something. It helps to increase the brains ability to make memories, and by making memories you remember how to do things, i.e driving. So before each lesson, try to listen to your favourite songs for 15 minutes and perhaps you'll be able to learn 20% faster. This will in the long run save you 20% on the cost and possibly get your licence in far less time. When it comes to your exam, you'll have a few minutes wait before your test, why not take a MP3 player/mobile with your music on and some head phones and listen before your test starts. You'll not be learning anything here, but it could help with spacial awareness, a core skill for driving.