The main reason drivers fail their driving test

The number 1 reason people fail their driving test

There are many ways that a driver can fail their practical test. However, there is one fault which costs drivers way more than others. It’s not something you’d expect.

The DVSA revealed a recent breakdown in numbers for the most common fails.

It’s beneficial to be aware of the most habitual mistakes, making sure you are not another number on the list.

Some of the mistakes on the list are more complicated than they may seem. We will go over each of the reasons so you know all of the details which are important to take into account.

The most common mistakes

As per the list revealed by the DVSA, the most common reasons for failure are;

  1. Junctions – Observation
  2. Mirrors – Change Direction
  3. Control – Steering
  4. Junctions – Turning Right
  5. Move Off – Safely

Let’s have a look at some of these in detail…

Moving off

At 5th in the list, moving off is a common reason people fail their driving test.

It is quite obvious, but being comfortable while moving off is very important for your test.

Your examiner will ask you to pull over at the side of the road several times in your test. This means you will have to move off multiple times in your test.

If you are moving off, make sure to check all of your mirrors and when it is safe to do so, you can slowly release the clutch.

A lot of people forget to check their mirrors when moving off. This can be down to nerves or maybe even a lack of practice in this area.

If you need some times on moving off from the side of the road then watch this video. It gives great tips to help you improve in that area;


Steering is 3rd on the list for reasons people fail their test.

This may seem like a basic skill that everyone should know but there is more to it than just moving left and right.

One of the important skills that is assessed on your test is your control of the car.

It is important that if you are turning a tight corner that you can do so without losing any control.

If you cannot “feed the steering wheel” then this is a skill you must get comfortable with.

This skill is sometimes called the “push, pull” and it allows you to turn sharp corners while keeping control of your vehicle.

A good way to practice your “feeding” of the steering wheel is to go into a quiet car park and practice 3 point turns. This will get you turning the steering wheel quickly and with control.

If you would like some tips on steering then this video gives some great insight;


Checking mirrors is one of the most important skills when keeping safe on the road.

We all learn from the first lesson that it is extremely important to be checking our mirrors.

Poor mirror checks in our driving test can cost us and that is why it is 3rd on the list of the most common reasons for failure.

Your driving instructor will be good at checking that you are looking in your mirrors. However, if you practice often with a friend or relative, then you may start to get into bad habits.

Most drivers are unaware of the number of mirror checks necessary when sitting a test. If they are supervising you as you drive they may not advise you when you miss mirror checks.

Watch this video if you are unsure of your mirror checks;


According to the DVSA, junctions are the number 1 reason people fail their driving test.

It appears twice in the top 5 most common reasons for failure.

Turning right is a problem for some and there is a good reason why.

When turning right at a junction, especially a crossroad, it is not always obvious whether you should wait on the cars coming from the opposite direction.

It is also sometimes unclear where you should be waiting to turn right.

This is why it is important that you are comfortable with the roads around your test centre.

You don’t want to be on your test and turn right when you should have waited.

This video gives some advice on turning right at a junction;

The number 1 reason for people failing their test is their observation when at a junction.

This is most likely down to drivers either not using the correct mirror checks, or not looking both directions.

Sometimes the driver must check each direction multiple times before they can be sure it is safe to turn at the junction.

This video will help if you are unsure of the observations necessary when turning at a junction;

What next?

If you have watched all the videos and follow the tips, then you will be much less likely to make any of these common mistakes.

This will give you a greater chance to pass your test.

If you need any advice, you can drop us an email –

Remember to stay calm, and good luck in your test!

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