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Top 10 driving test mistakes

Young driver

Have you ever wondered what the most common reasons are for learners failing their driving tests?

In a bid to ease the driving test backlog, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has contacted all UK-based driving instructors highlighting the main mistakes made by learner drivers.

It’s hoped that if instructors focus on these areas during tuition and refresher sessions, with many learners having been out of practice due to lockdown, many more will pass first time and not need to re-book their tests at a later date should they fail.

Top 10 most common reasons for failing a driving test

  • Not making effective observations at junctions
  • Not using mirrors correctly when changing direction
  • Not having proper control of the steering
  • Incorrect positioning when turning right at junctions
  • Not moving off safely
  • Not responding appropriately to traffic lights
  • Poor positioning on the road during normal driving
  • Not responding correctly to traffic signs
  • Not having control of the vehicle when moving off
  • Not keeping control of the vehicle during reverse parking

“It’s really interesting to have this data broken down by the DVSA, highlighting exactly what UK learner drivers are most commonly struggling with when on their driving tests,” said Peter Brabin, Head of Training at

“What’s somewhat surprising is that 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.

“It’s never a nice feeling to be told you have failed your driving test, but when you consider that the average pass rate was 45.9% between April 2019 and March 2020, it should also give some confidence that people aren’t just being passed for the sake of it to clear the backlog and that people really are expected to be both calm and confident behind the wheel. Safety must be the upmost priority – it always has been and always will be.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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