Why do Drivers Fail the Road Test? [Common Mistakes Included]

Although new drivers are told to practice and prepare prior to their road test, there are common mistakes that are made that result in a fail. To put your best foot forward and ensure that you get a passing score on your test, be wary of these mistakes so that you know better.

In Car Failing the Driving Test


Common Mistake #1: Nerves and Lack of Confidence

One of the biggest faults comes from new driver nerves. Whether it is a combination of stress or nervousness of what the examiner is looking for, it takes away the focus and concentration needed for people to perform well during their test.

During your test, your number one focus should be the road and what the examiner has asked you to do. Nerves can take away your attention span, creating a loss of control or you mishearing the instructions, which can result in a failed road test.

Confidence is key as well as part of being a good driver is ensuring that you are confident in the decisions you make on the road. If you are nervous, you may drive slower or focus too much on your braking, which significantly shows. Avoid being overly cautious and be confident in your own skills.

❗Pro-tip: Driving test preparation is a key confidence builder–our state specific driving test guides will help you build confidence and prepare.


Common Mistake #2: Lack of Practice

One of the best things you can do to prepare is ensure that you have practiced plenty prior to your test. It helps to add to your confidence and decrease your nerves which can come in handy during your test. Find a way to work around an experienced drivers’ schedule so that you can get constructive feedback to improve on.

If you are less comfortable driving next to your friend/family member or don't have an experienced driver option, you can book with our car and driver road test service.

Common Mistake #3: Rolling Stops

Drivers on the road are often caught for doing rolling stops, which are situations where drivers fail to make a complete stop, whether it be at a stop sign or a traffic light. This is important for you to take note of as it can result in a failed test. Ensure that you make complete stops at any right-hand intersection turn or if it is at a stop sign. Your best bet would be to count to 3 before you step foot on the gas pedal again.


Common Mistake #4: Speed Control

Part of being in control is being able to work around different speed limits. Understanding the different limits in different areas is the first step, but once you are aware, you need to abide by each of them. School zones will often have slower speed limits to allocate for the increase in walking traffic whereas freeways will have a higher speed limit, as there are no traffic lights or stop signs in those areas. Paying attention to these changes and adjusting your speed accordingly will be crucial.


Common Mistake #5: One-Handed Steering

In addition to rolling stops, another common bad habit drivers develop is one-handed steering. It is recommended that you have both hands on the steering wheel and show that you have control of the direction you are going in. One-handed steering shows a sense of carelessness that your examiner does not need to see.

Persons hands are on car steering wheel.


Common Mistake #6: Lane Changes

Driving in busy intersections will imply that lane changes become more difficult. The process is more than just signaling prior to you driving into a new lane. You need to look in your mirrors, ensure that there is a space for you to switch into, and check your blind spots before changing lanes with your turn signals. At the same time, a consistent speed and distance is needed to make it a safe environment for you and other drivers.

✅ Quick Video Tips: YoGov Concierge gives safe driving and road test specific tips.


Common Mistake #7: Parallel Parking

Some new drivers have difficulty with parallel parking during their driving test. It will require a lot of practice, which is why booking more practices with an experienced driver will come in handy. Whether you set up street cones or utilize big objects to indicate the spacing, it would be a good idea to use those spaces prior to parking in busy areas.

❗Pro-tip: Remember that the more you practice parallel parking, the better you will become.


Common Mistake #8: Road Conditions

Your road test will not always be during a sunny day. Weather conditions can change, which means you should be prepared to drive in rain, hail, or depending on your area, even snow. To prepare yourself for these weather changes, practicing during these changing conditions prior to your driving test will be helpful. It will help you understand what speed you should be driving at as well as the functions in your car you should use to help.

For example, if it is raining heavily, you may opt to increase your following distance to give the driver in front some room to brake. Using your headlights will also increase visibility for you and act as a sign of oncoming traffic for others.

Lastly, speed limits are suggestions for when it is a good day. If the weather is dangerous or creates less visibility for you, it's a good idea to decrease your speeds.


Common Mistake #9: Yielding to Pedestrians

Driving on the road means you share the space with other drivers and pedestrians. There are many rules around different spaces, but as a rule of thumb, pedestrians often have the right-of-way. Entering crosswalks or school zones prior to it being free of pedestrians could be an automatic road test fail. Ensure that you wait until everyone has crossed the street safely before you begin to drive through.


Common Mistake #10: Vehicle Condition

Lastly, your vehicle needs to be safe and well-functioning. Guidelines include ensuring that all your lights, signals, windshield wipers, and seat belts are working correctly. Specific vehicle requirements can be found here and are state specific. It's a good idea to check and reconfirm your vehicle prior to your DMV road test. If the checklist is not met, you will not be able to take the test.

It is also not recommended to drive with a vehicle you are unfamiliar with as the functions may differ from model and make.

❗Pro-tip: If you don't have access to a car, we are here to help. Use our car and driver service for your road test needs (we provide practice time before your driving test).

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Road test mistakes are all common and happen to the best of us. Practice will ensure that you know what can occur and how you can best prevent it, this will ensure that you pass your driving test! Best of luck!