For most people, taking your driving test is an unsettling prospect. Nerves on the day can negatively affect your driving as they cloud your ability to think clearly. This can lead to you making poor decisions on the road that you wouldn’t normally make in lessons. To help you avoid failing the driving test, it’s worth knowing the top reasons why learners fail.

1. Observation at junctions

This is the number one reason for failing the driving test.¹ Before emerging or turning at junctions you must always make a full, proper observation. In particular, watch out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

You must give way where necessary and not cause any other road users to change speed or direction. Always slow down when approaching junctions so that you have enough time to react appropriately to your surroundings.

Check out this video which shows the common driving test mistakes at junctions


2. Use of mirrors

When you’re nervous, it’s easy to forget the basics and unfortunately many people forget to check their mirrors at crucial times. For example, failure to look in your mirrors before changing speed or direction can have serious consequences.

Checking your mirrors should be a conscious procedure that keeps you constantly aware of what is happening around you.² If you see a potential hazard, you must react accordingly.

3. Incorrect positioning

Being in an inappropriate position in your lane, as well as at roundabouts and bends is another common reason for failing the driving test.³

Always make sure you’re in a suitable position for the direction you’re taking, including getting into the correct lane in good time.


bad parking driving test

4. Manoeuvres

It is crucial that you feel confident making all the different manoeuvres before taking your test. Maintaining control of the vehicle while reverse parking is what people tend to find most tricky.⁴

Keeping your speed low gives you more time to observe surroundings and make decisions accordingly. You must get the manoeuvre reasonably accurate, and correct yourself if necessary.

5. Response to signals

This involves reacting suitably to traffic light changes and road markings.⁵

If you are approaching an amber traffic light you must stop unless you have already crossed the stop line, or you’re close enough to it that pulling up might cause an accident.⁶

Keeping to a sensible speed will enable you to see road signs and lane markings in good time.


With an insurethebox policy, you can earn more Bonus Miles if you drive at an appropriate speed for the road and conditions.


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So remember:

• Do a full observation at junctions and only proceed when you’re certain it’s safe to do so.
• Always remember to use the ‘Mirror Signal Manoeuvre’ routine before changing your speed or direction.
• Keep in the correct position in your lane and leave enough space for cyclists, motorcyclists and horses when necessary.
• Make frequent observations when doing a manoeuvre and don’t forget to check your blind spot!
• Make sure you’re aware of what all the possible road signs and lane markings mean by reading over the Highway Code before your test.