Anyone who has ever been in a car knows that there are a large number of clueless people out there navigating the roads. With this fact in mind, it’s difficult to understand how anyone could fail the driver’s test. However, it happens every day.

In this article, we will go over some of the most common reasons that new drivers don’t do well on the test and how you can avoid these common mistakes so you can pass your drivers test the first time.

Why People Fail the Drivers Test

If you’re gearing up to get your driver’s license, you’re probably feeling both excited and nervous. Taking the driver’s test is a huge milestone in any young person’s life, but most people don’t emotionally prepare for the possibility that they could fail. If you spend plenty of time practicing, this isn’t likely to happen, but if you go take your test without being ready, you could face embarrassment or even endanger yourself on the road.

Improper Lane Changes

This mistake is simple but major. If you change lanes without using your turn signal or adequately checking your blind spots, you’re putting your life and the lives of others on the road in grave danger. You’ll also more than likely end up failing the driving test. When your DMV testing official instructs you to change lanes, always remember to signal, check your mirrors and check your blind spot before making a move.

If you don’t properly signal or look over your shoulder before changing lanes, you will be penalized. DMV instructors are meticulous about lane-changing practices for a good reason: Changing lanes without taking the proper precautions is extremely dangerous. If you were to continue driving this way, it’s almost guaranteed that you will eventually have an accident as a result.

Lacking the Ability to Control the Vehicle

When you’re taking the driving test, your ability to control the vehicle is one of the things that the testing official will be watching carefully. Avoid driving with one hand. It may make you look more calm and collected, but it also increases your risk of allowing the wheel to slip. DMV officials want to see you drive with both hands securely on the wheel.

Not Confident About the Right-of-Way Law

During the driving test, you might find yourself approaching a four-way stop sign. It’s possible that no one else will be at the intersection, and all you will need to do is come to a stop before carrying on. However, if other vehicles are present, you’ll need to know right-of-way law. When you and another car reach the intersection at the exact same time, whoever is farther to the right is allowed to go first. At “T” intersections, the cars on the through street have the right of way.

Chances are, your DMV instructor will direct you to a four-way stop to test your ability to properly yield. Remember, right of way always goes to the first car to come to a complete stop, and if you and another driver arrive at the same time, the person on the right goes first. If the intersection forms a T, then the straight-moving traffic has the right of way. Keeping these rules in mind will go a long way in helping you pass your test.

Not Coming to a Complete Stop

Rolling stops are a very common (and silly!) reason for failing the test. When you stop at a stop sign or red light, you must come to a full stop. Slowing down to a near stop is not enough, and a DMV testing official will absolutely mark down your score for it.

Always remember to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or traffic light. Performing a rolling stop could cause your DMV instructor to fail you, even if you slowed down quite a bit. It may seem silly to come to a complete and total stop when there are no other cars around, but it’s still something you should practice. Not only is it important for safety purposes, but it’s sometimes necessary to determine right of way.

Not Braking Correctly

If you want to be a good driver, you will need to learn how to work the brake pedal in your car. Different vehicles have different levels of sensitivity when it comes to the brake, so it’s important to make sure that you’ve practiced driving using the vehicle you will be testing with. Hard braking is acceptable in an emergency, but if you send the DMV official lurching forward in his or her seat every time you come to a stop, you won’t likely pass the test.

Following Other Cars too Closely

Riding right behind someone’s bumper is a big no-no in the world of driving tests. Always be sure to stay a few car lengths behind the guy in front of you. Not only will it help you pass the test, but it’s a good habit to get into. You can’t stop on a dime, and having that cushion of space will do a lot to ensure your safety if the car in front of you comes to a screeching halt.


You would think it would be obvious to drive the speed limit while taking a driving test, but people do actually make the mistake of speeding. Sometimes, you can become so caught up in trying to drive in the correct lane, use your turn signal and control your steering, it’s easy to let that speedometer begin creeping up. Driving is a balancing act, and if you’re having trouble doing all of these things at once, you likely need more practice before taking the test.

You already know not to go barreling down the road like an out-of-control train during your driver’s test, but you may not realize that even minor speeding could set you back. Your DMV instructor will be watching every move you make while you’re in the car, and if you take your attention away from your speed for even a minute or two, you could accidentally begin driving over the limit. Aside from keeping your eyes on the road, watching your speed should be your top priority.

Driving too Slow

In some cases, that ultra-nervous and careful state that many find themselves in during the driving test can lead to the opposite problem: driving too slow. While it’s usually better to err on the side of going too slow versus too fast, neither is going to make the DMV official think you’re ready for your license. Do your best to relax and drive at a reasonable pace.

Changing Lanes in the Middle of an Intersection

It’s never legal to change lanes in the middle of an intersection. To properly change lanes, you must use your turn signal, and while in the middle of an intersection, your turn signal is used to show that you are turning in a different direction. Therefore, there is no proper way to alert other drivers of a lane change in an intersection, and it must be avoided.

Driving While Distracted

The word is getting out on texting and driving. Research has shown that it’s the equivalent of driving while blindfolded. You’re probably smart enough to know that pulling out your cell phone during the driving test is a death wish as far as getting your license, but be aware of other potential distractions as well. Fiddling with the radio and looking at the sights along the side of the road could cause you to make a serious mistake.

How to Prepare for Your Drivers Test

There is a lot of work that goes into getting your driver’s license. You have to be able to follow the rules of the road while also understanding the reasoning behind those rules. During your road test, you could be automatically disqualified from getting your license if you go even slightly above the speed limit or if you make a turn at a red light when you are not allowed to. What can you do to ensure that your road test goes smoothly?

Spend Plenty of Time Practicing Behind The Wheel

The only way to learn how to drive a car is to spend time driving a car. Ask your parents, grandparents, or anyone over the age of 21 to take you driving whenever possible. On your first few trips, you should limit yourself to driving on familiar roads in good driving conditions. As you start to feel more comfortable behind the wheel, you can then start to drive when it is snowing out or when the roads are icy.

Familiarize Yourself With The Different Maneuvers That You Will Need To Execute

There are several maneuvers that you will have to execute while taking your test. Typically, you will need to prove your ability to make a three-point turn, as well as your ability to parallel park. For many drivers, parallel parking is the most difficult part of the test.

This means that you should practice this maneuver as often as possible. The good news is that you will most likely only have to parallel park behind one car as opposed to having to fit in between two cars.

Practice In The Same Car That You Will Take Your Road Test In

It is important to feel comfortable in the car that you are taking your road test in. If you have been practicing in a compact car that has an automatic transmission, you won’t be prepared to take your test driving an SUV with a manual transmission. Changing cars makes it harder to judge the amount of room you have while executing the required maneuvers on the road.

If you’re going to be using a friend’s vehicle to take the driver’s test, be sure to practice with it beforehand. Learning to drive in your mother’s minivan and then taking the test using your friend’s sporty convertible is probably not a good idea. To pass, you will need to be aware of how to operate certain functions, such as the windshield wipers, turn signals and emergency flashers. Always be sure that you can demonstrate knowledge of the vehicle you will be using for the test.

Familiarize Yourself With The Route That You Will Take During Your Test

Spend some time driving down the same roads that you will take during your road test. This will allow you to become familiar with the road signs, speed limit, and any other obstacles that you will have to overcome while taking your test.

Study The Rules To The Letter

The instructor who is grading your test will expect you to follow the letter of the law. This means that you have to put on your turn signal during your parallel parking and three-point turn. You will also have to stay exactly at or below the posted speed limit.

In other words, you will have to drive at exactly 35 miles per hour if that is what the speed limit for the road you are on. Driving instructors have been known to deduct points from drivers doing as little as half a mile per hour over the speed limit.

Drivers also need to be able to follow road signs regardless of what the driving instructor tells you. For example, if you are told to go left, but there is a sign prohibiting a left-hand turn, you have to continue going straight.

A Driver Education Course Can Help You Immensely

Your parents may not be the best drivers in the world. They may not know all of the rules of the road that you will have to memorize when taking your road test. However, a certified driving instructor can teach you the proper way to drive to stay safe and pass your test.

Teenage drivers who take a driver education class may be eligible for their unrestricted license before they turn 18. Insurance companies are also known to give discounts to drivers who complete their course.

Final Thoughts

Passing a road test takes a lot of preparation. You have to prove to the person in the car with you that you are ready to get your license. To increase the odds of passing your test, use one car throughout the training and testing process, take time to drive on the roads that you will be tested on and take classes from a certified driving instructor.  Following these steps will help adequately prepare for and pass your driving test the first time that you take it.

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