Taking any kind of test at any time of life can be stressful. But there’s something about taking a driving test that turns normally calm, sensible, intelligent people into gibbering wrecks. Passing your driving test is hard. Not because you’re being asked to do anything that you’ve not already learned. But because you have to do all of those things while trying to control a degree of anxiety so intense that it has turned your brain to jelly. No wonder the first-time pass rate for the under 25s is only 21%!

The things is, it’s only a handful of errors that are responsible for most driving test failures.  Knowing what they are, preparing and going into your test happy and confident that you can do the things that most people struggle with could give you a distinct advantage.

So, let’s take a look at the reasons why most people fail first time.

The Top 5 Most Common Driving Test Errors

1. Observation

The problem with driving tests is that you’re so focused on the technical aspects of driving – signalling, manoeuvring – that it’s easy to forget that you’re actually driving. You are moving a fast, heavy vehicle along a road where other people are present and doing the same thing. So, you approach a junction, for example, and all you’re thinking about is how to navigate it technically well. Unless you get beeped by a driver coming the other way, or narrowly miss a pedestrian, you probably won’t even realise that you forgot to look both ways until you receive your fail.

2. Signalling

Signalling is the key way that drivers communicate. It’s an expression of your intentions and allows others to safely interpret your actions. If you forget to indicate, indicate incorrectly, or forget to cancel your signals, you will almost certainly fail your test.

3. Positioning

Good drivers are always aware of where they are on the road. Poor positioning at junctions, approaching roundabouts or even in general driving can endanger you and other drivers. Consistent – or serious – positioning errors will give you a major fault.

4. Speed

Speed control is a really important part of driving. Going too slowly can be just as bad as breaking the speed limit. Although your main focus while driving should always be the road, it’s good practise to take occasional glances at the speedo as you go.

5. Blind spots

Checking your blind spots while manoeuvring is integral. Your tester needs to know that you are completely aware of what’s going on around you. So, before you perform any manoeuvre, particularly one which involves reversing, properly check your blind spots. Don’t make a big song and dance out of it, but make sure that you use all of your mirrors as well as looking behind you.

Your driving test is probably one of the most stressful experiences you’ll have had to date. The thing is, as long as you prepare, there’s no reason why it should be. So, take your time, don’t rush your lessons, take at least one mock test prior to the real deal so you know if/how you need to improve, and find ways to stay calm. Do all that, and you’ll be driving in no time.