The UK Driving Theory Test and Practical Driving Test both have to be passed before a candidate can gain a full driving licence. During your driving lessons you should be taught on a wide variety of roads including town driving, rural roads and dual-carriageways. With good quality tuition and private practice you should be able to go on and pass the Practical Driving Test.
Below is a list of the 10 most common reasons for failing the test.
1. Observation at Junctions. You should be able to approach any road junction and assess it so that you can approach it at an appropriate speed so you can demonstrate good and effective observation and judgement. That means looking for other road users including cars, pedestrians and cycles that you should give way too. When emerging from any road junction you should do so without causing any other vehicle to brake or change direction.
2. Reversing around a corner with control. This manouvre should be done at a slow speed, sometimes slower than a walking pace. This slow pace will give you the time to accurately check your positioning and reference points. You should manouvre not too far away from the kerb, or too close to the kerb. Make sure you turning point is lined up with the rear-wheels of your car.
3. Steering. The examiner likes to know that you have good control of the car via the steering wheel. Feed the wheel through your hands using the pull-push method of steering. When turning at junctions try to not let the wheel slip through your hands when self-centering. When emerging from junctions pick your point of turn accurately so that you do not cut the corner and driver over the kerbs.
4. Mirrors when changing direction. From your first driving lessons you would have been taught the MSPSL (mirrors, signal, position, speed, look) routine. When changing direction for a hazard use your mirrors in pairs to give the best view possible behind you.
5. Reverse parking faults. The examiner is looking for good effective all round observation with this manouvre and appropriate speed. When the manouvre is finished the car should be wholly within the marked white lines of the parking bay.
6. Gears. It is important to use an appropriate gear for the conditions you are driving in. Remember to use the lower gears for moving away and the higher gears for cruising once you are up to speed. Sometimes gear faults are marked by the examiner when you turn at a junction from a major road to a minor road with the clutch depressed. This is known as coasting and should be avoided. Gears are an important part of eco-driving, so choosing the highest gear when possible without letting the engine labour will help you save fuel.
7. Moving away safely. You should be able to move away from the side of the road using effective observation which would include a mandatory blind spot check. You should not cause another vehicle to slow down or change direction when moving away. You should also signal if necessary when moving away.
8. Observation during left reverse. When reversing the car you should be looking behind you through the rear window the majority of the time with frequent looks around. It is not enough to just rely on your mirrors when reversing. When you approach the point of turn and you start steering left on this manouvre the front of your car swings out towards the middle of the road. You should check to the right to make sure the road is clear before doing so. You also need to check frequently for other road users moving in your area and deal with them accordingly.
9. Moving away under control. It is a common myth on your driving test that you will fail if you stall the car. This is not necessarily the case, but you must make sure you select the correct gear when moving away. If you are asked to move away on a hill you should demonstrate good coordination of all of the controls to avoid rolling backwards.
10. Innapropriate speed and hesitation. You must be able to judge the correct speed for each road and situation. This will vary because of the time of day, weather conditions etc. You must also be careful with your approach speed to junctions. Know what the speed limits are for each road you drive on and don’t go over them. Make positive decisions at junctions based on what you can see at the time. If you are unsure whether you can go or not then it’s probably better to wait a moment for a better opportunity.
Bear in mind the above issues when you take your Practical Driving Test. The national pass rate at the moment is a lowly 43%. With a decent instructor and a few hours private practice each week you should reach test success. Good luck.