Common Practical Driving Test Mistakes

So you have your theory test under your belt and you are preparing to take your practical test. It’s a nerve-wracking hour-long examination of everything that you have learned up to this point so, naturally, a lot of people end up making little mistakes that end up costing them.

However, having a little knowledge on your side about what these mistakes are can go a long way to helping you avoid them. Here we will list just a few of the most common errors learners make when taking their practical driving tests.

Poor Speed Management

It should be obvious to anybody who has taken enough driving lessons to be ready for a practical test that speeding is a big no-no in your practical test. Go above the speed limit at any given time and you demonstrate that you are an unsafe driver, which is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.

However, many forget that driving too slowly is also grounds for failure. Failing to get up to the correct speed not only shows a distinct lack of confidence on your part but also affects how other road users react. Simply put, if you’re in a thirty zone, bring your car up to thirty miles an hour. Playing it too safe can end up putting more people in danger because it makes you unpredictable.

Getting Started

Some people end up failing their practical driving tests because they don’t do the basics right off the bat. This is often a sign of overconfidence. You may be a great driver, but if you don’t show the proper respect for the test you are going to fail.

Remember the simple things at all times, especially when preparing to pull off. Make sure your seat is adjusted, the headrest is at the correct height, and your belt is buckled. Follow the correct actions in starting the car, carrying out your observations and pulling off. Your examiner will be looking at everything you do and you need to be mindful that missed observations and failure to conduct yourself properly are grounds for failure.

Stopping The Vehicle

Stopping a vehicle properly is surprisingly difficult when you’re taking your test. If you lose control of the car by approaching the stopping point at the wrong speed, or you fail to indicate properly when pulling up, you may end up failing.

The key here is control. Approach stopping like you would a junction. Anticipate where you need to stop ahead of time and act appropriately to get yourself there. Simply put, you don’t want to end up in a situation where you panic during the stop. Importantly, stopping a little further past the point the examiner indicated will not reflect as badly on you as stopping unsafely in an attempt to perfectly follow instructions.


A lot of learner drivers place pressure on themselves before they even get behind the wheel, leading to many of the above mistakes occurring. Remember that failing a practical driving test is not the end of the world and you can always take it again, only this time you’ll do it with the benefit of experience.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to control the nerves. Make sure you have time to yourself prior to the test so you can prepare mentally and don’t take the exam on an empty stomach. Get plenty of rest the night before and don’t leave anything to chance.