Common Driving test Faults: Major and Minors Explained

Driving test Faults Explained

Driving tests can be daunting for many learner drivers in the UK. Understanding the faults that can occur during the test is essential for improving your driving skills and increasing your chances of passing.

This comprehensive guide will explain the differences between major and minor faults, how they impact your test outcome, and highlight some common faults to avoid.

Understanding Driving Test Faults

Driving test faults are the errors or mistakes a learner driver makes during their driving test.

These faults are classified into two main categories: major faults and minor faults. Understanding these distinctions and their implications is crucial for any learner driver.

What are Driving Test Faults?

Driving test faults are assessed by the examiner to determine your ability to drive safely and competently. Each fault is recorded on the driving test report sheet and contributes to the final assessment of your driving performance.

DL25 driving test fault sheet

View DL25 driving test report fault sheet PDF

Types of Faults:

  • Minor Faults: Also known as driving faults, these are less serious errors that do not pose an immediate danger but indicate areas where your driving needs improvement.
  • Major Faults: These are serious errors that can be classified into serious faults and dangerous faults. Major faults are critical mistakes that show a significant lack of control or understanding of safe driving practices.

Difference Between Major and Minor Faults

The primary difference between major faults and minor faults lies in the severity of the error and the potential danger it poses.

Minor Faults:

  • Definition: Errors that do not immediately endanger you, the examiner, or other road users.
  • Examples: Failing to check mirrors frequently enough, slight steering inaccuracies, or minor hesitation.
  • Impact: Accumulating too many minor faults can lead to a test failure. Typically, you can have up to 15 minor faults and still pass.

Major Faults:

  • Serious Faults:

    • Definition: Errors that could potentially be dangerous but were not at the time due to the circumstances.
    • Examples: Incorrectly assessing a situation, such as not giving way when necessary, but without immediate danger.
    • Impact: Just one serious fault will result in a test failure.
  • Dangerous Faults:

    • Definition: Errors that pose an immediate danger to you, the examiner, or other road users.
    • Examples: Failing to stop at a red light, nearly causing an accident, or losing control of the vehicle.
    • Impact: A single dangerous fault will lead to an immediate test failure.

How Faults Affect Your Test Outcome

Understanding how faults affect your test outcome is essential for managing your performance during the driving test.

Minor Faults:

  • You can accumulate up to 15 minor faults and still pass.
  • Exceeding 15 minor faults will result in a failure.
  • Consistently repeating the same minor fault might indicate a pattern that could lead to a serious fault.

Major Faults:

  • A single serious fault or dangerous fault will result in a test failure.
  • Major faults indicate a lack of necessary driving skills and understanding, making it unsafe to pass the learner driver.

Being aware of these distinctions can help you focus on areas of improvement and aim for a fault-free driving test.

Common Major Faults

Major faults are critical errors that indicate unsafe driving practices. Identifying and understanding these faults can help you avoid them during your driving test.

Dangerous Manoeuvres

Dangerous manoeuvres are actions that pose an immediate risk to the safety of you, your examiner, or other road users. These are often the result of poor judgement or inadequate control of the vehicle.

Examples of Dangerous Manoeuvres:

  1. Incorrect Lane Changes: Moving into another lane without checking mirrors or blind spots can result in a collision.
  2. Improper Overtaking: Attempting to overtake in unsafe conditions, such as on a bend or near a pedestrian crossing.
  3. Sudden Stops: Making abrupt stops without warning or necessity, causing danger to vehicles behind you.
  4. Turning into Oncoming Traffic: Misjudging the speed or distance of oncoming vehicles when making turns.

Avoidance Tips:

  • Always check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
  • Only overtake when it is safe and legal to do so.
  • Make smooth, controlled stops and ensure you signal in advance.
  • Carefully assess oncoming traffic before making turns.

Failing to Observe Properly

Failing to observe properly is a common cause of major faults. Proper observation is critical for safe driving and involves constantly scanning your environment to make informed decisions.

Examples of Failing to Observe Properly:

  1. Not Checking Mirrors: Failing to use mirrors before changing direction, turning, or stopping.
  2. Ignoring Blind Spots: Neglecting to check blind spots before manoeuvres, particularly when changing lanes or merging.
  3. Poor Junction Observations: Not adequately observing traffic at junctions, leading to unsafe entries or exits.
  4. Neglecting Pedestrians: Failing to observe and yield to pedestrians at crossings or when they have the right of way.

Avoidance Tips:

  • Regularly check your mirrors and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Always check blind spots before changing lanes or merging.
  • Take extra time to observe all directions at junctions before proceeding.
  • Be vigilant for pedestrians, especially in urban areas and near schools.

Poor Control of the Vehicle

Poor control of the vehicle demonstrates a lack of basic driving skills and can lead to serious or dangerous faults. Maintaining control of the car is fundamental to safe driving.

Examples of Poor Control:

  1. Stalling: Repeatedly stalling the car, especially in critical situations like junctions or roundabouts.
  2. Improper Steering: Oversteering, understeering, or steering with one hand, leading to poor vehicle control.
  3. Inaccurate Gear Changes: Selecting the wrong gear or failing to change gears appropriately, affecting the car’s performance.
  4. Braking Errors: Harsh or late braking that can cause loss of control or endanger other road users.

Avoidance Tips:

  • Practice clutch control and smooth gear changes to avoid stalling.
  • Use the pull-push method for steering to maintain proper control.
  • Familiarise yourself with the appropriate gear for different speeds and conditions.
  • Apply brakes smoothly and progressively, allowing ample time to stop.

Understanding and avoiding these major faults is crucial for passing your driving test. Focus on proper observation, vehicle control, and safe manoeuvring to demonstrate your competence as a driver.

In the following sections, we will explore minor faults and how to address them, further aiding your preparation for a successful driving test.

Common Minor Faults

Minor faults, while less serious than major faults, can still add up and lead to a test failure if not addressed. Understanding these common minor faults can help you fine-tune your driving skills.

Incorrect Signalling

Incorrect signalling involves failing to use indicators properly, which can confuse other road users and result in minor faults.

Examples of Incorrect Signalling:

  1. Not Signalling: Failing to signal when changing direction, turning, or moving off.
  2. Late Signalling: Signalling too late, giving other road users insufficient warning.
  3. Inappropriate Signalling: Indicating too early or leaving indicators on after the manoeuvre is complete.
  4. Incorrect Signal Use: Using the wrong signal for the intended action, such as indicating left when intending to turn right.
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Avoidance Tips:

  • Always signal your intentions well in advance.
  • Check your indicators are off after completing a manoeuvre.
  • Ensure your signals match your intended actions.
  • Practise timing your signals to avoid early or late indications.

Hesitation at Junctions

Hesitation at junctions can cause unnecessary delays and disrupt the flow of traffic, leading to minor faults.

Examples of Hesitation:

  1. Over-Cautiousness: Waiting too long to proceed when it is safe to do so.
  2. Uncertainty: Indecisiveness about when to enter or exit a junction.
  3. Missed Opportunities: Not taking available gaps in traffic, causing delays.

Avoidance Tips:

  • Practise judging the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.
  • Build confidence in your ability to make timely decisions.
  • Familiarise yourself with different types of junctions and their rules.
  • Work with your instructor to improve your decision-making at junctions.

Inadequate Mirror Checks

Inadequate mirror checks refer to failing to use mirrors correctly to observe traffic and surroundings, which can result in minor faults.

Examples of Inadequate Mirror Checks:

  1. Not Checking Mirrors: Failing to check mirrors before manoeuvres such as changing lanes, turning, or stopping.
  2. Insufficient Mirror Use: Not using mirrors frequently enough to stay aware of surrounding traffic.
  3. Ignoring Blind Spots: Neglecting to check blind spots, especially when moving off or changing lanes.

Avoidance Tips:

  • Develop a routine of regularly checking your mirrors.
  • Always check mirrors before any change of direction or speed.
  • Make a habit of checking blind spots before moving off or changing lanes.
  • Practise mirror checks during lessons to make them a natural part of your driving.

Preparing to Avoid Faults

Preparation is key to avoiding both major and minor faults during your driving test. Focus on essential skills, familiarise yourself with test routes, and use mock tests to identify and address weaknesses.

Preparing to Avoid Faults

Essential Skills to Practise

Essential skills to practise include the fundamental aspects of driving that ensure safety and competence.

Core Skills:

  1. Clutch Control: Mastering smooth gear changes and avoiding stalling.
  2. Steering Techniques: Using the pull-push method for precise control.
  3. Observation: Regularly checking mirrors and blind spots.
  4. Speed Management: Maintaining appropriate speeds for different conditions.
  5. Judgement: Making safe and timely decisions at junctions and roundabouts.

Practice Tips:

  • Schedule regular driving lessons to practise these core skills.
  • Work with your instructor to focus on areas needing improvement.
  • Take extra lessons if necessary to build confidence and proficiency.

Understanding Test Routes

Understanding test routes can give you a significant advantage, as familiarity with the route can reduce anxiety and improve performance.

Key Points:

  1. Route Familiarisation: Know the common test routes used by your local test centre.
  2. Hazard Awareness: Identify potential hazards along these routes, such as busy junctions, pedestrian crossings, and roundabouts.
  3. Practice Runs: Drive these routes multiple times with your instructor to become comfortable with the road layout and conditions.

Preparation Tips:

  • Ask your instructor about the most frequently used test routes.
  • Practise driving these routes under different conditions (e.g., peak traffic, different weather).
  • Pay attention to tricky sections and practice handling them confidently.

Using Mock Tests to Identify Weaknesses

Using mock tests to identify weaknesses is an effective strategy for improving your driving skills and preparing for the actual test.

Benefits of Mock Tests:

  1. Realistic Conditions: Simulate the conditions of the actual driving test.
  2. Fault Identification: Highlight areas where you are prone to making mistakes.
  3. Confidence Building: Familiarise yourself with the test format and reduce anxiety.

Mock Test Tips:

  • Conduct regular mock tests with your instructor.
  • Treat the mock test seriously and try to perform as you would on the actual test.
  • Review the results with your instructor to understand and work on your weaknesses.
  • Use the feedback to focus your practice sessions on improving specific skills.

By understanding and practising these strategies, you can:

During the Test: Staying Calm and Focused

Taking your driving test can be nerve-wracking, but staying calm and focused is essential for performing well. Here are some tips to help you manage your nerves, keep a clear head, and handle any mistakes during the test.

Tips for Managing Test Nerves

Managing test nerves is crucial for maintaining control and concentration during your driving test.

Preparation:

  • Practice Regularly: Consistent practice builds confidence and reduces anxiety.
  • Mock Tests: Conducting mock tests with your instructor can help you get used to the test environment.

Relaxation Techniques:

  • Deep Breathing: Take deep breaths to calm your nerves before and during the test.
  • Positive Visualisation: Visualise a successful test outcome to boost your confidence.
  • Stay Positive: Focus on your strengths and the progress you’ve made.

On the Day:

  • Arrive Early: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the test centre to avoid last-minute stress.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink water and have a light snack if needed.
  • Trust Your Training: Remember that your instructor believes you are ready for the test.

Keeping a Clear Head During the Test

Keeping a clear head during the test is essential for making sound decisions and reacting appropriately to different driving situations.

Focus on the Present:

  • One Step at a Time: Concentrate on the current task rather than worrying about the entire test.
  • Stay in the Moment: Avoid letting your mind wander or dwelling on past mistakes.

Maintain Concentration:

  • Active Observation: Continuously check mirrors and monitor your surroundings.
  • Anticipate: Be aware of potential hazards and plan your actions in advance.

Communication:

  • Listen to Instructions: Pay close attention to the examiner’s instructions and ask for clarification if needed.
  • Stay Calm: If you don’t understand an instruction, politely ask the examiner to repeat it.

Handling Mistakes During the Test

Handling mistakes during the test effectively can make a big difference in your overall performance.

Stay Calm:

  • Don’t Panic: If you make a mistake, remain calm and continue driving. A minor fault doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed.
  • Recover Smoothly: Correct your mistake safely and continue with the test.

Learn and Move On:

  • Focus on the Next Task: Don’t dwell on the mistake. Concentrate on performing well in the remaining parts of the test.
  • Stay Positive: Keep a positive mindset and believe in your ability to pass despite minor errors.

After the Test: Reviewing Your Performance

Once the test is over, it’s important to review your performance, understand the feedback, and plan your next steps. This reflection can help you learn from the experience and improve your driving skills.

Understanding the Feedback Sheet

Understanding the feedback sheet provided by the examiner is crucial for identifying areas of improvement.

DL25 driving test fault sheet

View the feedback sheet used by the examiner PDF

Feedback Overview:

  • Driving Faults: The sheet will list all minor and major faults you accumulated during the test.
  • Comments: The examiner may include specific comments on your driving performance.

Fault Categories:

  • Minor Faults: Review the minor faults to see patterns or recurring issues.
  • Major Faults: Pay close attention to any serious or dangerous faults to understand what went wrong.

Reviewing Tips:

  • Discuss with Your Instructor: Go through the feedback with your instructor to get their professional insight.
  • Identify Patterns: Look for any patterns in the faults to understand common areas where you need improvement.

Learning from Your Mistakes

Learning from your mistakes is key to improving your driving skills and preparing for a successful future test.

Self-Assessment:

  • Honest Reflection: Honestly assess your performance and acknowledge the areas where you need to improve.
  • Strengths and Weaknesses: Identify both your strengths and weaknesses based on the feedback.

Action Plan:

  • Targeted Practice: Focus your practice sessions on the areas where you received faults.
  • Set Goals: Establish clear, achievable goals for improving your driving skills.
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Planning Your Next Steps

Planning your next steps after receiving your test results will help you stay motivated and on track towards passing your driving test.

Booking a Retest:

  • Timing: Decide when to book your next test based on your confidence and readiness.
  • Availability: Check for available test dates and book as soon as you feel prepared.

Continued Learning:

  • Regular Lessons: Continue taking regular driving lessons to maintain and improve your skills.
  • Mock Tests: Schedule additional mock tests to build confidence and ensure you are test-ready.

Stay Positive:

  • Mindset: Maintain a positive attitude and remember that many people need multiple attempts to pass their driving test.
  • Support: Seek support from friends, family, and your instructor to keep you motivated and confident.

By staying calm during your test, thoroughly reviewing your performance, and planning your next steps, you can effectively prepare for and succeed in your driving test.

Frequently asked questions

In a driving test in the UK, you can have up to 15 minor faults and still pass. A minor fault is a mistake or error made by the driver that does not pose any immediate danger to other road users or the candidate.

However, committing the same type of minor fault multiple times may result in a serious fault. Only a major fault or three of the same minor faults will result in a fail.

There is no specific number of minor faults that make a major fault in a driving test.

A major fault, also known as a serious fault, is a more significant mistake made by the driver that may pose a danger to other road users or the candidate.

Examples of major faults include failing to observe traffic signals or road signs, losing control of the vehicle, or endangering other road users. Only a major fault or three of the same minor faults will result in a fail.

There is no specific number of minors that you can have in one category in a driving test.

However, if you commit the same type of minor fault multiple times, it may indicate a habitual fault in that category. For example, if you repeatedly fail to check your mirrors before changing lanes, this may quickly convert into a major fault.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware of your driving habits and correct any recurring mistakes to avoid accumulating too many faults in one category.

The examiner will assess each fault on a case-by-case basis and determine whether it constitutes a minor, major, or dangerous fault based on the severity of the situation.

There are certain faults that will cause an immediate fail in a driving test in the UK.

These include committing a dangerous fault, such as driving through a red light or driving too fast in hazardous weather conditions.

Dangerous faults are the most serious and may result in an accident or injury to the candidate, other road users, or property. In addition, accumulating three or more of the same minor fault or committing a major fault will also result in an immediate fail.

It’s important to practice safe and responsible driving habits and to be aware of the rules of the road to avoid committing any dangerous or major faults during your driving test.

A serious fault, also known as a major fault, is a more significant mistake made by the driver during a driving test that may pose a danger to other road users or the candidate.

An example of a serious fault could be failing to observe traffic signals or road signs, such as driving through a red light or a stop sign. Other examples of serious faults include losing control of the vehicle, endangering other road users, and causing an obstruction on the road.

Committing a serious fault during a driving test will result in an immediate fail.

The most common driving faults during a driving test can vary, as each candidate’s performance is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

However, some of the most common driving faults include failing to check mirrors frequently enough, stalling the car, touching the kerb, hesitation, using the handbrake incorrectly, crossing hands over on the wheel, driving too slowly, and failing the sight test.

These faults are classified as minor faults, which do not pose any immediate danger to other road users or the candidate. It’s important to practice safe and responsible driving habits and be aware of the rules of the road to minimise the chances of committing these faults during a driving test.

Stalling the car during a driving test is considered a minor fault, and you will not fail your driving test if you stall the car once or twice during the test. However, if you stall the car repeatedly or in a manner that poses a danger to other road users or the candidate, this may result in a major or serious fault, which could cause you to fail the driving test.

It’s important to remain calm if you stall the car during the test and follow the correct procedure to restart the car and proceed safely.

The examiner will be observing your driving performance throughout the test, and one or two stalls should not significantly impact your overall assessment, as long as you recover quickly and continue to drive safely and confidently.

Yes, coasting can be considered a major fault and could cause you to fail your driving test. Coasting occurs when you disengage the gears and allow the vehicle to roll without engine braking.

This can be dangerous as it reduces the driver’s ability to control the vehicle and increases the stopping distance. Coasting is a serious safety concern, and the examiner will consider it a major fault if they observe it during the driving test.

It’s important to maintain control of the vehicle at all times and use the brakes and gears appropriately to slow down or stop the vehicle.

Yes, you can fail your driving test based on the show me/tell me questions. These questions are designed to assess your knowledge of the basic maintenance and safety checks that you should perform on your vehicle before driving.

If you are unable to answer the questions correctly or demonstrate the practical skills required, the examiner may mark it as a minor fault. Accumulating too many minor faults or failing to answer the questions correctly may result in a major or serious fault, which could cause you to fail your driving test.

Therefore, it’s important to study the relevant material thoroughly and practice the necessary skills to ensure that you can answer the show me/tell me questions confidently and accurately.

Failing a manoeuvre during a driving test is classified as a minor fault, and you will not fail the test if you make only one minor fault.

However, if you accumulate three or more minor faults or commit a major or dangerous fault during the test, you will fail the test. If you fail a manoeuvre, the examiner will allow you to continue with the test and assess your overall driving performance.

It’s important to remain calm and focused, correct your mistake, and continue driving safely and confidently to avoid accumulating too many faults.

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If you fail your driving test, you can book another test as soon as possible. There is no waiting period or limit on the number of times you can take the test.

However, you will have to pay the test fee again each time you take the test. It’s important to use the time between tests to practice and improve your driving skills and address any areas of weakness that led to your previous failure.

It’s also important to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for taking the test, such as having a valid provisional driving licence and meeting the minimum age requirement.

If you need to take further driving lessons to get test ready, submit an enquiry to our 1000+ driving instructors who can help.

There is no limit to the number of times you can fail a driving test. If you fail the driving test, you can retake it as many times as necessary until you pass.

However, you will have to pay the test fee each time you take the test. It’s important to use the time between tests to practice and improve your driving skills, address any areas of weakness that led to your previous failures, and build confidence behind the wheel.

Remember to take your time and focus on safe and responsible driving habits to increase your chances of passing the driving test.

Yes, if you fail your driving test, you have the right to appeal the decision. You can appeal a driving test fail if you believe that the examiner has made an error in their assessment, or if you have evidence that the test was conducted unfairly or improperly.

However, you must provide a valid and compelling reason for the appeal, and there is a fee associated with the process. The appeal process may involve a retest, a review of the test report, or a meeting with a senior examiner to discuss the issue.

It’s important to note that the appeal process can be time-consuming, and there is no guarantee that the appeal will be successful. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements and prepare adequately for the driving test to avoid the need for an appeal.

You can rebook your driving test as soon as you want after a fail. There is no set waiting period or limit on the number of times you can take the test. However, you will have to pay the test fee again each time you take the test.

It’s important to use the time between tests to practice and improve your driving skills and address any areas of weakness that led to your previous failure.

Remember to ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements for taking the test, such as having a valid provisional driving license and meeting the minimum age requirement.

Once you pass your driving test, you can start driving immediately. There is no waiting period or additional steps required to start driving once you have passed your test.

However, it’s important to remember that driving is a serious responsibility and requires practice and experience to become a confident and safe driver. You should take time to adjust to driving on your own and gain experience in different driving conditions before attempting more challenging routes or situations.

Remember to always follow the rules of the road, obey traffic signals and road signs, and practice safe and responsible driving habits to keep yourself and other road users safe.

If your driving test is cancelled for any reason, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will contact you to inform you of the cancellation and to reschedule the test.

You will usually be given a new test date and time, but you can also choose to rearrange the test if the new date and time are not suitable. If your test is cancelled at short notice, such as on the day of the test, you may be entitled to claim out-of-pocket expenses for travel or accommodation costs.

The DVSA will provide you with information on how to make a claim if this is the case. It’s important to check your email or phone regularly in the days leading up to the test to ensure that you receive any updates or notifications from the DVSA, and to contact them if you have any questions or concerns about the test or the rescheduling process.

Yes, you can fail a driving test on bay parking if you are unable to complete the manoeuvre correctly or safely.

Bay parking is a standard manoeuvre that is included in the driving test, and the examiner will assess your ability to manoeuvre the vehicle accurately and safely into a parking space between two other cars.

If you fail to position the car correctly within the marked bay, make contact with the other cars, or pose a danger to other road users or the candidate, this may result in a minor, major, or dangerous fault, which could cause you to fail the driving test.

It’s important to practice bay parking manoeuvres in a variety of situations and become comfortable with the procedure to increase your chances of passing the driving test.

Yes, you can fail a driving test on a manoeuvre if you are unable to complete the manoeuvre correctly or safely.

Manoeuvres are standard procedures that are included in the driving test, and the examiner will assess your ability to manoeuvre the vehicle accurately and safely.

Failing to perform a manoeuvre correctly, such as turning in the road, reverse parking, or reversing around a corner, may result in a minor, major, or dangerous fault, which could cause you to fail the driving test.

It’s important to practice manoeuvres in a variety of situations and become comfortable with the procedures to increase your chances of passing the driving test.

In a driving test in the UK, accumulating a major or serious fault or committing three or more of the same minor fault will result in an immediate fail.

The number of major faults that could cause you to fail the test depends on the severity of the faults committed. Major faults, also known as serious faults, are more significant mistakes made by the driver during the test that may pose a danger to other road users or the candidate.

Examples of major faults include failing to observe traffic signals or road signs, losing control of the vehicle, or endangering other road users. Committing a major fault during the driving test will result in an immediate fail.