What are fails in a driving test?

what you can expect on your first driving lesson

How is the examiner scoring me on my driving test and what could I be failed on?

The UK driving test is designed to assess whether a learner has the knowledge, skills, and attitude to drive safely and responsibly on the roads. The test is divided into two parts: the theory test and the practical test.

The practical test is designed to assess a learner’s ability to drive safely and legally on the road. During the test, the learner will be expected to demonstrate their ability to control the vehicle, make appropriate progress, and show awareness and anticipation of other road users. The test will last around 40 minutes and will include a variety of different types of roads, such as urban roads, rural roads, and dual carriageways.

The test includes a set of manoeuvres that the candidate needs to perform, as well as general driving, which can include:

  • Pulling up on the right
  • Parallel parking
  • Reverse parking into a bay
  • Reversing around a corner
  • Turn in the road.

The test will include independent driving, where the learner will be expected to follow traffic signs, road markings, and verbal directions.

A driving test will be marked as “failed” if the candidate makes any of the following errors:

  • Dangerous faults: These are the most serious faults, and if the learner makes just one of these, they will fail the test. Examples of dangerous faults include driving without due care and attention, driving without proper control, and failing to obey traffic signals.
  • Serious faults: These are less serious than dangerous faults, but if the learner makes more than one of these, they will fail the test. Examples of serious faults include driving too close to another vehicle, failing to look properly when reversing, and failing to use mirrors correctly.
  • Driving faults: These are less serious than serious faults and do not, by themselves, result in a test failure. However, if the candidate makes too many driving faults, this may indicate that they are not yet ready to pass the test. Examples of driving faults include failing to signal correctly, accelerating or braking harshly, and failing to use the appropriate gear at the right time.
Related:  How to prepare for your theory test

In addition to the practical test, the UK driving test also includes a theory test. The theory test is designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge of the Highway Code and road safety. The test is divided into two parts: a multiple-choice question section and a hazard perception section. Learners must pass both parts of the theory test before they are eligible to take the practical test.


Failing a driving test in the UK is based on the faults the candidate makes during the test. Dangerous faults lead to automatic failure. Serious faults and too many driving faults will make the learner fail the test as well. It is important to practice, know the highway code, and be well-prepared for the test to increase your chances of passing.