Your Cart


What Are The Most Common Mistakes On The Driving Test

10 Most Common Mistakes You Should Avoid On A Driving Exam

Before you can get your driver’s license, you must pass the DMV on-the-road test, in addition to a written or knowledge test. If you are prepared and alert, passing the driving test is not too difficult. To improve your chances of success, it’s important to avoid common driving test mistakes and strive for a better score on the practice test. In this article, we will discuss the 10 most common mistakes to avoid on the driving test and answer some FAQs teens might have on the DMV exam. Let’s dive in!

Common Mistakes On Driving Test
What Are The Most Common Mistakes On The Driving Test

What Are The Most Common Mistakes On The Driving Test – The Top 10

1. Not Fastening The Seat Belt

One of the common reasons why people fail the driving test is forgetting to fasten their seat belts. Why? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45% and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50%. While this is such a basic and simple task, many test-takers forget to do so. Failing to fasten your seat belt can lead to an automatic fail on your test.

Why It’s a Big Deal:

  • Seat belts reduce fatal injuries by 45% for front-seat passengers.
  • They decrease moderate-to-critical injuries by 50%.
  • Forgetting this can lead to an instant fail on your test.

The Danger of Overlooking It:

  • In an accident, you could be ejected from the vehicle.
  • Unbelted passengers can become projectiles, harming others.
  • Even minor stops can cause injury without a seat belt.

Not Fastening The Seat Belt

2. Making Incomplete Stops

Another mistake that can lead to automatic fails is making rolling stops or incomplete stops at stop signs. In fact, this is considered illegal in all states. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers are required to come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights before proceeding, and failure to do so can result in points being deducted or even an automatic fail on the driving test. Thus, you must totally avoid it during the driving test. Make complete stops.

Why Rolling Stops Are Risky:

  • They’re illegal in every state. Period.
  • Not stopping can lead to dangerous collisions.
  • Pedestrians or cyclists might be crossing, risking their safety and yours.

Understanding the importance is crucial, but what can you do to ensure you always make a full stop?

Steps to Secure Your Stop:

  • Count to three after stopping, then proceed.
  • Look left, then right, and left again before moving.
  • Use landmarks, like the stop line or crosswalk, as reference points.

Making Incomplete Stops

3. Driving Too Fast

Test takers tend to drive too fast due to nervousness or anxiety during the test. Driving too fast is a common mistake on a driver’s exam because it increases the risk of accidents and violations of traffic laws. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is a contributing factor in about one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States. So try to remain as calm as possible and drive within the speed limit. In most states, driving too quickly or over the allowed speed results in immediate failure on the test. You might feel anxious, but pressing on the gas too much? Not the solution. Speeding can spell disaster, especially during your test.

Why Speeding Spells Trouble:

  • Nervousness can inadvertently lead to a heavier foot.
  • It significantly raises the risk of accidents and law violations.
  • Speeding is linked to a third of all US traffic fatalities.

Being aware is great, but how do you curb the urge to speed?

Steps to Maintain the Right Pace:

  • Regularly check your speedometer.
  • Breathe deeply, stay calm, and focus.
  • Remember, slow and steady often wins the race, or in this case, the test.

Driving Too Fast

4. Driving Slowly

When you try to avoid speeding, you might inadvertently drive too slow. However, be cautious. Driving too slowly can be as hazardous as speeding. For your safety, always keep an eye on the speed limit. It’s crucial to stay within the allowed speed. Furthermore, think about taking a defensive driving course. Doing so can significantly boost your confidence during driving exams.

Why Driving Slow Can Be Concerning:

  • Over-caution can lead to driving under the speed limit.
  • Driving too slow can be just as risky as speeding.
  • Other drivers might get impatient or make risky moves to overtake.

Now that you know the dangers, how can you ensure you maintain the right speed?

Steps to Find the Perfect Pace:

  • Regularly glance at your speedometer.
  • Aim to match the flow of traffic, within the speed limit.
  • If unsure, defensive driving courses can be invaluable.

Read what drivers on Reddit have to say about slow driving and why it is more dangerous than fast driving!

5. Improper Braking

Harsh Braking

When taking your test, the examiner will closely watch how you brake. While it’s tempting, braking too hard or abruptly can lead to a failed road test. This often indicates either poor habits or weak driving skills. As stated by the California DMV, you must brake smoothly and gradually. Otherwise, sudden or aggressive stops could risk losing control and result in point deductions on your exam.

Why Braking Matters:

  • Hard or abrupt stops can signal a test failure.
  • It can hint at either bad habits or underdeveloped driving abilities.
  • The California DMV emphasizes the importance of smooth, gradual braking.
  • Sudden halts can risk vehicle control and cost you valuable test points.

Steps to Refine Your Braking:

  • Start by braking earlier than you think you need to.
  • Apply the brakes gently at first, then increase pressure as needed.
  • Pay attention to the car’s response; it should slow down smoothly.
  • Practice in an empty parking lot or quiet street to gain confidence.

Learn how proper braking techniques can also extend the life of your tires!

6. Improper Parallel Parking

It takes time and a lot of practice driving to master parallel parking. While examiners don’t expect you to be experts at it, you need to know how to properly parallel park. Some states require you to successfully parallel park before you can pass the driving test.

Why It’s Significant:

  • Examiners don’t expect perfection, but they do demand competence.
  • Many states have a clear mandate: no parallel parking, no pass.
  • It’s more than a test requirement; it’s a vital skill for city driving.

7. Improper Lane Changing

Improper Lane Changes

Changing lanes can be tricky, especially during a test. As you navigate the road, your examiner will be particularly attentive to how you manage lane transitions. First, it’s vital to keep both hands on the wheel for control. Secondly, always signal and check mirrors before making any moves. Furthermore, maintaining focus during these shifts ensures you’re aware of surrounding traffic. Perfecting this technique is not only essential for passing but also for safe everyday driving.

Dangers of Improper Lane Changes:

  • Unexpected moves can startle other drivers, causing panic reactions.
  • Without signaling, you become unpredictable on the road.
  • Failing to check blind spots can lead to collisions with unseen vehicles.
  • Abrupt lane changes increase the risk of sideswipe accidents.

Awareness of these risks is crucial, but how can you ensure smooth and safe lane transitions?

Steps for Proper Lane Changes:

  • Always keep both hands on the wheel for maximum control.
  • Signal your intentions early to alert fellow drivers.
  • Thoroughly check mirrors and blind spots every time.
  • Maintain a steady speed and avoid abrupt moves.

8. Following Too Closely

Following Car Too Closely

Pass the road test by avoiding this common mistake: following too closely. The administrator will mark down points if you keep an unsafe distance. As a rule, keep around three seconds between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Following too closely is a common mistake on a driver’s exam because it can result in rear-end collisions, violations of traffic laws, and safety hazards for other drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions account for approximately one-third of all crashes on U.S. roads, and following too closely is a common cause of these accidents.

Dangers of Tailgating:

  • It’s a top reason for point deductions during your driving exam.
  • Tailgating increases the risk of rear-end collisions.
  • It jeopardizes the safety of you, your passengers, and other drivers.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that about a third of U.S. crashes are rear-end collisions, often due to tailgating.

Now that you’re aware of the dangers, how can you ensure you maintain a safe following distance?

Ensuring Safe Distance:

  • Familiarize yourself with the three-second rule: always keep this buffer between your car and the one ahead.
  • Adjust the gap in adverse weather conditions, increasing the distance to account for slippery roads or reduced visibility.
  • Constantly check your speed and distance, especially in heavy traffic.
  • Practice judging distances in different conditions to become more adept at it.

9. Not Checking Mirrors

Checking your mirrors consistently is not only to impress the test administrator but more importantly, to ensure your safety. You are more aware of your surroundings when you always glance at the left side, right side, and rearview mirrors, and be aware of the blind spot.

Why Mirror Checks are Crucial:

  • They provide a 360-degree view of your surroundings, enhancing your situational awareness.
  • Regular checks help in detecting and predicting the moves of other drivers.
  • They reduce the risk of merging or lane-changing accidents.
  • Blind spots, areas not visible in your mirrors, can conceal vehicles and present real hazards.

Understanding the importance is one thing, but how can you cultivate this habit effectively?

Developing Good Mirror-Checking Habits:

  • Establish a routine: left mirror, rearview, right mirror, and then blind spots.
  • Aim to glance at a mirror every 5-10 seconds, especially in high-traffic scenarios.
  • Adjust your mirrors correctly before every drive to maximize your field of vision.
  • Practice identifying vehicles moving in and out of your blind spots to enhance detection.

10. Confusion At Four-Way Stops

The administrator expects that you know what to do when on a four-way stop. Prolonged stops at a four-way stop will indicate that you don’t know what to do, which means minus points on your score. Here’s a simple rule: the first to arrive has the first right of way and the vehicle on the right side has priority.

Pitfalls of Hesitation at Four-Way Stops:

  • Prolonged stops reveal a lack of confidence or understanding.
  • Incorrect actions can confuse other drivers and disrupt traffic flow.
  • Uncertainty can increase the risk of collisions at intersections.

So, how can you smoothly handle a four-way stop and impress both the examiner and other road users?

Mastering the Four-Way Stop Rule:

  • Always remember: the first to arrive takes the lead.
  • If you arrive simultaneously with another vehicle, the one on the right gets priority.
  • Make eye contact with other drivers, if possible, to communicate intentions.
  • Stay calm, use your signals, and proceed with caution once it’s your turn.

Related Article: How GPS Tracking Can Help Teen Drivers

Teen At Vehicle Crash

What Are The Most Common Mistakes On The Driving Test – Frequently Asked Questions

How Can Driver’s Education Help Me Prepare For The DMV Behind The Wheel Exam?

Yes, driver’s education is crucial for your DMV test preparation. Why? Because it equips you with comprehensive knowledge of road rules, ensuring you understand traffic signs and regulations. Importantly, you’ll learn proper driving techniques. This means mastering how to steer, accelerate, brake, and reverse correctly. Your instructor will also focus on safe driving practices, highlighting the importance of checking mirrors and blind spots. Additionally, driver’s education exposes you to various driving scenarios. You’ll practice navigating through heavy traffic, adverse weather conditions, and emergencies. This hands-on experience boosts your confidence, making you less nervous during the test. Remember, being well-prepared can significantly increase your chances of passing the DMV behind-the-wheel exam.

What Are The Most Common Driving Test Fails?

  • Inadequate Observation at Junctions: Failing to properly check for other vehicles or pedestrians before proceeding is a common mistake.
  • Failing to Maintain Proper Lane Position: This includes drifting between lanes or not staying in the center of the lane.
  • Poor Steering Control: Over- or under-steering, or not holding the wheel properly can lead to a fail.
  • Incorrect Speed: Driving too fast or too slow for the road conditions or speed limits is a frequent error.
  • Not Following Traffic Signs and Signals: Ignoring stop signs, traffic lights, or other road signs often results in a fail.
  • Lack of Control When Reversing or Parking: Struggling with parallel parking, reversing into a space, or other parking maneuvers is a common issue.
  • Failure to Yield the Right of Way: Not yielding to pedestrians or other vehicles when required can be a critical error.
  • Improper Freeway Merging: Failing to merge safely onto a freeway is a common mistake.
  • Poor Reaction to Hazards: Not responding appropriately to road hazards or changes in traffic conditions.
  • Nervousness and Lack of Confidence: Excessive nervousness can lead to mistakes and poor decision-making during the test.

What Should I Do If I’m Having Trouble With Steering Control During My Driver’s Exam?

Yes, maintaining control while steering is essential during your DMV test. If you find it challenging, first, take a deep breath. Staying calm is key to regaining control. Focus intently on the road ahead, not just the immediate vicinity. This wider perspective helps in smoother steering. Always keep both hands on the wheel, ideally at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions. This ensures better control and responsiveness. To improve your steering skills, practice in a safe area, like an empty parking lot. Here, you can practice turns, maneuvering around obstacles, and controlling your speed.

Can Braking Too Hard Cause Me To Fail The DMV Test?

Yes, braking too hard can cause you to fail the DMV test. Make sure to apply the brakes smoothly and gradually, rather than slamming on them, to avoid losing points.

What Should I Know About Lanes In An Intersection For The DMV Test?

For the DMV test, it’s important to understand how to navigate lanes in an intersection. Always stay in the appropriate lane for your intended direction, and use your turn signals to signal your intentions to other drivers. Remember to check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.

Some images in this article, “What Are The Most Common Mistakes On The Driving Test” were created with AI

Joy Nguyen
Latest posts by Joy Nguyen (see all)
Free Shipping

On All Orders This Week Only

Free Technical Support

Get Help 7 Days A Week

100% Secure Checkout

PayPal / MasterCard / Visa