The government regularly publishes statistics on the pass/fail rate of driving tests – between January and March 2022, the pass rate was 47.1%. That means less than half of drivers are passing their test, either because of minor or major faults. Given the expense of learning to drive, it’s worth trying to nail it first time – but doing so means knowing how many errors are allowed on a driving test.

How many errors are allowed on a driving test?

If you get fifteen or more minor faults, you’ll be failed by your invigilator. That said, if you repeat the same minor fault, you’ll also be failed, even if you haven’t hit the full fifteen minors. This is because you’re indicating to your invigilator that you haven’t mastered the requisite skill and aren’t recognising your error.

What are the serious faults?

If you make a serious or dangerous fault, regardless of whether you’ve made any minors, you’ll fail your driving test.

A serious or dangerous fault constitutes any error that endangers yourself and other road users. In other words, this means a mistake that might have resulted in a significant accident. You won’t know whether or not you performed a serious fault until the test is over.

What are the most common errors on a driving test?

Not checking mirrors

Checking your mirrors is wise before performing most actions in a vehicle. If you change lanes without checking your mirrors, that would likely constitute a serious fault. But moving off without doing so, or not judging a junction accordingly, is also a minor, unless it’s a more serious incident.

Make it obvious to the examiner that you’re using your mirrors by turning your head slightly when you do so.

Hesitation and lack of decision at junctions

Negotiating junctions can be stressful for learner drivers. You need to ensure that you’re driving safely and aren’t being reckless with your decisions. Any dangerous move at a junction will constitute a major fault and immediate fail.

However, you also need to avoid hesitating excessively. If you miss an opportunity to safely pull out once, you won’t be penalised for this. However, if you miss multiple chances to safely pull out and are subsequently holding up the traffic behind you, then you’ll get a minor.

Mounting the kerb and ignoring traffic lights

If you touch the kerb when performing a manoeuvre, this is only a minor fault. But mounting the kerb, or crashing into it, will be a major fault and result in immediate failure.

You need to avoid driving through a red light at all costs, as this is illegal. Always heed the lights but also ensure you move away safely – and remember to never stop in any designated cycle box, even if there’s no cyclist there.

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