Next Steps For Achieving Success
Whether you are 17, or 70 – your driving test, and the build-up can be amongst the most stressful periods of your entire life.
Everybody has their reasons for driving a car – whether using it for work, becoming a free taxi for all of your friends, or taking your first step into independence.
But unfortunately, over 50% of all practical driving tests end in failure according to DVSA. The reasons for this vary from each person – stress, lack of concentration or your brain failing you at the vital moments.
Whatever the reason for failing, it is understandably common for people to be consumed with a huge sense of regret, and upset with this outcome.
So, what should you do if you have failed your driving test?
Here are a few tips on how to make sure that you do everything you need to pass next time round:
1) What can you do differently next time?
The first step in this process is determining why you have failed; the examiner will provide you with an explanation of the areas, which need improvement before you become road-legal – often coined major and minor faults.
But, the official points systems are divided into three main criteria, according to GOV.UK:
- Driving Fault: Commonly referred to as a ‘minor’ – it means that while you may be making a mistake, it is not deemed potentially dangerous by the examiner. Nevertheless, if you keep making this same mistake (i.e. driving up to a junction too fast), it can become a serious fault.
- Serious Fault: The examiner will give you this fault if they suspect you are doing something potentially dangerous, or an error which had the potential to cause an accident if a car was there (i.e. not staying in your lane on a roundabout).
- Dangerous Fault: This type of driving will mean an instant fail for your whole test – judged by whether the examiner believes that it will cause immediate danger to both yourself, the examiner, the wider public and/or physical property (i.e. about to drive over the top of a roundabout).
→ With all this conversation around majors and minors – We are sure that you are wondering ‘what does this mean for me?’
You will pass your practical driving test if you receive under 15 driving fault(s), and no serious or dangerous faults.
So, this should be your first point of call – turn those negative points into positive areas; take a look into what you need to improve, and address these problems.
Your instructor will hopefully go through these faults with you and help you improve in the upcoming lessons. However, if not, do not be afraid to ask to focus on these areas specifically, so you can successfully pass next time around.
If you are lucky enough to be insured on your parent’s car and have somebody over the age of 21 willing to supervise you, then it is our advice that you ask them (nicely) to help you work on these problems.
Just make sure they have held a licence for 3 or more years, and insured on the car you are learning in – otherwise, they cannot teach you. Let’s not forget those ‘L’ plates too!
But, if you choose to avoid this option of driving with your parents, we do not blame you – this can often be rage-inducing.
2) Stress reduction
Do you completely buckle under stress?
You are not alone.
Very often, young drivers finish their test with instant regret because they let their stress take hold of their abilities. There is no quick fix for this problem; stress is something we all have to deal with in life, but hopefully by having more lessons and taking your time to pass your driving test will help you become more confident at the wheel.
There is no rush to start driving – putting a date on when you want to pass can often lead to unnecessary stress.
Progressing at your own pace will be the best fix for overcoming those stressful vibes on the day of your test. So, once you are fully ready to get back to the test centre, talk with your instructor, and book your next test.
For more tips on how to reduce anxiety in your driving test, read our article!
3) Booking your next practical test
The anticipation of getting on the road is something we all feel – so we are sure that once you found out you had failed, your mind instantly went to when you could next take your test.
The standard waiting time to retake your driving test is 10 working days from your previous test – but this will often depend on your local driving centre, and whether they have any slots available in that time period.
Unfortunately, you may attempt to secure your next test slot, and be left wide-eyed at the one-month wait time – this is the reality for lots of you out there.
So, if you feel ready to get behind the wheel again very soon, book as quickly as you can, and find the first available slot.
But, you mustn’t rush yourself – the idea of driving to the coast with your friends can be highly appealing, but if you are not ready, you may be wasting more money to rebook another driving test.
For our advice on the best times to book your driving test for, read here.
4) Look at why people fail – Avoid making common mistakes
If you have failed your test, we are sure that you have scanned the paper tensely, looking for any mistakes the examiner could have made – over and over again until your eyes go blurry.
Unfortunately, this is highly unlikely to be the case!
So, once you have accepted the feedback, and addressed the problems identified in your test with your instructor, it is best practice to look at some common mistakes other people make, so you can see what to avoid.
According to the Drivers and Vehicle Standards Agency (2018-2019), here are the top 10 most common mistakes people make during their driving test in the UK:
- Junctions (observation)
- Mirrors – (change direction)
- Control (steering)
- Junctions (turning right)
- Move off (safely)
- Response to signals (traffic lights)
- Move off (control)
- Positioning (normal driving)
- Response to signals (road markings)
- Reverse park (control)
Whether you are learning to drive, about to take your test, or have failed your practical, focus on these key problem areas – to make sure you are not putting the brakes on your progress.
Also, please, please, please remember to take your documents – unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that people ‘fail’ their driving test for forgetting to bring the following:
- UK Driving Licence
- Theory Test Pass certificate
- A car – arrange with your driving instructor
We recommend preparing these things in advance – nobody wants to fail their driving test because they left their licence in another jacket. You do not need to do this a month in advance, but at least the night before, so you can remove the stress on the day!