Test Driving Mistakes That Will Make You Fail


Make too many mistakes during your driving test, or one big one, and you could end up failing it. As the examiner gives you instructions during the driving test, points are taken off for each mistake you make. For example, in Oregon you start with 100 points at the beginning of the test and have points deducted when you make errors. If you drop below 75 due to mistakes you make, you fail.

Starting, Stopping and Turning

  • The test starts as soon as the instructor asks you to start the car and move into traffic. If you forget to check to see if the road is clear, you’ll lose points. Not following the speed limit is another tick against you. When you make turns, you need to use the proper signal and do so far ahead enough of time to keep from losing more points.

Parking and Backing Up

  • A big part of the test involves parking. You’ll be asked to parallel park along a curb and also asked to park on a hill. If you make mistakes during this part of the test, such as by parking too close to the curb or driving up on it, you will lose points. The same goes with backing up –– not turning your head to look through the rear window and relying solely on your side-view and rearview mirrors will result in points against you. Also, a failure to check your rearview mirrors frequently while driving will result in a lost points.

Signs, Traffic Signals and Intersections

  • You will lose points if you fail to follow traffic laws at stoplights, such as by driving through a red light or stopping at a green light. Similarly, you will lose points if you don’t come to a full, complete stop at a stop sign. Not noticing and following signs that indicate merging traffic or speed reductions are also big no-no’s.

Immediate Failure

  • There are a few situations during your driving test where the examiner may fail you immediately. For instance, if you refuse to perform one of the maneuvers she requests, or if the examiner must jump in to prevent an accident, you may find yourself heading back to the DMV office without passing. Forgetting to yield to someone walking in the crosswalk, or passing a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing, are also major errors. If you violate any traffic law, the examiner will probably fail you, and you'll need to retake the test again in the future.

State by State

  • Some state tests vary slightly in what can cause you to fail. In Michigan, for example, driving four to nine miles per hour over the speed limit results in one warning before you’re penalized. If you go 10 or more miles per hour too fast, you’re immediately penalized with no warning. Knowing how to operate the vehicle also comes into play. In Tennessee, you must show the examiner that you know how to defog the windshield or this could results in a point against you.

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