Learners are failing their driving test for the same reasons – here’s how to avoid them

LEARNER drivers are failing their driving tests for the same two reasons – with experts urging motorists to take more care.

Most Brits flunk their tests for the same reasons, with hundreds of thousands not passing for the same reasons in the past three years.

Those who fail to make effective observations at junctions and checking their mirrors properly when changing direction are the top two downfalls for learner drivers.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said from January 2019 to December 2021, 363,908 serious or dangerous faults were recorded during the tests of hapless motorists, who failed to observe junctions correctly during their driving tests across Great Britain.

During the same period, 285,465 serious or dangerous faults were recorded against those who failed to check their mirrors properly before changing direction. 

The numbers recorded for the same faults in 2020 and 2021 are lower than in 2019, but experts believe this may be caused by cancelled tests in the pandemic.

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An FOI submitted by Avaris ebikes revealed that in 2021, 93,250 faults were recorded for failing to observe at junctions, compared with 79,698 in 2020, and 190,960 in 2019.

In 2021, 73,734 faults were recorded for failing to check mirrors while changing direction, compared with 63,512 in 2020, and 148,219 in 2019.

When it comes to junctions, the DVSA says candidates must make effective observations before moving into a new road and make sure it’s safe before proceeding. 

Drivers are expected to use the mirror, signal, manoeuvre routine effectively – checking mirrors carefully before signalling or changing direction or speed.  


– Not making effective observations at junctions

– Not checking mirrors properly when changing direction

– Not having proper control of the steering

– Incorrect positioning when turning right at junctions

– Not moving off safely

– Not responding appropriately to traffic lights

– Poor positioning on the road during normal driving

– Not responding correctly to traffic signs

– Not having control of the vehicle when moving off

– Not keeping control of the vehicle while reverse parking.

Mistakes candidates are failed for include not using their mirrors when exiting a roundabout, causing a vehicle to slow when changing lanes on a dual carriageway, trying to change lane on a roundabout when a vehicle is directly alongside them and exiting a roundabout and not checking mirrors – cutting across vehicle on the left.

According to the DVSA, drivers failing to look properly was a factor in 37% of all reported accidents in Great Britain in 2019. It’s also the reason many cyclists get caught up in incidents on the roads. 

Last year there were more than 12,000 road traffic incidents involving both drivers and cyclists plagued Greater London between 2019 and 2021.

Richard Heys, the founder of Avaris eBikes, said: “Not checking mirrors in the right way or taking the time to stop and look properly at a junction might seem like a minor to some drivers, but it can be the difference between getting home safely or being involved in an accident with another driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian. 

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“People make these mistakes even once they’ve passed their driving tests, often when they’re in a rush or because they think the chances they’ll hit someone or something is low, but the truth is accidents can happen to anyone at any time, so caution and awareness on the roads is imperative.

“We value the lengths the DVSA go to ensure drivers are taking the right actions before they’re allowed on the roads by themselves.”

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