When it comes to taking your practical driving test, the chances are you’ll rack up a few faults. And while a few minor faults are fine – after all, nobody drives perfectly – if you notch up a major fault you’ll fail.
So long as you don’t do anything daft you should be fine; however, if the examiner or another road user is forced to take evasive action, you’ll automatically fail your test.
There are three different types of fault:
Minor: A small mistake which is not potentially dangerous. Although you can accrue 15 minor faults and still pass, if you make the same mistake throughout your test you can also fail.
Serious: Something which could potentially be dangerous.
Dangerous: Something which puts you, the examiner, another person or property in danger. It goes without saying that one of these will cause you to fail your test.
The most common driving test minor faults:
Starting the engine: If you start the car in gear without pressing the clutch, you’re going to lurch forwards (or backwards, if you’re in reverse). Also, make sure you apply the handbrake when you stop.
Moving away: Not making proper checks before moving off is a common minor fault but can turn into a serious one if you do so when it’s unsafe.
Emergency stop: Using both the clutch and the footbrake is a common mistake. You need to stop quickly while retaining control of the car.
Turn in the road: You need to check all around you when performing this manoeuvre. If you touch the kerb or can’t complete the manoeuvre in five moves, that’s a minor fault.
Reverse parking: When you parallel park you shouldn’t be too far away from the kerb or at an angle. Make sure you look out of your rear-view mirror to check for pedestrians.
Reversing around a corner: After the manoeuvre the car should be close to the kerb and parallel to it. Touching the kerb, going over the centre of the side road or mounting the pavement are all minor faults.
Controls: Make sure you activate the wipers if it begins to rain and your lights if it’s dark or visibility is reduced.
Awareness: Your examiner will want to ensure that you’re aware of what’s going on around you at all times. This means knowing about other cars nearby, reacting to the signals of other road users, interpreting road markings correctly and using your indicators appropriately.