Don’t Make These Automatic Fails on Your Driving Test

automatic fails on driving test

Knowing there are automatic fails on a driving test can stress you out. The stress about making a critical error during the road test is so great that you may blank out and fail before you begin! I should know because I failed my first driving test before I put the vehicle in reverse.

What can you do to avoid these automatic fails? Learn from the mistakes made by those before you.

What Counts as an Automatic Fail during Road Testing?

A state’s graduated licensing programs help new drivers get experience behind-the-wheel. The road test typically happens around the time of the provisional license. So, you should have plenty of experience driving with a licensed adult – though that won’t always stop you from making critical mistakes when testing!

Some mistakes you can make during a DMV driving test count as “automatic failures” meaning you won’t pass nor will you get/upgrade your license that day. Bummer! So, be prepared…

1. Not Understanding the Vehicle

This is what happened to me: I blanked.

Your instructor will check if you understand the general use of the vehicle. This includes showing you can signal, turn on your lights, wear a seatbelt, and the other basics. You could blank, forget what does what, and seem like a complete amateur to the instructor.

…that doesn’t start the testing on a good foot and freezing up may have them telling you to come back another time when you’re ready and know the vehicle.

2. Failing to Observe when Engaging

Not checking your mirrors and following safety procedures when backing out/pulling out from the parking space could result in you failing the test. It shows you aren’t paying attention and in the real world this could cause an accident!

3. Rolling Through a Stop

Your test will involve frequent stops so you can bet it’s an automatic failure if you cruise through a stop sign! This is a major failure to respect and follow road rules and safety.

When you see red, come to a complete stop, wait a few seconds, check for traffic, then proceed.

4. Riding the Double Line

I saw the person in front of me automatically fail as they were pulling onto the testing course. They went over the double line and continued driving.

To the instructor, the new driver wasn’t following safety protocols so there was no reason to continue the testing.

5. Improper Safety Demonstrations

Consider it an automatic drivers test fail with events like safety demonstrations at/with:

In the real world, improper driving in these locations could cause serious harm to you and others. Else, you’re looking at a major fine by speeding or improper control in these areas!

6. Causing an Accident

An accident could involve one with another car, building, and pedestrian. Not only have you shown improper control of the vehicle, but you likely failed basic road safety rules.

You’ll see the instructor furiously checking boxes since the accident probably resulted from multiple failures!

7. Unsafe Driving Conditions

Let’s say things like:

  • Not wearing a seatbelt
  • Texting on your phone
  • Not using headlights

You know better than to drive without a seatbelt and doubly so when texting when behind-the-wheel.

Not using headlights can cause accidents involving you, other drivers, and pedestrians. If you can’t do these three things can you honestly say you’re safe to operate a vehicle? Of course not!

8. Speeding

Your instructor will test your acceleration, stoppage, and all types of vehicle maneuvers. Yet, this shouldn’t involve you going above the posted speed limit or their verbal commands.

Speeding isn’t tolerated in the real world and it’s not tolerated during testing, either.

9. Poor Judgement of Traffic and Conditions

Whether it’s on a test track or on actual roads, you always need to practice safe driving.

This includes your awareness to drivers and situations around you – like:

  • Changing lights
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Merging traffic
  • Road hazards
  • Failing to yield

…and more.

Showing no control of the situation or blindly driving into them doesn’t bode well for your driving test scores.

You can expect an automatic failure if you’re showing these qualities throughout the exam.

10. Aggressive Behavior

Got a bout of road rage? You need to cool it!

Bringing your rage to the driving test (and driving in general) isn’t a good way to begin your licensing journey.

Riding people, swerving without signaling, speeding, and bad-mouthing other drivers or instructor is getting you a big, fat fail on the driving test.

How Many Mistakes Can I Make on the Driving Test?

This varies by state but most follow three parts:

  • Pre-drive check
  • Driving
  • Critical errors

It’s given you’ll make a few mistakes in each of these areas. Everyone gets nervous the first time they do their tests. Yet, it’s the critical errors to watch out for as they can cause automatic drivers test fails.

So, make sure you’re practicing with a licensed adult when you can. Read helpful guides like this one about automatic failures and driving testing. And, consider signing up for a driver’s education course if you don’t have access to a vehicle for your behind-the-wheel practice.