Failing a driving test is incredibly disheartening but remember many, MANY, people have faced similar setbacks in their quest to secure a licence.

You will have received detailed feedback from the examiner regarding your specific faults, so you know which areas you need to concentrate on, but there are a few general tips to also bear in mind ready for your next attempt.

At Lanes School of Driving, we’ve pretty much heard every reason why candidates fail their driving test. And none are insurmountable.

Most common reasons:


Many candidates experience anxiety during their driving test, which can affect performance. It’s important to try and remain calm and composed, focusing on the task at hand. Nerves are cited as the number 1 problem for most candidates during their 40-minutes of hell. There are 100s of mental health apps and websites offering calming advice, relaxing music and sleep tips for the night before, these things are worth a try, but nothing beats the confidence of knowing you’re fully prepped.


Failing to be constantly aware of your surroundings is big issue. Ensure you’re regularly checking your mirrors, using signals appropriately, and anticipating potential hazards as you’ve been taught. It’s often hard to keep everything top of mind but try to switch off from all other thoughts. You can work on improving your concentration skills by completing a complex multi-tasking activity for at least 40 minutes without a break, without checking your phone and without chatting to anyone. Competitive ball sports are surprisingly good for developing hand, feet and eye coordination skills.

Control of the vehicle

Maintaining proper control is crucial. Failing to use all the controls correctly, such as steering, braking, accelerating smoothly, and clutch control, will always lead to a failed test. Nothing is truer, than “practice makes perfect.”


Making incorrect or unsafe judgments, such as misjudging the speed of other vehicles, inappropriate overtaking, or not yielding right of way result in an immediate test failure. Even as a passenger you can be mindful of the road and practice virtual decisions, just don’t become a backseat driver! Imagine you are driving whenever you’re in a vehicle; watch the road for hazards and plan out moves in your head.


Many candidates struggle with manoeuvres such as parallel bay parking, reversing, hill starts and 3-point turns. Practice these moves thoroughly to build confidence and accuracy, if you can find an empty carpark or quiet road just repeat them over and over again.

Poor eyesight

If you unwittingly failed the eye test prior to your driving test please book an optician’s appointment with immediate effect. All drivers need to prioritise safety first on the road. It is hugely irresponsible to get behind the wheel in the knowledge you have poor vision. This is not your driving instructor’s issue and is purely down to personal common-sense. Rant over!

Book a new driving test straight away. There are long backlogs in some areas. Visit the official website of the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and use the online booking service to select the first suitable date and test centre. Try and book a time that suits your lifestyle. If you’re not a morning person and know you’ll be rushed and stressed with an early appointment aim for a PM slot. Likewise consider the rush-hour traffic and whether it adds to your anxiety levels. Use this waiting period to adequately prepare and practice. Whatever you do don’t stop driving and forget all your valuable learning.

At Lanes we actively encourage non-passes to get straight back in the saddle and keep pursuing their goal. Bank previous test experience as a valuable learning opportunity so you hopefully don’t make the same mistake/s twice. Focus on the areas where you need improvement, practice consistently, and consider taking additional driving lessons if necessary.

With dedication and perseverance, you can overcome this setback and achieve success on your next driving test. Remember, every driver has faced challenges along the way, and failing a test does not define your ability to become a competent driver. Stay positive, believe in yourself, and keep working towards your goal. Good luck!