Some ''L'' Test Errors

According to the DSA driving skills book, The Official Guide to Learning to Drive, some of the most common causes for driving test failure are:

  • Eye test: unable to read a vehicle number plate at 20.5m (67ft) or 20m (66ft) for the new style plate.
  • Highway Code: knowledge of the Highway Code (and application of it during the drive) weak or wrong.
  • Precautions before starting engine: handbrake not applied, neutral not selected when starting or restarting the engine.
  • Make proper use of:-      

          accelerator: erratic, fierce or jerky use; poor co-ordination with clutch;

          clutch: not depressed far enough, causing noisy changing or stalling; poor co-ordination              with accelerator; 

          footbrake: not used when needed; used too late; harshly or erratically;

          gears: incorrect selection; coasting; not in neutral when needed; harsh control of the                  gear lever; reluctant to change; incorrect use of selector on automatics;            

          handbrake: not applied when required; not released when moving; used before                        stopping;     

          steering: (position of hands on wheel): one hand off; both hands off; hands on spokes,              rim or centre; hands crossed unnecessary; elbow on window ledge;

          steering: (over steer): erratic control of steering; wandering on wheel; late correction;              over or under steering; jerky or fiddling movements.

  • Moving off – angle, hill, level, straight: not done smoothly; not safe; not controlled; causing inconvenience or danger to others; not using mirrors; not looking round or not acting sensibly on what is seen; not signalling when needed; incorrect gear; lack of co-ordination of controls.
  • Emergency stop: slow reactions; like a normal stop; footbrake/clutch used in a manner likely to cause a skid; handbrake used before stopping; both hands off the wheel. 
  • Reverse left/right: rushed; stalling; poor co-ordination of accelerator and clutch; incorrect course; mounting kerb; steering wrong way; too wide or close (not realised); not looking around before/during reverse; not acting on what is seen.
  • Turn in road: rushed, stalling; poor co-ordination of accelerator and clutch; not using handbrake; incorrect steering; mounting or bouncing off kerb; uncontrolled footbrake or accelerator; more moves than needed; lack of observation before or during the manoeuvre; danger or inconvenience to ORU's; looking but not acting sensibly on what is seen.
  • Reverse park: rushed poor co-ordination of controls; incorrect course; too wide or too close to parked car; lack of effective observations before/during exercise; poor response to ORUs; not using handbrake; not finishing exercise correctly.
  • Effective use of mirrors: not looking in good time; not acting on what is seen; omitted or used too late; used as or after movement is commenced; not used effectively before signalling, changing direction, slowing or stopping; omitting final look when necessary.
  • Give signals correctly: signals omitted; given wrongly, or given late; too short to be of value; not cancelled after use; not repeated when needed; arm signal not given when needed.
  • Prompt action on signals: failing to comply with signals or signs – stop, keep left, no entry, traffic lights, police signals, school wardens, signals given by ORU's.
  • Use of speed: not exercising proper care in use of speed; too fast for conditions or speed limits; too close to vehicle in front in view of speed, weather and road conditions.
  • Making progress: not making normal progress; too low speed for conditions; crawling in low gear; no speed build-up between gears; speed not maintained; undue hesitation at junctions; over cautious to the point of being a nuisance.
  • Crossroads and junctions: incorrect regulation of speed on approach; late appreciation of, or reaction to, junctions or crossroads; not taking effective observation before emerging at a crossroads or junction; not being sure it is safe to emerge before doing so; incorrect assessment of speed and distance of other vehicles, including cyclists; incorrect positioning for right turns, at or on approach; position taken late, too far from centre, wrong position out of narrow road, or from a one way street, wandering, wrong position at end of right turn; incorrect positioning for left turn, at or on approach; too far from or near kerb; swinging out before turning; striking or mounting kerb; swinging out after turn; cutting right turns when entering or leaving.
  • Overtaking/meeting/crossing other traffic: overtaking unsafely; wrong time or place; causing danger or inconvenience to others; too close or cutting in afterwards; inadequate clearance for oncoming traffic, causing vehicles to swerve or brake; turning right across oncoming traffic unsafely.
  • Normal position: unnecessarily far out from the kerb.
  • Adequate clearance: passing too close to cyclists, pedestrians or stationary vehicles.
  • Pedestrian crossings: approaching too fast; not stopping when necessary, or preparing to stop if pedestrian waiting; overtaking on approach; not signalling (by arm if necessary) when needed; giving dangerous signals to pedestrians.
  • Normal stops: stopping unsafely or in inconvenient place; not parallel to kerb; too close to other vehicles or hazards.
  • Awareness and anticipation: lack of awareness or anticipation of others’ actions. (This is marked when the result of bad planning or lack of foresight involves the test candidate in a situation resulting in late, hurried or muddled decisions).
  • Use of ancillary controls: not using equipment that is necessary for the conditions. BM2D 12/13

Driving Test Errors

Driving Fault

The pupil is approaching a junction to turn right into a fairly wide side road. Visibility is good, after ensuring it is safe to turn and the side road is free of traffic movement, the learner turns into the side road, cutting the corner very slightly. No potential danger was caused to ORUs because the pupil checked the situation before turning. On a driving test this would be recorded as a driving fault. It would not result in a failure.

Serious Fault

The pupil is approaching the same right turn. This time the visibility into the side road is severely restricted by parked vehicles, making it impossible for the pupil to see whether or not there is traffic approaching the end of the new road. The pupil blatantly cuts the corner into this unknown situation. No actual danger occurred because no ORU appeared from the side road. This incident involved potential danger and the pupil would fail the test.

Dangerous Fault

Exactly the same circumstances as the examples above, the pupil cuts the corner. This time another vehicle appears approaching at the end of the side road. The other driver has to brake to avoid a collision. This incident involved actual danger therefore; the pupil would fail the test.

Driving, Serious or Dangerous?

It is not necessary for you to be able to grade errors exactly to the DSA Driving Test criteria. While some degree of standardisation is desirable, it is not absolutely essential to get it right all the time, you need not worry unduly over this matter. In any event the difference between serious and dangerous is purely academic because in both instances the result is the same – failure.

The difference between a driving fault and a serious fault is this situation however, could mean the difference between a pass and a fail. Using again the above examples for comparison, we can define the errors in a different way. The essential difference between the two incidents is that the pupil committing the driving fault in the first example was able to see that the new road was clear. In the second example the fault was a serious fault because the pupil was unable to see if the new road was clear but, was prepared to take a risk or was completely unaware of any risk.

The fault really is not a difference between two people cutting a corner with one of them getting away with it. One was able to see and might well have acted differently had the visibility been restricted; the other proved to be totally unaware of the danger caused by the parked vehicles. It is only possible to assess the actions of a pupil in the light of the prevailing situation. BM2D 03/16

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