How Many Serious Faults Are You Allowed? - Dont Disappoint Me (2023)

How many serious faults are you allowed on a driving test?

Passing a driving test takes practice, determination, and experience. Getting a pass mark is possible with a few minor driving errors, a single dangerous or serious fault is an instant failure.

But, what are serious driving faults in the UK, what are the most common driving test majors and minors, and what can you do to avoid making them during your driving test?

Let’s find out.

How Many Minors Can You Get on a Driving Test?

All candidates are allowed to rack up to 15 minor faults on their driving test in the UK.

Minor faults, also called driving faults, are mistakes that mainly cause inconvenience to other road users. Although a minor fault is considered bad driving, it doesn’t pose an immediate danger to the driver or others.

What Are Serious Driving Faults?

There are two types of major driving test faults:

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  • Dangerous faults– Pose an immediate danger to the driver, examiner, other drivers, the public, and property.
  • Serious faults – Actions that are considered potentially dangerous.

Dangerous and serious faults are also known as driving test majors.

The main difference between minors and majors on a driving test is that the latter refers to faults that are more likely to cause an accident.

For example, incorrectly positioning the car when approaching a roundabout, with no cars nearby, is considered a serious fault. If there are other drivers around, the mistake will be considered dangerous.

Examples of other serious faults on a driving test include running a red light, poor steer control, quickly emerging into junctions without proper observation, and changing lanes without checking the mirrors first.

Worth noting: Minor faults can turn into serious faults if repeated more than a couple of times.

What Are Minors on a Driving Test?

Unlike major faults, minor faults on a driving test are not likely to cause an accident.

Here’s a list of the most common minor faults on a driving test:

(Video) Learner Had No Idea He'd FAILED With So Many Driving Faults

  1. Lack of control during moving off – You are expected not only to move off safely on a hill or from behind a car but to be in control of the vehicle at all times during the manoeuvre. If you make a mistake and react quickly to correct it, the examiner will likely mark it as a minor on your driving test.
  1. Stalling the vehicle – One of the most common minors in a driving test is stalling the car. Stalling on the side of the road won’t automatically result in an immediate fail, but if you stall in traffic, you’ll get a serious fault on your driving test.
  1. Touching the kerb – The examiner won’t fail you if you slightly touch or rub against the kerb. You’ll also get a minor if you park too far from the kerb. However, you will automatically fail the test if you jump or crash hard into it, especially if there are pedestrians there.
  1. Hesitating at a roundabout or a junction – You are allowed to pass on up to two opportunities to pull out of a roundabout or a junction. If you miss all three opportunities to pull out or do it when it’s not safe, you’ll get a major.
  1. Incorrect use of the clutch/handbrake – The handbrake should be applied when the car is not moving. You might be able to get away with it if you’re on a flat road, but the examiner is likely to fail you if the car starts rolling back and you fail to react in time.
  1. Crossed hands – The recommended hand position is the ‘9 and 3’. Drivers should have their left hand on the left side of the steering wheel in a location where the ‘9’ would be if the wheel was a clock. The other hand should be placed on the right side, where the ‘3’ would be if the wheel was a clock.
  1. Inappropriate use of speed – Driving too slowly can cause traffic delays and will be marked as a minor. Exceeding the speed limit is more likely to be considered a major fault. Also, bear in mind the speeding ticket may affect insurance.

What Is On The Driving Test Report?

The driving test report is a document where examiners mark minors and majors in driving tests and how you’ve handled the test overall. Every candidate has the right to see their driving test sheet after the test, regardless of whether they passed or failed.

The driving test report has a total of 27 categories, but only 21 can affect the result of the driving test. These include:

  1. Eyesight
  2. Controlled stop
  3. 4,5 and 8 reverse exercises
  4. Vehicle checks
  5. Precautions
  6. Control
  7. Move off
  8. Use of mirrors and rear observations
  9. Signals
  10. Clearance/obstructions
  11. Response to signs/signals
  12. Use of speed
  13. Following distance
  14. Progress
  15. Junctions
  16. Judgement
  17. Positioning
  18. Pedestrian crossing
  19. Positional/normal stops
  20. Awareness/planning
  21. Ancillary controls

Other sections that are not relevant but don’t affect the outcome of the driving test are:

  1. 1b. H/Code / Safety
  2. Reverse / Left Reverse with Trailer
  3. Turn in road
  4. Taxi wheelchair
  5. Uncouple/recouple
  6. Eco-Safe Driving and Examiner Took Action (ETA).

What Happens If You Pass The Driving Test?

If you pass the driving test, the examiner will:

  • Inform you about the faults you made during the test.
  • Give you a pass certificate.

If you agree to get your full licence automatically, you’ll have to hand over your provisional licence to the examiner immediately. You can also apply for it by post.

You can start driving right after you pass the test. You should receive your full licence in about three weeks after applying for it.

What Happens If You Fail a Driving Test?

If you failed your driving test, the examiner will tell you why, what faults you made, and where. You’ll have to wait for 10 working days to apply to retake the test.

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If you believe that you should have passed your driving test, you can appeal the examiner’s decision within 6 months after the driving test took place. You should first check to see whether you have grounds for an appeal and if the examiner followed the law and then make a complaint with the Driver and Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA).

Even if the DVSA agrees that you shouldn’t have failed the test, it won’t change the test result, but the agency will send you a refund or offer you to retake the test for free.

How To Avoid Making Faults At a Driving Test?


In the UK, more than half of learner drivers (53.4%) fail the driving test on the first attempt. The pass rate for the practical test is 45.8% and 47.3% for the theory test.

Most drivers pass the test after their second attempt.

Here’s what you can do to avoid majors and minors in your driving test:

  1. Practice – The more you practice, the less likely you will be to make mistakes during your driving test.
  1. Speak to your instructor – Qualified and experienced instructors can provide guidance and give you some tips on how to avoid making mistakes.
  1. Get in the right mindset – One of the best pieces of advice that many instructors give to their student drivers is: You control the car. The car doesn’t control you.
  1. Theory – The examiner will want to see that you understand what the signs on the road say and react correctly.
  1. Learn from others – The majority of drivers fail their tests because they make the same mistakes that most learner drivers do. You can get ahead of this by finding out what these mistakes are (ask your instructor or friends who have failed their driving test) and making practice to avoid them.

Bottom Line

Taking a driving test can be a nerve-racking moment for many (potential) drivers – in fact, numbers show that less than half of Brits pass their driving test on the first try. Still, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your driving ahead of your test. You can pass with up to 15 driving test minor faults but will immediately fail if you make even one serious or dangerous fault.

(Video) Learner Driver FAILS Driving Test With 7 SERIOUS Faults [MOCK TEST]

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Can you drive straight after passing your test in the UK?

You can start driving as soon as you pass your driving test, even if you don’t receive your full licence right away.

Can you fail a driving test on a manoeuvre?

You can fail your driving test on a manoeuvre if you show a lack of awareness or poor observation. The examiner is also unlikely to let you pass the test if you mount the kerb or end up in the wrong position.

Is rolling back a serious fault?

Rolling back usually means you’re not in control of the vehicle. If the vehicle rolls back only if you react quickly to correct it, you might only get a minor. You’ll automatically fail if you make this mistake several times.

How many times can you fail your driving test in the UK?

The DVLA does not set limits as to how many times you can fail the practical driving test.

Is speeding a serious fault?

Speeding and driving too slowly are generally considered minor faults unless they’re persistent throughout the test. Any driving test minors can be classed as serious faults if they’re repeated a couple of times.

Can you fail your driving test without hesitation?

You can fail your driving test for hesitation if you pass on the opportunity to exit a junction or a roundabout more than twice.

(Video) Learner Driver Fails Driving Test 4 Times - Let's Find Out Why

What is the average amount of driving tests to pass?

In the UK, most drivers pass their driving test after the second or third attempt.

How many serious faults are you allowed?

Drivers can make up to 15 minor faults and still pass their driving test. However, driving test serious faults are not allowed– a single serious or dangerous fault means instant failure.

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.


How many serious faults can you get? ›

How many driving faults can I get without failing? When it comes to minor faults, you can make up to 15 without failing. However, with major faults (dangerous or serious) it just takes one to fail you.

How many faults can you get before you fail? ›

You can make up to 15 minor faults and still pass your test—as long as you don't commit any major faults. A particular number of minor faults doesn't exactly convert into a major fault, but if you rack up more than 15 of them you will fail your test.

How many major mistakes can you have on your driving test? ›

You are allowed up to 15 driving faults on a test, anything more than this will result in a fail. You can also fail your test for having too many faults in one particular element of the marking scheme, for example 'use of mirrors'.

How many serious and minor faults can you have? ›

You are allowed up to 15 driving faults, known as minors, and zero serious or dangerous faults, known as majors. For example, if you end your test with 5 minor faults, you'll pass. But, if you conclude with one major fault, you'll fail your driving test.

How can I impress my driving examiner? ›

Your examiner isn't going to let you off just because you're mimicking the speed of other drivers, for example.
To summarise:
  1. Be confident but err on the side of caution.
  2. Don't let other road users influence you.
  3. Stick to what you know.
  4. Bring your instructor with you.

Is 1 serious fault a fail? ›

Both dangerous and serious faults come under what people would normally refer to as a 'major' and just one of either of these faults will result in an instant fail - although you will be expected to continue the test and will only find out the examiner's decision at the end.

How can I avoid serious faults in my driving test? ›

Positioning (normal driving).

Avoid moving in and out between parked cars unnecessarily. Position yourself in the correct lane early and avoid unnecessary lane changes. Keep to the middle of any lane markings if possible.

What are the instant fails in a driving test? ›

The most common driving test fails
  • Observation at junctions.
  • Use of mirrors when changing direction.
  • Lack of control when steering.
  • Turning right at a junction.
  • Moving off unsafely.
  • Incorrect response to traffic lights.
  • Lack of control when moving off.
  • Incorrect positioning during normal driving.
Apr 11, 2022

Is it hard to pass driving test? ›

You will face many potentially dangerous obstacles during the test, so with a combination of anxiety, nerves and stress (all while you're sitting next to the examiner) it's certainly not easy for anyone. People fail for a multitude of reasons, and passing requires experience and practice, hard work and determination.

What is the most common fail in a driving test? ›

  • Rolling Stops. One of the most common mistakes to avoid during your DMV road test is making incomplete stops. ...
  • Improper Lane Changing. ...
  • Lack of Steering Control. ...
  • Distracted Driving. ...
  • Confusion at Four-Way Stops. ...
  • Improper Freeway Merging. ...
  • Driving Too Slowly. ...
  • Driving Too Fast for Conditions.

Is driving too slow a major fault? ›

Believe it or not, slow driving is likely to be marked as a fail-worthy driving fault, in the same category as stalling the engine or mounting the pavement. This is only where the slow driving is persistent and a danger to other road-users.

What do driving examiners look for? ›

The examiner will be looking for evidence of good driving habits, including good observations, control of the vehicle, following the road and traffic signs, appropriate positioning on the road, appropriate speed, independent driving, and effective use of signals.

What are all the serious faults? ›

Serious faults are potentially dangerous mistakes to yourself or other road users.
Serious fault examples
  • Not checking mirrors before turning.
  • Poor steering control.
  • Not making observations at junctions.
  • Moving off poorly.
  • Positioning at junctions.
  • Drivers disobeying traffic lights.
Feb 2, 2022

Do 3 minors make a major? ›

You can make up to 15 minor faults in your driving test and still pass; 16 or higher counts as a fail. That being said, if you receive 3 or more minors in the same assessment category – for example, incorrectly signalling on several occasions – this could warrant a major fault, which is an instant fail.

Can you talk to the examiner on a driving test? ›

Talk with your examiner if it'll help with your nerves, but do not let it distract you. The examiner will gently let you know if you need to pipe down and focus more on the test. If you want to be quiet and just concentrate on your driving, that's fine too. The examiner will understand and will not think you're rude.

Does examiner know if you've failed before? ›

No. The examiner knows nothing about you except for your DVLA number and your name, the only thing he or she cares about or wants to know is how well you drive.

What time is best for driving test? ›

Between 9am and 11am is generally a decent time to take a driving test because it's outside of rush hour and avoids the traffic increase in the run-up to lunchtime.

What is the hardest part of a driving test? ›

Turning right at a priority / give way intersection (62% of professional instructor respondents) Merging (38%)
In fact, two of the top three most difficult tasks to master involved parking:
  • Parallel parking (72% of drivers)
  • Driving near pedestrians, cyclists and/or motorcyclists (42%)
  • Reverse parking (41%)

Where is the easiest driving test? ›

The easiest tests to pass
  • Egypt. Until recently, Egyptian drivers only had to drive forwards and backwards 6 metres to pass their test, however, this has since been toughened up with the addition of a 10-question theory test.
  • The Philippines. ...
  • Uganda. ...
  • Mexico. ...
  • Columbia.

How many people pass first time driving test? ›

The average pass rate for a practical driving test in Great Britain is 51.6%.

Is hitting a curb a fail? ›

Hitting the kerb (or 'curb' as it's spelt in other areas) during a driving test is a concern for most learner drivers as it can result in a potential driving test failure.

Is rolling back a serious fault? ›

If you roll back, then you're not in control of the car. Not being in control is enough to get you a serious fault on your driving test. In reality, a very small roll back is likely to go unmarked on the test, though if it happens repeatedly or at the wrong time, it may get picked up.

Is speed a serious fault? ›

Serious fault:

Going too fast for the prevailing road and / or traffic conditions, exceeding speed limits.

Can you refuse a driving examiner? ›

Technically speaking, yes, you can refuse a driving test examiner. Here's the catch, though—your test would be cancelled and you would have to forfeit the test fee and slot. You can't simply show up to your test centre, refuse your examiner and ask for another one then and there.

How do I make sure I passed my driving test? ›

How to pass your driving test quickly
  1. Be on time. ...
  2. Have a lesson beforehand. ...
  3. Check you have everything you need. ...
  4. Use your instructor's car. ...
  5. Take your instructor along for reassurance. ...
  6. Ask your examiner to repeat, if you need. ...
  7. Don't assume you've failed. ...
  8. Choose where you want to take your test.
Oct 26, 2022

Do driving examiners judge you? ›

Driving examiners are of course professionals and shouldn't judge people outside of their driving ability. We do however all form an initial opinion that may somewhat determine an outcome. So, arriving for your driving test in smart but casual clothing will tell the examiner that you are bothered.

Do employers care about major minor? ›

Most hiring managers don't look for specific minors (or even majors, in many cases) when evaluating job applicants. That said, employers do care a lot about breadth and depth of learning, according to a 2021 survey from the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

How long is a driving test? ›

You can expect to be at the test centre for about one hour. Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early, as you'll have a bit of paperwork to do before the test starts. The actual test takes around 50 minutes, and is broken down into five parts.

Is a minor degree worth it? ›

In general, a minor doesn't make a degree more attractive to employers, but some majors benefit from a carefully selected minor. For example, a degree in law or social work with a minor in Spanish shows that you're particularly suited to work in Hispanic communities.

What is classed as a serious fault? ›

Minor faults are those mistakes that cause an inconvenience for other drivers but they are not dangerous. They are called driving faults. On the other hand, major faults are those errors that could or would cause an accident if another driver were there. They can be classed as dangerous faults or serious faults.

How many grade 2 faults are you allowed? ›

Up to a maximum of 4 grade 2 faults may be recorded for any single aspect. Faults are graded as follows: Grade 1 (Green Area) Minor Fault, Grade 2 (Blue Area) More Serious Fault, Grade 3 (Pink Area) Dangerous/Potentially Dangerous faults or total disregard of traffic controls.

What are the most common serious driving faults? ›

Serious fault examples
  • Not checking mirrors before turning.
  • Poor steering control.
  • Not making observations at junctions.
  • Moving off poorly.
  • Positioning at junctions.
  • Drivers disobeying traffic lights.
Feb 2, 2022

How many grade 2 faults can you get in the driving test? ›

4 of the same grade 2 faults for a single aspect.

How do you prove it's not your fault? ›

How Do You Prove a Car Accident Was Not Your Fault?
  1. Take pictures. All cellphones now have cameras. ...
  2. Exchange contact information. While obtaining contact information from the other driver will not help prove his negligence, you will need it to file a claim.
  3. Contact the police. ...
  4. Speak to witnesses. ...
  5. Retain an attorney.

What can you fail a driving test for? ›

The most common driving test fails
  • Observation at junctions.
  • Use of mirrors when changing direction.
  • Lack of control when steering.
  • Turning right at a junction.
  • Moving off unsafely.
  • Incorrect response to traffic lights.
  • Lack of control when moving off.
  • Incorrect positioning during normal driving.
Apr 11, 2022

Can you fail your driving test for going too slow? ›

You might be driving slowly to ensure that you pass your test, but this is misguided, since where you drive hesitantly your examiner will see a lack of skill. Believe it or not, slow driving is likely to be marked as a fail-worthy driving fault, in the same category as stalling the engine or mounting the pavement.

How many Grade 1 are you allowed in driving test? ›

For most errors you could make there will be three grades; 1. minor, 2. serious and 3. dangerous / disqualifying.


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