Are you guilty of these? Common bad habits leading to driving test failure

The journey to becoming a proficient driver in the UK is fraught with challenges and learning curves. One crucial aspect often overlooked is the role of habitual actions during driving tests. It’s startling to note that a significant percentage of learner drivers in the UK fail their driving tests due to preventable bad habits leading to driving test failure. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the most common bad habits that result in failure and how to overcome them.

UK Driving Test

Identifying Bad Habits

1. Lack of Observation

Observation is the cornerstone of safe driving. Surprisingly, many learners in the UK fail their driving tests because they don’t adequately check their surroundings or even worse; their eyesight is poor! Poor eyesight means they may fail the initial number plate check from 20 feet away! 

Lack of observation includes neglecting to look at blind spots or ignoring pedestrian crossings. For instance, Sarah, a learner driver in London, failed her test when she overlooked a stop sign hidden by foliage, a mistake that could have been avoided with better observation.

2. Speeding and Poor Speed Management

Speed management is a frequent stumbling block in the UK. The temptation to speed, especially on open roads, is a common pitfall. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) highlights that inappropriate speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police in the UK. Learning to adhere to speed limits is not just about passing the test but also about ensuring road safety.

3. Inadequate Use of Mirrors

The misuse of mirrors is another critical error. Regular checks of rearview and side mirrors are essential for situational awareness. A study by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) found that ‘observation’ was one of the top ten reasons for driving test failures in the UK due to bad habits.

4. Incorrect Signaling

Failure to signal correctly is a surprisingly common error in the UK. Signaling too late or not at all can confuse other road users and is a major red flag for examiners. Clear, timely signaling is crucial for safe driving.

Consequences of Bad Habits

1. Increased Risk of Accidents

Bad habits not only lead to test failure but also increase the likelihood of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 90% of vehicle crashes are attributed to human error, underlining the importance of correct driving habits.

2. Failure in Driving Tests

The immediate consequence of these bad habits is often failure in driving tests in the UK. Examiners are trained to spot these habits, as they indicate a lack of readiness for safe, independent driving.

Overcoming Bad Habits

1. Practice and Preparation

The key to overcoming bad habits lies in practice and preparation. Regular driving sessions, under varied conditions, help reinforce good habits. Professional instruction in the UK can also provide targeted advice and corrections.

2. Developing Good Habits

Cultivating positive driving habits is a proactive approach. This includes a conscious effort to observe more, manage speed effectively, use mirrors correctly, and signal appropriately. Mindfulness techniques can help maintain focus and awareness.

3. Mock Tests and Feedback

Mock tests are an excellent way to prepare for the real thing in the UK. They provide a safe environment to identify and correct bad habits. Feedback from instructors is invaluable for making necessary adjustments.

Tips from Experts

Experts in the UK recommend a holistic approach to driving. This means not just focusing on the technical aspects, but also on developing a responsible attitude towards driving. Regular self-assessment and openness to learning from mistakes are crucial for improvement.


Overcoming bad habits in driving is a vital step towards not just passing the driving test in the UK but also ensuring lifelong safe driving practices. By identifying and consciously working on these common errors, learner drivers can significantly improve their chances of success and contribute to safer roads.

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