What Are the Most Common Mistakes on the Driving Test?

While a road test may seem intimidating, you don’t have to worry. With proper guidance and practice, you can avoid the most common and silly mistakes that people end up making on their driving tests.

Components of a Driving Test

Getting your driver’s license is not a simple process. Apart from all the paperwork, there are several rounds of tests and a lot of practice in store for you if you want to get your hands on a driver’s license. You might need to make a few visits to your DMV to get things in motion. So here’s a quick overview of the steps you need to go through.


First, you need to go to your local DMV office and fill out a couple of forms. Get a manual that lays down all the traffic regulations in your state. After going through the manual, fill out the forms with your personal information and submit all the supporting documents.

Written Test

Most people end up cramming a few nights before they have to give their written test. While this might work for some, you might forget a lot of the things that you’ve mugged up.

Try to understand the rules and regulations of your state. Familiarize yourself with the traffic signs and instructions. Most importantly, spend some time with the material instead of cramming all the information at the last minute. This will help you ace the written test.

This is a study guide for those of you taking your test in Michigan. Check out your state’s DMV website to find your study guide.

Vision Test

Once you have cleared the written test you need to test your vision. If you are someone who uses glasses or contacts you will be allowed to wear those aids during your test. Different states have different requirements when it comes to vision tests. So make sure you comply with state regulations.

Vision tests usually involve reading aloud letters or numbers of decreasing size, watching a screen that tests your vision and being able to identify the timing and side of a flashing light.

Road Test

Once you have cleared both of these hurdles you will have to undergo a road test. A DMV officer will accompany you in your vehicle during the test.

The officer will ensure that you know your rules and regulations. The officer will also check if you drive safely and responsibly on the road.

This is the level where most people face problems. They are either too nervous or too cautious and end up making mistakes. Ensure that you follow the rules and drive safely to clear this step.

Once you have cleared the road test you can pay the necessary fees, get your picture taken, and voila! You will have a driver’s license in your hands very soon.

Most Common Mistakes on the Driving Test

Many people end up making silly mistakes during their road tests and end up having to retake it multiple times before finally getting their driver’s license. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that people make when on their road test.

At Intersections and Lanes

Intersections can be one of the most confusing spots for new drivers. You might have trouble figuring out who goes first or when to turn. Lane traffic can also be a confusing concept to grasp in the beginning. Let’s look at some of the common mistakes you can end up making at intersections and while changing lanes.

Confusion at Four-Way Stops

The golden rule you need to follow at intersections and stop signs—wait your turn!  If you get to the intersection at the same time as someone else, the car to the right goes first.

If you want to make a turn make sure you signal first and then turn.

Improper Changing of Lanes

This is a very common mistake and one that is very easy to avoid. Always signal your intentions before changing lanes and check your mirrors.

While on your test, if the DMV officer asks you to change lanes:

  • See if the road is clear
  • Turn on your indicator
  • Check your rear and side mirrors
  • Check your blind spot(s)

Once you’ve done all this you’ll know if the road’s clear and if it’s safe to change lanes. Never change lanes at an intersection!

Improper Freeway Merging

If your DMV officer takes you onto the freeway during your road test do not panic. Although this is not common in all states, some states do check if drivers know how to blend into traffic on the freeway.

Beginners end up freezing on the ramp and coming to a complete stop. But with enough practice well before your test date, you will be able to roll onto the freeway and merge into traffic like a boss.

Driving Speed

Keeping to speed limits is important. You might fail your test if you’re going too fast or too slow. Let’s look at some of the common mistakes related to driving speed.

Driving Too Slowly

This is a mistake a lot of people end up making on their tests. Either because they are too nervous or because they are being overly cautious a lot of people end up driving too slowly.

Slow drivers can create an unsafe situation for other drivers. So be confident and step on the gas! Just be mindful of the speed limit of the zone in which you are driving.

Driving Too Fast for Conditions

As great as it sounds, sticking to the speed limit might not always be the best option. You need to access the road conditions and the weather and drive at a speed appropriate to the situation.

Following Too Closely

You always need to leave enough space between your car and the car in front. This is so that you have enough time to react in case the car in front brakes or swerves suddenly.

Leave at least 2 to 3 cars’ space between your car and the car in front to avoid any nasty accidents.

At Signs and While Parking

Many new drivers will have a hard time keeping up with all the traffic signals that they have to memorize. Parking your car properly especially in tricky positions can also pose a challenge.

Rolling Stops

Most new drivers have a problem with stopping properly at stop signs and traffic signals. They let the car roll instead of coming to a complete stop.

You should not just slow down but come to a complete stop behind the demarcation line. You also need to come to a complete stop before turning, if you are about to make a right turn at an intersection.

Parallel Parking

Some states check your parallel parking abilities during your road test. This can be a tricky maneuver, especially for a new driver.

Just make sure you don’t hit other cars or run over the curb. Even if your parallel parking isn’t perfect, you’ll get points for not scratching up other cars and hitting the curb. 

Not Yielding to Pedestrians

Pedestrians always have right of way. Look out for crosswalks when you are giving your test.

Always anticipate pedestrians. Keep a lookout for them when you are taking turns.

External Factors

There are some things that you need to take care of before beginning the test. Let’s find out what they are.

Driving a Faulty Car

Bringing a vehicle that doesn’t comply with all the safety standards is a big no-no. Clean your car and make sure you take your test on a car that is in perfect condition. Check for the following:

  • Working seat belts
  • Functioning lights—headlights, tail lights and turn signals
  • Functioning windshield wipers
  • Clear, unbroken windshield

Distracted Driving

Turn off your cell phone and your stereo before the test. These can distract you during the test and take your attention off the road.

Other Common Mistakes

Not Checking Mirrors

Although you should keep your eyes on the road do not forget to check your rear and side-view mirrors during the test. Some people completely forget to check their mirrors during the test.

Checking the mirrors will help you get a better idea of the vehicles behind you and on your sides. This is especially important to ensure safety when changing lanes.

Lack of Steering Control

Always keep both hands on the steering wheel and drive carefully. When making turns use both hands; never steer the car with one hand.

You might be a great driver who has amazing control over your car but during the test keep both hands on the wheel at all times.

Practice Makes Perfect!

By keeping these points in mind you will have a better chance of clearing your road test. But always keep in mind that nothing can beat practice. Practice as much as you can to build up your confidence.

Familiarize yourself with the car that you will be using for the test. Practice tricky maneuvers and signs so that you don’t freeze on the day of the test. Try driving around in different localities and speed zones so that you don’t have problems switching between speed zones.

Drive safely and don’t let your nerves get the better of you!

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