Driving Test Minors and Faults

When you take the driving test, it is rare that you have a clear or clean test report sheet at the end where zero minors, serious or dangerous faults are recorded. From August 2013 to August 2014, from 667,740 tests that were conducted, 6,534 passed first time with zero faults.

You certainly want to avoid any serious or dangerous mistakes as just one of these will be an immediate test failure. It is however highly likely that you will receive some, even many driving test minors (now called faults). You are permitted to receive up to 15 minors, 16 or more results in a test failure.

Three or more minors within the same category (all three minors for lack of mirror checks for example) may also result in a test failure. Too many repeat minors under the same category will convert into a serious fault, though how many minors required depends on the level of seriousness.

Below is the driving test report sheet along with the possible driving test minors that can be received.

Driving test report sheet

Starting from the top left of the driving test report, we shall explain the possible driving test minors, serious and dangerous faults that may occur. The boxes under ‘D’ are for dangerous, under ‘S’ is for serious and the boxes to the left of those are for minors and the total amount of minors in that section.

Driving test minor and faults explained
Driving test minor and faults explained

By viewing a larger version of the driving test report, you can compare the driving test minors on this page with the possible minors on the test report sheet. The driving test report sheet will open in a new window.

1a) Eyesight

There are no minors that can occur due to the eyesight test. If you fail, the driving test will be terminated and you will lose your driving test fee. See driving test eye test for a complete guide.

1b) Highway Code / Safety

This category is for specialist vehicle tests and not the car driving test.

2) Controlled Stop / Emergency Stop

The emergency stop promptness box accumulate minors by reacting to the examiners stop signal too slowly. The control box is control of the car, for example not to allow the car to skid.

3) Reverse / Left, Reverse with trailer

Reverse with a trailer is a specialised test. The reverse left or Reverse round a corner is one of the more common manoeuvres. Typical test failures result from hitting abruptly the kerb or mounting the pavement (control) or lack of constant and appropriate all round observation (observation). Lightly brushing the kerb is likely to result in a driving test minor.

4) Reverse Right

This manoeuvre is very rare on the standard driving test as it is more dangerous that the reverse left and is typically undertaken on the driving instructor part 2 test (ADI).

5) Reverse Park

This can be either the reverse parallel park where again typical fails occur from loss of:

  • Control: due to hitting the kerb, mounting the pavement or getting far too close to the car you are reversing behind
  • Observation: lack of or inappropriate observation. Constant adjusting so as to complete the manoeuvre, or mounting the pavement. Lightly touching the kerb is likely to result in a driving test minor

If Bay park, frequent test failure is due to:

  • Control: not staying within your bay lines when finished
  • Observation: lack of constant all round observation
    R – box indicates Road – reverse parallel park. C – box indicates Car park – bay parking.

6) Turn in the road

The turn in the road needs to be completed slowly. Driving test minors, serious or dangerous faults often are to do with:

  • Control: not turning the steering wheel fast enough or abruptly hitting the kerb
  • Observation: not looking around enough for other road users during the manoeuvre

7) Vehicle checks

Commonly known as the Show Me Tell Me driving test questions, failure to answer 1 or all of these questions will result in just one driving test minor.

8) Taxi manoeuvre

This is the turn in the road manoeuvre for taxi driver tests.

9) Taxi wheelchair

For taxi drivers to safely install wheelchair and occupant.

10) Uncouple / recouple

Trailer tests and uncoupling and recoupling the trailer.

11) Precautions

When you sit your driving test, the precautions are to ensure that your seating is in the correct position so as you can reach all controls comfortably. On most occasions you will have driven to the test centre and therefore the seating will already be in the correct position. In this case, there will be no need to readjust.

12) Control

This section covers the use of accelerator, clutch, gears, foot brake, parking brake, and steering. An excess of any of these minors above can lead to a test failure. Driving test minors often occur here due to:

  • Stalling (incorrect gear or clutch control).
  • Using an inappropriate gear for the road/speed.
  • Coasting by keeping the clutch depressed for too long periods.
  • Looking at the gears whilst changing or coasting by placing the gear in neutral whilst the car is moving.
  • Harsh steering.
  • Applying the handbrake too soon.

13) Move off

Many driving test minors or test failure are the result of moving off incorrectly. Moving off can involve on a gradient, at an angle (parked closely to a car in front) or on a flat surface. Most common minors are:

  • Safely: Inappropriate use of mirrors and/or blinds pot
  • Control: Inappropriate use of clutch (stalling) or steering when moving off at an angle.

14) Use of mirrors- M/C rear observation

General all round observations and using the mirror signal manoeuvre procedure. Many driving test minors occur on this on due to:

  • Change direction: Taking a left turn without effective use of mirrors.
  • Change speed: Slowing down or stopping without checking the rear view mirror.

15) Signals

Many driving test minors and failure occur due to this issue:

  • Necessary: A signal was necessary but not implemented or a signal was implemented but not necessary, the fore causing confusion to other road users.
  • Correctly: A signal was implemented, signal failed but was not applied once again and failure to cancel the signal once manoeuvre is completed.
  • Timed: Signalling too late or too soon.

16) Clearance of obstructions

Again, very many test minors and failure due to passing parked cars and cyclists too close.

17) Response to signs and signals

Most common driving test minors and failure in this section are:

  • Traffic signs: Failure to recognise speed limit changes and failure to notice other road signs.
  • Road markings: Stopping too soon or too late for junction road markings.
  • Traffic lights: Failure to stop at a red light or failure to make progress when a light changes to green (most common with filter arrows).

18) Use of speed

Appropriate use of speed depends on the speed limit of that road and an appropriate speed for the road conditions. Weather also plays a part in this. Most driving test minors or failure in this section involve driving too fast for a particular road condition, for example parked cars. Generally speaking, if the road is safe and clear then drive at the speed limit. If there are obstructions such as parked cars then a slower speed may be required.

19) Following distance

Frequent minor and failure can be due to joining a dual carriageway and remaining too close to the car in front. Remaining too close to cars in front generally or stopping to close to traffic in queues. This becomes significantly more important in wet or icy conditions. See 2 second rule for further information.

20) Progress

  • Appropriate speed: Frequent test minors due to driving too slow for the speed limit and conditions.
  • Undue hesitation: Most driving test minors occur for hesitating at roundabouts and junctions. See undue hesitation.

21) Junctions

A vast number of driving test are failed at junctions and many minors occurred due to:

  • Approach speed: approaching junctions too fast
  • Observation: lack of observing other traffic at junctions
  • Turning right / left: inability to judge oncoming traffic speed correctly
  • Cutting corners: Making a right turn too soon and cutting the corner of the other side of the road.

22) Judgement

  • Overtaking: Overtaking is performed on dual carriageways. Most driving test minors or failure are in fact due to staying behind slow moving vehicle when progress should be made by overtaking.
  • Meeting: Meeting oncoming an car in areas with parked vehicles on the road and not pulling in a space to allow the oncoming vehicle pass.
  • Crossing: when making a right turn and not allowing a safe and sufficient distance between oncoming vehicles and making the turn.

23) positioning

  • Normal driving: Driving test minors occur due to not staying at the centre of your side of the road.
  • Lane discipline: Straddling lanes and not staying in the centre of your lane.

24) Pedestrian crossings

Most driving test minors or failure are due to not slowing down or stopping when a person is approaching or waiting at a pedestrian crossing.

25) Position / normal stops

This section involves parking up on the left where a safe and legal position should be taken. Most minors involve hitting or scraping the kerb. Mounting the pavement is an immediate test failure.

26) Awareness and planning

The ability to be aware of other road users including pedestrians and cyclists and to anticipate their moves. Common minors or failures for this involve a car indicating in front to turn off and not noticing till the last moment. Cyclists changing direction coming up to junctions and not anticipating oncoming vehicles along roads with many parked cars and the need to give way.

27) Ancillary control

Although not too common for minors, ancillary controls include such things as indicators, lights,
windscreen wipers, demisters and heaters. A driving test minor may occur due to looking down to see where the windscreen wipers are if it starts to rain. It is important to be familiar where all ancillary controls are and how to operate them.

28) Eco safe driving

Highly unlikely to fail a driving test on this section and test minors are not too common. A driving test minor may occur due to frequently leaving the car in a low gear for too long before changing.

17 thoughts on “Driving Test Minors and Faults”

  1. Joseph

    My girlfriend done everything perfect but failed her on not pulling the handbrake up enough she told him it was and it was on the dashboard saying handbrake on she was in control and said he felt it rolling back I’m gutted for her.thanks

  2. Aonimous

    Failed because I reversed three car lengths no two. No traffic no cars parked behind my car no incoming traffic or pedestrians crossing during my manoeuvre. Total tyranny. We ough to have a different examination method CAMARAS VEDIO RECORDING ough to be a must. We cannot trust one human being who is driven by ego, moods, instant or aggravated likes and dislikes. I’m going back home for my license now had enough of this nonsense.

  3. Anon

    lol you got shafted mate

  4. I had my driving test today and failed because I did not stop using hand break, when there is a stop sign at the end of the road. It seems that I have to emphasise by using hand break. I am 100%sure that I stopped enough and followed the stupid sat nav to turn left, I moved off when the road was clear, no ongoing traffic at all (empty road). Crap rules. Only 5minors and he marked me down 1 serious.

  5. Zhaz

    I went for test three times in Coleraine, NI and failed. Very disappointed as first time was nervous, 2nd time, exsminer kept tslking snd distructing making me confident like im foing well tgen i fail. I like examiner that do not talk. 3rd time didt look at the mirror but had s quick glance im sure but examiner didnt notice. So really disappointed!

  6. Louisa Coe

    Taking my test for the third time soon… First time I failed with almost no minors but was slightly wide on a roundabout so got a fail (not causing harm to other vehicles either). This page has really helped understand the marking but I do think that the sheer number of things that are able to fail you is ridiculous, sometimes you just can’t control what other road users do… if you drive fine and the examiner can see that but you make one or two mistakes, it should be common sense to pass that person, not fail them because a piece of paper that doesn’t account for every specific situations says so.

  7. Hi Louisa,
    Yes, there is indeed a certain element of luck involved in the test. Hopefully on your next test, you’ll not have any any other road users contributing to a failure.

  8. Failed 1st time round because I stalled 1 too many times and done 30 in a 20,there were no speed signs was so gutted but going in for my 2nd test next Friday.Fingers crossed I pass this time because my nerves can’t cope no more


    I failed my first attempt due to parallel parking too far from the kerb. I didn’t know that I can fix it by reverse and make it close to the kerb. Hihi!

  10. Hi Hani,
    It’s always best to try and fix any mistakes on the driving test. If you make a mistake, let the examiner know that you’re aware of it and the examiner will hopefully test your weak areas to ensure you are not consistently making the same mistakes. This can turn a serious fault into a minor fault. This is particularly relevant on manoeuvres where you have the most control. If a manoeuvre isn’t going right, either start it again or alter the position of the car so that it works out. I’ve even seen test candidates completely mess up a parallel parking manoeuvre by mounting the kerb. They done the manoeuvre again (obviously successfully) and passed the test. Essentially, never give up until the test is over.

  11. Maryann

    Hello, I failed my first test on the basis of not checking my blind spot before moving off after completing an emergency stop. From your explanation on moving off, I think it’s either a minor or serious fault. But I feel the examiner failing me on that basis was too harsh. However I accepted it in good faith and I hope I pass the second time.

    I would also like to find how minors in the same category results to a serious fault? Please I would really appreciate your response. Thank you

  12. Hi Maryann.
    Better luck on your next test. In terms of minor faults, let’s say if you stall the car for example, unless you stall in a dangerous location or it affects other road users, it’s generally just a minor fault. But if you continue to stall then the examiner will see it as a lack of control and may end up failing you. There’s no set number of minor faults in the same category that can result in a serious, but it’s generally considered as more than three.

  13. Failed my first test with no minors whatsoever but exceeded the speed limit marginally when overtaking parked cars. Have just failed my second test, again with no minors, but got a fail for driving past parked cars with oncoming traffic despite no oncoming cars needing to slow, stop or avoid, due to Judgement/meeting.
    This seems ridiculous with no other faults – I would appreciate your view. Thank you.

  14. Hi Jo,
    If you could elaborate on the reasons you failed. When you say you marginally exceeded the speed limit, how much. Don’t forget that exceeding the speed limit is illegal, so the examiner is obliged to fail you. For the judgement / meeting, did the examiner emphasise a specific reason? Were you going too fast for what you could see and safely deal with?

  15. Nad

    Hi. Could i have some advise please. I’ve got my first test coming up but keep stalling when pulling off at roundabouts, my instructor tells me anything under 10mph then to go in to gear 1 then carry on going if I can but people who have passed their test have said to keep it in 2nd unless I need to stop. I’m really worried that this is going to cause me to fail. Thank you

  16. Hi Nad,
    When you say you keep stalling when pulling away at roundabouts, how often does this occur? Each car is a little different, so I would assume that the driving instructor would know their own car and as such, would recommend taking their advice. I would say that upwards of 10 mph would be a little fast to leave in 1st gear and as others have said, 2nd gear would be appropriate, but as I said, if this is the instructor’s car, then they would know best. Personally, I would recommend taking a little more time at roundabouts by raising the clutch a little slower as this will help to prevent stalling. Stalling into a roundabout, particularly if you go over the line and if it affects other road users, may be problematic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *