Driving Examiner Abandoned Test

A driving test examiner may stop, terminate or even abandon (mid-test) a test for various reasons. It’s fairly rare, so if you’re a test candidate with a impending practical driving test, here are some typical reasons why a driving examiner might abandon a test.

Test Terminated Before the Drive

Some driving tests are terminated even before you get behind the wheel and start the engine. Reasons for this can include:

Licensing issues

Ensure that you take along the correct documents to your test. Most important is your licence. If it’s the older type, take along both the plastic card and the paper counterpart.

If you have lost either part of your licence, don’t risk it, order a new one (which doesn’t have a paper counterpart) in good time, before your test. Ensure also that your licence is not defaced in any way.

Eyesight Test

Another reason for driving test termination is the failure to read a number plate from the required distance (see driving test eyesight test for specifics). If you have a tape measure at home, you can run the test yourself. If you’re in any doubt about the quality of your vision, see an optician as soon as possible. If your eyesight is not up to standard, it may not only fail your test, but may result in legal issues whilst learning to drive.

Vehicle Issues

Legality and safety issues regarding the test car can see a test terminated. If you’re using a driving school’s car, then it’s usually safe to assume that it is legal and in appropriate condition for test procedures. Unfortunate situations can occur however, such as a blown light bulb on the way to a test for example. If an instructor cannot remedy the fault in good time, it’ll require the test be terminated.

If you’re using your own car, ensure the tyres are legal and free from any damage (see tyre tread depth), all lights are working, no engine warning lights (that represent a fault) are illuminated and that the vehicle has tax, an MOT (if applicable) and that you’re insured to use it. Also ensure that the vehicle is free from any damage or wear-and-tear that might represent a safety issue – both inside and out. For example, insecure body panels, cracked windscreen, faulty seat belt or headrest. See car for driving test for further details.

Test Abandoned Whilst On Drive

The examiner abandoning the test during the drive doesn’t happen too often, but if it does, it will be due to the following reasons:

Vehicle Issues

Again, vehicle issues may result in the examiner requiring that you pull over, turn the car off and terminate the test right where you are (providing you have parked legally). This is an unfortunate occurrence as even the best maintained car can become defective at any time. Any electrical or mechanical fault that causes the examiner concern for safety can result in termination of the test.

Driving examiners abandoning test
A driving examiner grabbing the steering wheel is a sign that the test isn’t going too well.

Test Candidate Issues

This falls into two categories, the first being the test candidates standard of driving. If the examiner feels that the standard of driving is putting themselves, the test candidate and other road users at risk, the examiner will ask the test candidate to pull over and stop the vehicle in a legal and safest place possible. This will not be due to typical faults made by learner drivers, but dangerous faults.

The second category is test candidate attitude. If a test candidate exerts an attitude that is offensive of threatening to the examiner, it’s possible that the examiner will abandon the test. The DVSA have been issued new powers to deal with abusive test candidates. This may involve a candidate being banned from test centres, being forced to have an extra member of staff in the car during a test and the potential of criminal prosecution.

What Happens When an Examiner Abandons a Test?

If a test is stopped away from the test centre, if there’s an accompanying driver / ADI and they offer to return the examiner back to the centre, the examiner will accept. If there is no accompanying driver, the examiner is unable to drive the vehicle back to the test centre due to insurance reasons. In this situation, it may be necessary for the examiner to walk. The examiner will suggest to the candidate that they may prefer to walk to the test centre with them, though this is for the candidate to decide.

22 thoughts on “Driving Examiner Abandoned Test”

  1. julia leahy

    If an examiner after less than 10 minutes, you fail a manouver i.e parallel parking, and nudge the curb, they direct you back to the test centre and end the exam. is this reasonable

  2. Hello Julia,
    Once you have failed the driving test (for any reason) the examiner directs you back to the test centre. This was introduced during the pandemic to minimise the amount of time you spend in close proximity with each other. I assume it will go back to normal at some stage.


    So service light came on while my son was on his test. Jenny karr the examiner (boy would I live to throttle her) (pensnett west mids) asked my son what it is. He’s not a diagnostic tool to under stand code 82 which just happens to be a service reminder gets him to pull over and terminates the test without any explanation or advice leaves my son their… Now being rude and unprofessional is one thing but not explaining what he has done or to do next left him scratching his head. He walked back to the centre where his grandad who cant walk short distances due to walking issues had to walk half a mile back to the car. How bloody unprofessional. A formal complaint will be made. Absolutely disgusting!

  4. Hi Wahid,
    Yes, I’ve experienced this before, with young girls taking their test. Examiner simply gets out the car and walks back to the test centre leaving the young lady in tears with no idea of what to do. I understand that there may be reasons to abandon the test, but under no circumstances should they simply leave the test candidate on their own, in charge of a vehicle. Highly unprofessional indeed and even more so for a service reminder light.

  5. Teresa

    Examiner refused test as said car was dirty. It had been washed, windows & mirrors cleaned inside & out, doors, dash cleaned and covid wipes used, mats washed. The carpets were not spotless but mats were on top. We had a hat on the back seat and a box of coke in rear footwell and was putting it in the boot. She said don’t bother as the car is dirty so I’m cancelling test. Just wondered if I should complain or am I in the wrong? We were using our own car but it’s not brand new (10yr old but up together. I appreciate everyone has different standards but this seems very harsh. Thanks in advance

  6. Hi Teresa,
    It really comes down the the examiner’s word against yours and the DVSA usually side with the examiner. It does seem rather harsh, particularly if you cleaned it as you did. You can email the DVSA (customerservices@dvsa.gov.uk) and complain about the examiner. Explain how you cleaned the car and take photos of the vehicle.

  7. Dylan

    My test was cancelled 35 minuted in due to my examiner saying I was dozing off a few times, which I categorically deny as my test was middle of the day I had been up and ready unlike my previous 2 tests which were at 7.47 in the morning! He pulls me over and asks if I’m okay, I said I’m fine just a bit nervous! He says he thinks I need to go the doctor! I explain I had naturally droopy eyes and I was definitely not falling asleep! Surely if he noticed me falling asleep the first time he should if terminated the test in the interest of public safety, but to say he saw me 3/4 times doing this??? He then terminates the test and walks off, leaving me 5 miles away (1hour 30min walk) from the test centre with the keys for the car still! I then found out the driving instructor is a retired merseyside police officer who was dismissed from the police for speeding on a police motorbike at 70 in a 30 zone and almost cutting an 80byear old woman’s car in half! And now he’s a dvla tester!! My instructor said he had made a decision before he even got in the car! As he has never seen anything like that in his 30 years a driving instructor!

  8. Jamie


    I had test cancelled before even starting due to mechanical failure (one of the tyres was a bit soft ) I understood this can happen and is up to the examiner. My driving school is now not replying to me in regards to getting money back for the test/booking a new one or the lesson/exam time. Anything else I can do?

  9. Hi Jamie,
    If your test being cancelled is due to the fault of the driving school’s car, then it’s the instructor who’s responsible for maintaining the vehicle. They should offer you a refund for the test. Tell them that you intend to pursue this at the small claims court.

  10. Kala

    I had the same issue just before I passed my driving test I was using my own vehicle to practice and learn to drive. I went for my driving test which was yrs ago before the practical written test came out the examiner terminated my driving test without any reason and said it was due to driving without care. Left me and my vehicle and got out off the car I was told to complain to the test center by the driving instructor of the driving school I was going to take lessons with I left it and put down to experience I finally did pass with another driving school and took plenty of block mock tests and extra lessons. Unfortunately I don’t drive anymore because of the way people drive on the roads and having so many accidents that were not my fault and other drivers fault.

  11. Hi Kala,
    I can understand examiners having to abandon tests if the candidates driving is poor, but just getting out and leaving the candidate in charge of the vehicle is somewhat irresponsible. Can’t particularly blame you for not driving any longer. The roads are becoming very hectic and drivers less patient.

  12. Faith

    The examiner cancel my test just before doing anything because he felt like the person on the provisional driving licence isn’t me. I explained that the person is me but that was 4 years ago before I got married and have two kids but he wouldn’t listen. He asked me for my passport and I said I didn’t bring one because I didn’t know it was required since they say on the email that “no other form of id is accepted”. But he proceeded to cancel and left me there. He did not give me a chance to prove that the one in the picture is me. So I lost my money as well as my instructor money cos I had to pay her. Plus my theory exam is going to expire soon and I can’t find any new date because they are all been taken since I am left with just two months. I can’t stop crying every time I remember about the incident. I was very slim before I got married and gain weight after giving birth to my second child who is just 7 months old. I feel so wronged and shamed. Mind you this wasn’t the first time I did the test, my first time I failed and this second was well prepared and everything.

  13. Hi Faith,
    That’s terribly unfortunate. Did he not ask for another examiner’s opinion?

  14. Faith

    No he never asked or even want to listen to me.

  15. Hi Faith,
    I Can’t see why it would have been too much trouble for him to ask another examiner’s opinion before terminating the test.

  16. Ali

    My first ever driving test only lasted less than 15 minutes and my examiner abandend me in the middle of a pub car park, I have to laugh at it because it was over the top (they could have waited for my instructor to have collect us). The reason why they terminated the test was because I hit a curb (which I know is a major fault) and said I was speeding but I was within the legal limit. The examiner was not exactly friendly and actully made me nervoues. So if you are going for a driving test and you do not click instantly with your examiner and they make your feel uncomfortable, you have several choices 1) dont partake in the test (I know it costs money but you won’t have your confidence knocked 2) try to ignore them 3) take your driving instructor with you before you take the test. Best of luck!

  17. Mrs Linda Shepherd

    My grandadaughters car broke down as the clutch went on the car. The test was taken 3 hours in a place she didn’t know. The examiner got out of the car and left her with no phone or means of communication with my son who took her. A man stopped, fortunately from Anglian water and asked if she was ok. This left her in a vulnerable place and the man ‘could’ have been dangerous, fortunately he wasn’t but this was unacceptable. The examiner got in another car along the road and just left her there. This should be an offence to leave a vulnerable candidate girl stranded with no means of communication

  18. Hi Linda,
    Yes, I agree. It’s unacceptable. All examiners do this. I suppose it’ll inevitably be until an unfortunate situation occurs that they change this rather ridiculous rule.

  19. B.Turp

    My daughter used the instructors car for lessons and then onto test. She wasn’t allowed to take test (understandably) as the instructor had failed to tax his car! What can she do?? Instructor apologised, but she now has to wait months for a new test date. This all happened today. Please help

  20. Hi B.Turp,

    That’s not very professional for the instructor. I would say at the very least, the instructor should refund, or not expect payment for use of the car (during the test) and any lesson on the day prior to the test. The instructor should also refund the test fee, or pay for a new test and do all they can to bring forward a new test date. Did any of that occur?

  21. David

    Hi there, our examinationed terminated at the beginning after eye sight test and first tell me question completed. The reason is gard to communicate, thhe bad thing is we just ask examiner to speak slowly to driver understands better but he did not. Any of you think there will be an appeal opportunity ?

  22. Hi David,
    What is the reason you were having difficulties understanding the examiner?
    If the reason you had trouble understanding the examiner was due to English not being your first language, it would be unlikely you would win an appeal. It’s possible the examiner stopped the driving test going ahead due to reasons of concern about you being unable to understand instructions whilst driving.

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