Failed Your Practical Driving Test – What to do Now

Failing your driving test is nothing to be ashamed of.  The chances are, you know plenty of other people who have been in the same situation, you just might not realise it – only around half of all drivers pass their test the first time, and this figure is even lower amongst women.

Woman crying outside learner car

Find out where you went wrong

Being told you have failed is not the news you wanted to hear, however, it is important to remain composed.  Your examiner will tell you why you failed, and it is important that you listen to what they have to say, so that you know where you need to improve for your retest.

Just a single serious or dangerous fault (often referred to as ‘majors’) will stop you from passing, so it is possible to fail your driving test because of a single error.  You are also allowed to make up to 15 minor faults, so it is equally possible to fail by committing a series of small errors.

Make sure you keep a copy of your driving test report, so that you can show your instructor too, as understanding where you went wrong is the key to success next time around.

Appealing the decision

Examiners don’t want to fail candidates unless they have to, so it is unusual to have to appeal against the result of your driving test, however if you do feel that they didn’t follow the regulations while carrying out your test, you can appeal the result. If you appeal the result, the result itself cannot be overturned, but if your appeal is successful, you can get a free retest.

Rebooking your test

You will have to pay to book another driving test, so don’t go booking one straight away if you think a bit of time to practice would help rebuild your confidence.

The date of the retest must be at least 10 working days away, although there is nothing to stop you making the booking straight away. Just remember when it comes to your next test, to be as prepared and check that you have everything you need with you.

If your test is a few weeks or months away, also check with your instructor that there isn’t going to be any major changes to the test. As of 4 December 2017, 4 out of 5 drivers will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. Changes to driving test happen to keep you safer, so keep an eye out for any that might affect you.

Don’t let it damage your confidence

It is disappointing to be told that you have failed your driving test, but try not to dwell upon it.  The best thing you can do is get back behind the wheel as quickly as you can.  Your instructor wouldn’t have suggested you book a driving test if they didn’t think you were ready, and nothing has changed.  Practice is the key to regaining your confidence.

If you failed your test because of a specific manoeuvre, or at a certain junction, make sure you practice these again before taking your retest, so that you won’t be fazed if asked to do these on your retest. Some of our tips for learner drivers might also help get your head around the theory of some of the trickiest manoeuvres.

If it would help your confidence, you can even ask to have your driving instructor in your car for your retest.

Get some more practice in

If you already have a car, or are insured as a learner on somebody else’s vehicle, there might not even be a need to pay for extra driving lessons.  If you were planning on buying a car after you passed your test, there is nothing from stopping you buying it now, and being insured on it as a learner.

Practice makes perfect, so the more you get in, whether it with your driving instructor, friend or relative, the better your chances of passing.


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