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Driving Test Faults Explained

Many people get confused when they get their driving test report to understand the different categories of fault recorded. Generally people categorise driver faults into minor and major but when they see the form they don’t see ’minor’ nor do they see ’major’.

What you see are generally three boxes per line, the wider box records "driver faults" - what are commonly referred to as "minors". These are wider so the examiner can record multiple occurrences. You are permitted up to 15 driver faults (minors).

Then there are two small boxes in columns headed S and Dwhich stand for Serious and Dangerous - commonly referred to as Majors. Just one of either results in a fail.

So what do they mean?

Basically, faults are considered "minor" or "major" depending on their effect on other road users. Assessment of how the fault affects others can be subjective but in my experience examiners are in the main consistent but being human, there are sometimes discrepancies. Like most things human, it isn’t an exact science!

Driver faults - minors:

These are faults that don’t have any noticeable effect on others; it may be an inconvenience to someone else but unlikely to result in an accident. For example, suppose you’re turning left and you forget to check your mirrors, but you signal in plenty of time and you make the turn. This is a fault and would be recorded as a driver fault (minor) under the mirrors section.

Serious faults - majors:

This is a fault that could have caused an accident if there was someone there. For example, you are changing lanes on a dual carriageway and you forget to check your mirrors and blind spot, you just signal and move over. In this instance however, there is no one else in the next lane. This most likely will be recorded as Serious, again under mirrors. Although there was no one in the next lane, had there been, your ignorance of it could have resulted in a collision. This will result in a fail.

Dangerous faults - majors:

This is a fault that is likely to cause an accident and someone else has to take the action to avoid it. For example, sticking with the mirror example, you change lanes but didn’t look first and this time there is a car in the next lane but you haven’t seen it. In this case a collision is highly likely and either the other car has to brake to avoid the collision or, as is most likely, the examiner takes the wheel and stops you changing lanes. This results in a fail.


This explains the markings that were made on your test report. The report is labelled DL25D and DL25D Rev.


1(a) Eyesight Test

At the start of the test the examiner asked you to read a vehicle registration number. If you do not meet the eyesight standard then your test will not go ahead. If you need glasses or contact lenses to make sure you can read the number you must wear them whenever you drive or ride.

1(b) Highway Code / Safety

Highway Code: If you took a test for a tractor or specialist vehicle, at the end of the test you would have been asked questions on the Highway Code and to identify some road signs.

If you took an LGV or PCV test you were asked some Safety Questions. We asked you about some of the following: the location and operation of the safety components on your vehicle such as fire extinguishers, fuel cut-off switch and emergency exits.


2 Controlled stop

You may have been asked to show you were able to stop your vehicle in good time and under full control, as if in an emergency situation. Remember, when driving in wet or icy weather conditions, it will take you longer to stop safely.

3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Reversing and turn in road exercises

Depending on the test you took, you may have been asked to complete one or more slow speed manoeuvring exercises. You needed to show you were able to keep control of your vehicle. This needed to be done whilst taking effective observations and acting correctly on what you saw.

7 Vehicle checks

It is important that the vehicle is in good working order and you can operate vehicle controls. The examiner asked you some ‘show me / tell me’ type safety questions. You needed to show a basic knowledge of the checks you should make on a regular basis. Depending on the test you took, you may have needed to safely demonstrate you can operate your vehicle’s secondary controls whilst on the move.

8 Forward park (see above) / Taxi manoeuvre

You needed to show the examiner that you can safely turn the vehicle around to face in the opposite direction. How you did this was left to you, but you must not have used driveways or mounted the pavement. You were tested on your ability to select a safe place to carry out the manoeuvre whilst taking effective observation and acting correctly on what you saw.

9 Taxi wheelchair

You needed to show your ability to use wheelchair ramps competently. You needed to put the imaginary wheelchair user and his or her wheelchair into your vehicle. Then ensure the wheelchair and its user were securely installed ready for a journey. You were then asked to reverse this whole process.

10 Uncoupling and re-coupling (vehicle and trailer combinations)

You needed to show that you can uncouple and re-couple your trailer, using the correct procedure for your vehicle and trailer types. You were asked to uncouple the combination then drive forward and reverse alongside the trailer. To re-couple, you should have aligned and reconnected the towing vehicle and trailer. This should have been done accurately. You should then have checked they were secured and safe to go out on the road.

11 Precautions

These checks are simple but important. Before you started the engine, you needed to make sure that your seat was adjusted correctly to allow you to reach all your driving controls with ease. This is because an incorrect seat position can affect your ability to take observations and keep proper control of the vehicle.

12 Control

Throughout the test you needed to show you can use all the controls smoothly and at the correct time. This means less wear and tear on your vehicle and a smoother ride for your passengers.

13 Move off

You needed to show that you can move away on the level, on a slope and at an angle safely, under full control, taking effective observation. Move off only when it is safe to do so.

14 Use of mirrors – rear observation

You should have used the mirrors safely and effectively acting correctly upon what you saw. Where mirrors are not enough, for example to cover ‘blind spots’, then you must take effective rear observation. You must always check this carefully before signalling, changing direction or changing speed. You needed to demonstrate you can use the Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre (MSM) routine effectively.

15 Signals

You should only use the signals shown in the Highway Code. On test you should have signalled clearly to let others know what you intend to do. This is particularly important if it would help other road users or pedestrians. You should have always signalled in good time and ensured that the signal had been switched off after the manoeuvre had been completed. You should not beckon to pedestrians to cross the road.

16 Clearance

You should have given parked vehicles and other obstructions enough space to pass safely. You needed to watch out for changing situations such as pedestrians walking out from between parked cars, doors opening and vehicles trying to move off. You should have been prepared to slow down or stop if needed.



17 Response to signs and signals

You needed to show that you can react correctly to all traffic signs, road markings, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. You should have obeyed signals given by police officers, traffic wardens, Highways Agency officers and school crossing patrols. You should watch out for signals given by other road users and carry on only when you are happy it is safe.

18 Use of speed

You should have made safe and reasonable progress along the road. You needed to keep in mind the road, traffic and weather conditions, road signs and speed limits. You needed to show confidence based on sound judgement. Remember, at all times you should have been able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear.

19 Following distance

You should have always kept a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front. You should be able to stop safely, well within the distance you can see to be clear. You should leave extra distance in wet or slippery conditions. Leave enough space when you are stopped in traffic queues.

20 Maintain progress

On test you needed to show that you can drive at a realistic speed appropriate to the road and traffic conditions. You needed to approach all hazards at a safe, controlled speed, without being over cautious or slowing or stopping other road users. You should always be ready to move away from junctions as soon as it is safe and correct to do so. Driving too slowly can frustrate other drivers which creates danger for yourself and others.

21 Junctions including roundabouts

The examiner would have looked for correct use of the Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre MSM procedure. The examiner was also looking for correct positioning and approach speed at junctions and roundabouts. This is because these skills are essential for dealing with these hazards safely. Turning right across busy roads/dual carriageways is particularly dangerous. To drive safely and pass your test you must be confident that you can judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic safely. You also need to look out for other road users emerging and turning at junctions and be ready to alter your course or stop. Be extra watchful in poor light or bad weather conditions for the more vulnerable road user, such as cyclists and motorcyclists.

22 Judgement

Your examiner will have assessed your judgment skills throughout the test. You will have needed to show sound judgment when overtaking, meeting or crossing the path of other road users. You should have only done this when it was safe and legal. You should have made your intentions clear and been sure that you understood the intentions of other road users.

23 Positioning

You should have positioned your car in a safe position; normally this would be keeping well to the left of the road. You needed to keep clear of parked vehicles and be positioned correctly for the direction that you intend to take. You needed to look for and be guided by road signs and markings. Other road users may judge your intentions by where you are positioned so be aware of where you are at all times.

24 Pedestrian crossings

You should have been able to identify the different types of pedestrian crossing and take the correct action. You needed to monitor your speed and time your approach to crossings so that you can stop safely if you need to do so. You should have paid particular attention where crossings were partly hidden by queuing or parked vehicles. You should also show consideration for elderly or infirm pedestrians who are trying to cross the road.

25 Position / normal stops

You should have chosen a safe, legal and convenient place to stop, close to the edge of the road, where you will not block the road and create a hazard. You should know how and where to stop without causing inconvenience or danger to other road users.

26 Awareness / Planning

You must be aware of other road users at all times. Your examiner is looking to see that you plan ahead to judge what other road users are going to do. This will allow you to predict how their actions will affect you and react in good time. You needed to anticipate road and traffic conditions, and act in good time, rather than reacting to them at the last moment. You should have taken particular care to consider the actions of the more vulnerable groups of road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, other motorcyclists and horse riders.

27 Ancillary controls

You needed to show that you can operate all of your vehicle’s controls safely and effectively. The examiner was looking to see that whilst on the move you kept proper control of your vehicle whilst using secondary controls. These include demisters, heating controls, indicators and windscreen wipers.

28.Eco Safe Driving

You should drive in an ‘eco friendly manner’, considering your impact on the environment. Plan well ahead and choose appropriate gears, avoid heavy braking and over revving of the engine, particularly when stopped or moving off. If you have to stop for a long period such as at road works or railway crossings, consider stopping the engine to reduce pollution and save fuel. The examiner will assess this on your test; however this assessment will not affect the overall result of the test. If there are areas that need improvement you will receive appropriate feedback at the end of the test.

29 Health Declaration

You must declare any change to your health status since you last applied for a licence. It is a criminal offence for you (or anyone else) to make a false statement in order for you to obtain a driving licence, and can lead to prosecution.

30 Residence

Normal residence means the place where you normally live and have personal or occupational ties. However, if you have moved to the UK from another European Country or European Economic Area (EC/EEA), you should not take a driving test or obtain a first full licence unless you have lived here for 185 days in the last 12 months and are still living here at the time of your licence application. You may be asked to provide evidence of this.

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