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Top 10 DMV Test Fails

Pass Your DMV Test - Get to Know the Top 10 DMV Test Fails

Headed to the DMV to take your drivers license test? If so, you'll definitely want to tune in as Ben and Drivers Ed Direct reveal the top 10 reasons students fail their DMV Drive Test. Based on data from over 500 actual Behind the Wheel DMV exams, this video will teach student drivers and parents what to watch out for when practicing for the DMV Road Test.

Top 10 Drive Test Fails Video Transcript

Hey guys! Ready to take your Drive Test at the DMV? Then you'll definitely want to stay tuned because Drivers Ed Direct is about to reveal the top auto-fails you’ll want to avoid if you want to go home with a driver's license!


Hey Guys! Ben with Drivers Ed Direct and I’m here today to go over the top ten reasons students fail the test at the DMV. These are great stats to know and great things that you can practice so you don't make these same mistakes.

Failure to Identify and React to Hazards

The number ten reason students fail the DMV Drive Test: Failure to identify and react to hazards. What are hazards? Hazards are things that present themselves on the road many times, unexpectedly, that you need to react to appropriately. Things like a pedestrian running across the street, maybe a cyclist, parked cars sometimes swing doors open, emergency vehicles. On your test, you might encounter emergency vehicles. When these kinds of hazards happen, what are you going to do? Your examiner is going to see that. Not only do you identify the hazard but you also react to the hazard which usually means you are going to cover the brake or slow down a little bit and create a little extra space cushion just so you can be a little bit more cautious and assess the situation that way if it is a dangerous situation you can stop or take evasive action.

Curbside Parking

The number nine reason students fail the DMV Drive Test: Curbside parking. Curbside parking is one of the core components of your DMV Drive Test. Alright guys, let's do a nice curbside park up here. So let’s imagine that the examiner asks us to curbside park. So we’re going to put on our right turn signal, check our mirrors, look over our shoulder, and then just very gently, very gently, very slowly move towards the curb. And once we kind of feel the separation between the road and the gutter, we start to straighten out. Again, we’re going real slow. And once we’re nice and straight, within eighteen inches, turn off our signal, park, emergency brake. Right? Now I made sure that I was, you know, a good foot away from the curb. Within eighteen inches. I didn’t want to get so close that I hit it. Now the examiner is going to ask me… or ask you, to back up about 15 feet. You just back up until they tell you to stop. So I'm going to put the car in reverse, take off the emergency brake, check my mirrors, but predominantly, I'm looking over my shoulder right? I don’t see any cars behind me then we’re going to go ahead and reverse. I'm going to keep my wheels very straight so that I don’t back into the curb and that I don’t back into traffic. You might be tempted to move your wheel a little bit as you look backward but don’t. Just keep it nice and straight and keep it nice and slow so that you have total control of the car and that you can brake quickly if necessary. So you just keep rolling back nice and straight. And then when the examiner says,” stop,” stop. And that’s how you curbside park.

Center Turn Lane Use

The number eight reason students fail the DMV Drive Test: Center Turn Lane Use. This is one of those things a lot of students struggle with because they just don’t practice this a lot. The center turn lane is that lane between two-way traffic. You know, it’s got the solid lines on the outside and the dash lines on the inside. You use that lane to either finish a left turn or start a left turn. On your DMV Test, it’s probably going to present itself when you're returning to the DMV. Your examiner is going to ask you to pull into the DMV driveway making a left turn and it will usually be a center turn lane right? Ok guys, I’m going to demonstrate to you how to use the center left-turn lane. There is a parking lot up here I want to pull into and there is a center left-turn lane I’m going to use to do it. So, before I go into the center left-turn lane, I’m going to put on my signal for the left, check my mirrors, look over my shoulder, and then make a safe lane change into that center left-turn lane when it’s open. Now, you can drive in this center left-turn lane for up to 200 feet and there is the driveway I want to turn into. And now I'm monitoring oncoming traffic as well as looking for pedestrians or anything that may be in my way and as that car clears the driveway then I can make my move. And there you have it. So again, you use your left turn lane to start your turn into the, most-likely, DMV parking lot. Make sure that there is no oncoming traffic, no pedestrians, and then safely pull in when the driveway is open. And again, going into the center left-turn lane, make sure you make a proper lane change. You will fail your test if you just go from the normal traffic lane into the center left-turn lane without doing the full lane change.

Driving Too Slow

Number seven is, believe it or not, Driving Too Slow. You’d think that more kids would fail the Drive Test from driving too fast but it’s actually 5 to 6 more times likely that you'll fail for driving too slow. And it’s not surprising because it's your Drive Test and you're trying to do everything perfectly and you're nervous so you're being a little more cautious. Maybe a little more timid than normal, right? It's okay to go a few miles below the speed limit but once you start going super slow you get in trouble. Figure out which DMV you're going to take your test at and then get comfortable with those neighborhoods. Drive on those streets around the DMV. Get an idea for what the speed limits are. Some DMVs, it will be 30 miles per hour. Some DMVs, it will be 45-50 miles per hour. It just depends on where you live. The rule for school zones is, you drive the posted school zone speed limit when children are present. If you don’t see children then you should be scanning and you know, be aware of your surroundings but if you don't see children, then you don't slow down to that school speed limit. That could also get you failed for driving too slow.

Disobeying Stop Signs and Red Lights

Number six reasons why students fail the DMV Drive Test: Disobeying Stop Signs and Red Lights. Obviously, it's a no brainer. You run a stop sign, you blow through a red light you're going to fail your test. But keep in mind, you don’t want to roll any of your stops. Always come to a complete, full stop behind the limit line before proceeding, right? So do not roll your stops. Also, when you come up to the red lights and the stop signs, when you approach them, you want to do it safely and at a safe speed. There’s no reason to race to your stop, right? You might know that you’re going to stop at the red light or at the stop sign but the examiner doesn’t know what you’re thinking and if you’re going too quickly or too fast up to that stop, they might tell you to slow down or stop, and if they do that, that’s considered examiner intervention and that’s an auto-fail.

Lane Changes

Let’s talk about the number five reason students fail the DMV Drive Test: Lane Changes. It’s not a surprise. Lane changes are one of the more difficult concepts for new drivers to grasp. First of all, you need to make sure you are doing your S.M.O.G., your traffic checks, right? You can’t just go from one lane to another lane blindly. You need to signal, check your mirrors, look over your shoulder the direction you are changing lanes into, then go when it is safe. Another thing that gets students into trouble with the lane changes is they impede the progress of other drivers. When you make a lane change, you can't cause any other driver to slow down or have to steer around you, right? Which basically means you can’t cut off another driver. Another kind of related issue, but almost the opposite, is being too timid. I’ve seen a handful of fails where the student failed because there was a safe gap for them to make a lane change, but they didn’t go. If the examiner has to intervene, even verbally, that’s also an auto-fail. And finally, you need to be smooth with your lane changes. If you’re very jerky, you’re going to get into trouble. Your lane changes should be graceful. They should take a few seconds, right? Gently ease over into the next lane. Don’t do it very abruptly. Okay, so I’m going to make a left lane change up here but I’ve got a lot of traffic in front of me and a lot of traffic behind me. So it’s going to be a little challenging but once I see a sufficient gap coming, then I’m going to start getting ready to go here. I’m going to put on my… or I’m going to wait because here’s an intersection, I don’t want to make a lane change in the middle of an intersection. So now I’m through and now there’s another car going to try to pass me so I’m going to go ahead and put my signal on to let them know that I want to make a lane change. I’m signaling, check my mirrors, look over my shoulder, and while I’m making this lane change, I’m also recognizing that the light in front of me is turning red. So that presented another challenge where I needed to actually slow down a little bit as I finished my lane change.

Making a Right Turn at a Red Light

Let’s talk about the number four reason why students fail the DMV Drive Test. I'm talking about making a right turn at a red light. This is something that may not even happen on your Drive Test, but if it does, you need to be prepared to know how to handle it, right? There is nowhere in the DMV handbook, nowhere in the vehicle code that says that you have to make a right turn on a red. So if, you know, if you don’t have to, if you can kind of wait just a couple of seconds for the light to turn green, let the light turn green before you make your right turn. However, you might be in a situation where the examiner actually requests you to make the right on the red when it is safe to do so, and if you disobey the examiner, that’s also an auto-fail. So you need to know how to do it if forced to do a right. First and foremost, before you make a right on red, it’s a red light, you need to come to a complete stop, and you need to come to that complete stop before the crosswalk. So come to that complete stop before the crosswalk and once you check that there’s nobody in the crosswalk, right… you’re looking left, right, left. Slowly, slowly, slowly, inch into the crosswalk so that you can start to get a better view of the cross-traffic, right? Then you’re checking for the traffic that has the right of way. You’re checking for cross traffic. If the lane is open, remember you’re turning into the rightmost lane. If the lane is open and you can turn into it without impeding anybody’s progress, then go for it. I need to make a right turn here at the red light. Check for bicyclists. And you’re going to come to a complete stop behind the crosswalk here. Ok, so now I’ve got a truck here blocking the view of the crosswalk so I’ve got to creep up real slow and check for pedestrians. And now I can see that it’s open. The lights about to turn and I'm good.

Two-way Stops

The number three reason that students fail the DMV Drive Test is handling two-way stops. That’s where you come to an intersection where you have a stop sign and the cross-traffic does not. Two-way stops are a concept that a lot of students struggle with. So since I’m taking a right and I'm putting on my signal, check my mirrors, look over my shoulder, as I fade closer to the curb there about four or five feet from the curb. Now it’s a two-way stop, I don’t have the right-of-way. So, I come to a complete stop before the limit line and I look for pedestrians before I start to inch out. And as I inch out, I go very slowly because pedestrians or a scooter or a bicyclist might come really fast on the sidewalk. Now once I know the sidewalk is clear, I'm going to inch out and I have to inch out pretty far because there is parked cars blocking my view. So you inch out very slowly. And then once you see a gap, you accelerate and you want to get up to the speed of traffic safely but quickly so that you don’t impede anybody's progress. First and foremost, you have to come to a complete stop behind the limit line right? Even if you know you’re going to have to inch out to get a better view of traffic, you still have to do that full stop behind the limit line. You have to stop behind the limit line, check for pedestrians, right? Check for any obstacles and then slowly, slowly inch forward. Remember, when you inch forward to get a better view of the traffic, go slow. If you go a little too quickly, you might startle the examiner. They might think you are going for it. They can fail you right there if you’re doing that, right? So go out slowly. Now as you inch out, realize that you might have to stop again. You might inch out till you can actually see the traffic that’s hidden behind parked cars or bushes or whatever… and you might need to stop again. Whatever you do, inch out as far as you need to, making sure that you are going very slowly. Once you see it's completely clear and that you can proceed without impeding any other driver’s progress, right… also making sure that all the crosswalks are clear, then you can go for it.

Right Turns

Right turns. The number two reasons that students and a lot of students fail their DMV Drive Test, not being able to handle right turns. Now obviously, in a right turn which is something you do a lot of, you need to be smooth. You need to be graceful. You need to have the proper mechanics to make your right turns, so practice them, right? Practice right turns coming from a stop. Practice right turns coming where you’re, you know, moving with the flow of traffic. A rolling right stop. In general, the safe speed for your right turns, 10-15 miles per hour. You want to finish your right turns in the rightmost lane… the lane closest to the curb right? Once you’ve got the mechanics down, you need to make sure that you’re doing all the safety things right. A lot of kids, even a lot of adults to be quite honest, really don’t understand how the bike lanes work or don’t at least, don’t check for the bike lanes. You’ve got to do a S.M.O.G. You’ve got to do a complete signal, mirror, over the shoulder before you go on any of your right turns. You need to be checking for a bicyclist and pedestrians that are going to be coming to your right, either in the crosswalk or in the bike lane. To my right, you’ve got a bike lane right? So you want to merge into it, but we can’t merge into it until you get the dotted lines. So I put on my right signal, check my mirrors, check my blind spot, no bicyclists. And I merge into the bike lane. This is a skinny bike lane so you, you know, you’re only partially into it. That’s fine. And there’s a long line of cars up here. So we probably won’t be able to make this right turn until it turns green. That’s fine. And I’m checking the crosswalk, left, right, left. And I’m going to finish in the rightmost lane here. So get really comfortable making right turns especially when bike lanes are involved. And even when you are in residential, you’re still required to do that same S.M.O.G. There might not be a painted bike lane or anything like that, but you still need to do your signal, mirror, over the shoulder, before you go. So again, on your right turns, get you know, get fluid, get comfortable making them graceful, not being jerky, having good steering, not understeering, not oversteering. And then also make sure you do all your traffic checks, and that you are really aware of what’s going on in the bicycle lane and in the crosswalk with pedestrians.

Unprotected Left Turns

Alright guys! We made it all the way down to number one and I’m about to reveal the number one reason why students fail the DMV Drive Test. Unprotected Left Turns. And what is an unprotected left turn? Well, it’s a left turn when you don’t have the right-of-way. It’s a left turn when the oncoming straight traffic has the right-of-way. The pedestrians have the right-of-way, right? So on an unprotected left turn, you generally are stuck waiting in the intersection, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, and then when you have a safe gap and there is nobody in the crosswalk, you make your left turn. Alright, let’s make a left turn at the light up here. The light’s red and I see the left turn lane, throw on my signal, check my mirror, look over my left shoulder, and glide into the left turn lane there. The light just turned green. I’m still going to look left, right, left at the intersection, and I’m going to inch out about a third of the way into the intersection as I wait for a safe gap in traffic. Now while I’m waiting, I’m obviously watching oncoming traffic. I’m also looking at the crosswalks in the corner of where I’m turning into for pedestrians. And you’re always keeping your eyes moving. You’re watching the light and making sure it’s not turning yellow or red on you. Watching traffic. Watching pedestrians. You’re going to look over your shoulder every once in a while to make sure that a pedestrian doesn’t come from being you. Now I see a gap coming, everything looks good, and I’m going to go with confidence from my turn, guide it in there, nice smooth turn. When I finish, I check my mirror to see if there is anything coming behind me that I may have missed. And that’s how you do an unprotected left turn. Alright, so there is two basic scenarios that cause the auto-fails when you’re making your unprotected left turns. The first one is when you decide to go when it’s not safe. Usually, you go and that means the oncoming traffic is impeded or has to slow down or worse yet, swerve to avoid hitting you. So when you make your left turn, none of the oncoming traffic should have to slow down or steer to avoid you. Also when you make your left turn, you better make sure that there is nobody in the crosswalks. So nobody in the crosswalk should have to wait for you to make your turn or have to run to get out of your way, right? So the oncoming traffic and the crosswalk, they have the right-of-way. The other one is kind of the opposite of that. That’s not making your left turn when there is a safe gap or sufficient gap to make your turn. You don’t want to be sitting a third of the way in the intersection waiting to make your left turn and then when it’s safe to go, not go. You don’t want to be hanging out in the intersection. And what happens a lot on the DMV Test, is the examiner will say,” Hey! What are you doing? You have a safe gap. Please go for it.” Even though that’s helpful, it’s also an auto-fail because that’s examiner intervention.

Alright guys! There you have it. The Top Ten Reasons Students Fail the Test at the DMV. From everybody at Drivers Ed Direct, thanks for tuning in. We hope the information we gave today will help you pass your DMV Test. And more importantly, we hope it helps you be a safe, confident driver. Good luck out there! See you next time!