driving examiners look for on a driving test and mark on the test marking sheet. They are Serious Faults (S on the test sheet), Dangerous Faults (D on the test sheet) and Driving Faults which are often referred to as 'minors'.There are three types of faults that
On a learner driving test you are allowed up to 15 driving faults but you must not make a single serious or dangerous fault. If you do, the test will be marked as a 'fail', regardless of how skilful the rest of your driving is.
On your test you must avoid serious or dangerous errors at all costs. I would rather you risk taking a mark for a minor error than rushing into something and failing your test through a serious or dangerous error. In any circumstance, if you are unsure, don't risk the serious or dangerous error.
The difference between these types of faults is often a cause of confusion, even among trainee driving instructors, but It's really quite simple.
It's important to keep in mind that a simple minor driving fault can also be regarded as serious or even dangerous in certain circumstances.
A simple driving fault is often referred to as a 'minor fault' for good reason. It's a simple fault in the MSM routine that by itself won't cause any danger.
As I've already mentioned, you are allowed up to 15 driving faults and you'll still pass the driving test.
The main problem with minor driving faults is that if you keep making the same fault the examiner will regard it as serious or dangerous. Because of this it's quite common for people to fail their driving test simply by making the same simple error during their drive.
The truth is that your instructor should watch you closely during your lessons because the examiner will watch you to identify any driving errors.
If you are regularly making the same errors they need to be addressed and you need to get good quality practice with your instructor to iron them out.
Here are a few common driving faults that examiners see over and over again. These are the types of errors you should work hard and practice to eliminate from your driving.
Again, it's very important to realise that any of these may be elevated to serious or dangerous errors depending upon the circumstances. The examiner will take each fault into consideration in making their decision.
Most of these errors are minor faults in the MSM routine, so get to know it thoroughly and use it constantly.
Common Driving Faults
Typical driving errors include:
- Failure to check the interior mirror before slowing or changing road position
- Failure to check the exterior side mirror before making a turn into a junction or emerging.
- Not using the handbrake when it's appropriate to do so
- Being too hesitant when it's clear to go
- Applying a signal slightly late or early without causing danger
- Driving slightly too close to parked cars without causing danger
This list could go on and on.
Serious and Dangerous Driving Faults
Simply put, these faults are absolutely anything that causes, or could cause, danger to another road user or yourself.
So, what's the difference between them?
A dangerous error is marked when you do (or don't do) something that clearly causes danger or puts a road user in danger.
A serious error is marked when no other road user is actually put in danger but they would have been had they been there. This one often causes confusion, so let me give you an example.
You approach a junction to turn right from a main road into a side road. You run through your MSM routine to check the mirrors, apply the signal and get into position.
However, you turn too early and you cut the corner.
Now, if another car is there, you'll clearly cause danger to them so your actions would be recorded as a dangerous driving fault.
If there isn't another car there, your corner cutting would be regarded as 'serious', because it could have caused danger had another car been there.
In either case, with a dangerous or serious driving error, the test will be marked as a fail regardless of how good the rest of your driving is.
Common Serious and Dangerous Driving Faults
Remember, any fault, no matter how minor, can be elevated to dangerous or serious depending upon the circumstances and whether or not you keep making the same mistakes.
Typical examples of these faults include:
- Corner cutting on turning right
- Mounting the pavement during an exercise
- Driving too close to other vehicles causing danger or potential danger
- Emerging onto a roundabout or from a junction when it's not clear to go
- Applying a signal at the wrong time causing confusion and danger
- Changing driving lanes without mirror and shoulder checks to make sure it's clear
- Driving towards any hazard too fast or losing control of the car
It's impossible to overstate how important it is to stay away from making any serious or dangerous driving faults. The result of your test depends upon it.
In any situation, if you are in any doubt at all, risk taking a minor error rather than being marked for a serious or dangerous driving fault. Think about it, it's far better to pick up a minor mark for hesitation and still pass the test than it is to rush into something and risk a dangerous fault.