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How Many Serious Faults Are You Allowed?

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated September, 13, 2022

How many serious faults are you allowed on a driving test?

Passing a driving test takes practice, determination, and experience. Getting a pass mark is possible with a few minor driving errors, a single dangerous or serious fault is an instant failure.

But, what are serious driving faults in the UK, what are the most common driving test majors and minors, and what can you do to avoid making them during your driving test?

Let’s find out.

How Many Minors Can You Get on a Driving Test?

All candidates are allowed to rack up to 15 minor faults on their driving test in the UK.

Minor faults, also called driving faults, are mistakes that mainly cause inconvenience to other road users. Although a minor fault is considered bad driving, it doesn’t pose an immediate danger to the driver or others.

What Are Serious Driving Faults?

There are two types of major driving test faults:

  • Dangerous faults– Pose an immediate danger to the driver, examiner, other drivers, the public, and property.
  • Serious faults – Actions that are considered potentially dangerous. 

Dangerous and serious faults are also known as driving test majors. 

The main difference between minors and majors on a driving test is that the latter refers to faults that are more likely to cause an accident

For example, incorrectly positioning the car when approaching a roundabout, with no cars nearby, is considered a serious fault. If there are other drivers around, the mistake will be considered dangerous.

Examples of other serious faults on a driving test include running a red light, poor steer control, quickly emerging into junctions without proper observation, and changing lanes without checking the mirrors first.

Worth noting: Minor faults can turn into serious faults if repeated more than a couple of times.

What Are Minors on a Driving Test?

Unlike major faults, minor faults on a driving test are not likely to cause an accident. 

Here’s a list of the most common minor faults on a driving test:

  1. Lack of control during moving off – You are expected not only to move off safely on a hill or from behind a car but to be in control of the vehicle at all times during the manoeuvre. If you make a mistake and react quickly to correct it, the examiner will likely mark it as a minor on your driving test.
  1. Stalling the vehicle – One of the most common minors in a driving test is stalling the car. Stalling on the side of the road won’t automatically result in an immediate fail, but if you stall in traffic, you’ll get a serious fault on your driving test.
  1. Touching the kerb – The examiner won’t fail you if you slightly touch or rub against the kerb. You’ll also get a minor if you park too far from the kerb. However, you will automatically fail the test if you jump or crash hard into it, especially if there are pedestrians there.
  1. Hesitating at a roundabout or a junction – You are allowed to pass on up to two opportunities to pull out of a roundabout or a junction. If you miss all three opportunities to pull out or do it when it’s not safe, you’ll get a major. 
  1. Incorrect use of the clutch/handbrake – The handbrake should be applied when the car is not moving. You might be able to get away with it if you’re on a flat road, but the examiner is likely to fail you if the car starts rolling back and you fail to react in time.
  1. Crossed hands – The recommended hand position is the ‘9 and 3’. Drivers should have their left hand on the left side of the steering wheel in a location where the ‘9’ would be if the wheel was a clock. The other hand should be placed on the right side, where the ‘3’ would be if the wheel was a clock.
  1. Inappropriate use of speed – Driving too slowly can cause traffic delays and will be marked as a minor. Exceeding the speed limit is more likely to be considered a major fault. Also, bear in mind the speeding ticket may affect insurance.

What Is On The Driving Test Report?

The driving test report is a document where examiners mark minors and majors in driving tests and how you’ve handled the test overall. Every candidate has the right to see their driving test sheet after the test, regardless of whether they passed or failed.

The driving test report has a total of 27 categories, but only 21 can affect the result of the driving test. These include: 

  1. Eyesight 
  2. Controlled stop 
  3. 4,5 and 8 reverse exercises  
  4. Vehicle checks 
  5. Precautions 
  6. Control 
  7. Move off 
  8. Use of mirrors and rear observations 
  9. Signals 
  10. Clearance/obstructions  
  11. Response to signs/signals 
  12. Use of speed 
  13. Following distance 
  14. Progress 
  15. Junctions 
  16. Judgement 
  17. Positioning 
  18. Pedestrian crossing 
  19. Positional/normal stops 
  20. Awareness/planning
  21. Ancillary controls 

Other sections that are not relevant but don’t affect the outcome of the driving test are:

  1. 1b. H/Code / Safety
  2.  Reverse / Left Reverse with Trailer
  3.  Turn in road 
  4. Taxi wheelchair 
  5. Uncouple/recouple
  6. Eco-Safe Driving and Examiner Took Action (ETA).

What Happens If You Pass The Driving Test?

If you pass the driving test, the examiner will:

  • Inform you about the faults you made during the test.
  • Give you a pass certificate. 

 If you agree to get your full licence automatically, you’ll have to hand over your provisional licence to the examiner immediately. You can also apply for it by post.

You can start driving right after you pass the test. You should receive your full licence in about three weeks after applying for it.

What Happens If You Fail a Driving Test?

If you failed your driving test, the examiner will tell you why, what faults you made, and where. You’ll have to wait for 10 working days to apply to retake the test. 

If you believe that you should have passed your driving test, you can appeal the examiner’s decision within 6 months after the driving test took place. You should first check to see whether you have grounds for an appeal and if the examiner followed the law and then make a complaint with the Driver and Vehicle and Standards Agency (DVSA).

Even if the DVSA agrees that you shouldn’t have failed the test, it won’t change the test result, but the agency will send you a refund or offer you to retake the test for free. 

How To Avoid Making Faults At a Driving Test?


In the UK, more than half of learner drivers (53.4%) fail the driving test on the first attempt. The pass rate for the practical test is 45.8% and 47.3% for the theory test. 

Most drivers pass the test after their second attempt.

Here’s what you can do to avoid majors and minors in your driving test:

  1. Practice – The more you practice, the less likely you will be to make mistakes during your driving test. 
  1. Speak to your instructor – Qualified and experienced instructors can provide guidance and give you some tips on how to avoid making mistakes.
  1. Get in the right mindset – One of the best pieces of advice that many instructors give to their student drivers is: You control the car. The car doesn’t control you.
  1. Theory – The examiner will want to see that you understand what the signs on the road say and react correctly.
  1. Learn from others – The majority of drivers fail their tests because they make the same mistakes that most learner drivers do. You can get ahead of this by finding out what these mistakes are (ask your instructor or friends who have failed their driving test) and making practice to avoid them. 

Bottom Line

Taking a driving test can be a nerve-racking moment for many (potential) drivers – in fact, numbers show that less than half of Brits pass their driving test on the first try. Still, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your driving ahead of your test. You can pass with up to 15 driving test minor faults but will immediately fail if you make even one serious or dangerous fault.

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Can you drive straight after passing your test in the UK?

You can start driving as soon as you pass your driving test, even if you don’t receive your full licence right away. 

Can you fail a driving test on a manoeuvre?

You can fail your driving test on a manoeuvre if you show a lack of awareness or poor observation. The examiner is also unlikely to let you pass the test if you mount the kerb or end up in the wrong position. 

Is rolling back a serious fault?

Rolling back usually means you’re not in control of the vehicle. If the vehicle rolls back only if you react quickly to correct it, you might only get a minor. You’ll automatically fail if you make this mistake several times.

How many times can you fail your driving test in the UK?

The DVLA does not set limits as to how many times you can fail the practical driving test

Is speeding a serious fault?

Speeding and driving too slowly are generally considered minor faults unless they’re persistent throughout the test. Any driving test minors can be classed as serious faults if they’re repeated a couple of times.

Can you fail your driving test without hesitation?

You can fail your driving test for hesitation if you pass on the opportunity to exit a junction or a roundabout more than twice.

What is the average amount of driving tests to pass?

In the UK, most drivers pass their driving test after the second or third attempt.  

How many serious faults are you allowed? 

Drivers can make up to 15 minor faults and still pass their driving test. However, driving test serious faults are not allowed– a single serious or dangerous fault means instant failure. 


Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.