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How many minors can you get on a driving test?

Last updated: 18/05/2022 | Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

If your driving test is fast approaching, you’ll likely be concerned about making mistakes. But here’s a newsflash: mistakes happen, and you can still pass your test even with a few faults.

In fact, making minor driving faults is almost inevitable when you take your test. So, what are they? And where is the line drawn?

In This Guide:

What counts as a minor fault in a driving test?

A minor fault is a driving error that can occur on your test. It’s one that in itself won’t cause you to fail your test, but something you certainly need to be aware of to ensure you’re the safest and most competent driver you can be. Some examples of minor faults include:

  • Stalling, or the incorrect use of the clutch and handbrake
  • Touching the kerb
  • Driving too slowly
  • Hesitation
  • Incorrect signalling
  • Lack of awareness for surroundings
  • Not implementing safety procedures for weather conditions, such as turning on lights and windscreen wipers

How many minors are you allowed in your test?

There are around 28 different assessment points on your driving test, and all have a check box for whether you receive a minor, serious or dangerous fault in them – more on these latter two faults later.

You can make up to 15 minor faults in your driving test and still pass; 16 or higher counts as a fail.

That being said, if you receive 3 or more minors in the same assessment category – for example, incorrectly signalling on several occasions – this could warrant a major fault, which is an instant fail.

How to avoid minors in your driving test

According to data from the DVSA, only around 1% of the population who pass their test will do with zero minors. It is extremely rare to get no minors at all. So, by all means aim for top of the class, but we urge you to not be disheartened if you get minors – you’re in the vast majority if you do!

However, like with any test there are a few ways to put yourself in the best position to bag yourself a clean score:

  • Practice makes perfect: If you know parallel parks aren’t your strong point, then don’t just pray you’re not asked to perform one.
  • Revise your theory: There’s a reason you do a theory test before taking to the road, and it’s the application of all that knowledge which will set you up for success.
  • Bring it back to basics: Mirror, signal, manoeuvre. Remain vigilant and double check for all hazards before you drive off. Oh, and it pays to be blatant with your checks: your assessor may not see a quick side glance of the eye when you look in the mirror – make it obvious what you’re doing.
  • Have an open dialogue with your instructor: Ask them for regular feedback on your progress while you’re learning, as well as common minors that occur on test day.
  • Personal prep: Get a good night’s sleep, wear comfortable clothing and sturdy clothes. Arrive early to ensure you’re not rushed.
  • Be calm: Try not to let nerves get the better of you. Take a few moments before you set off to breathe and remember it’s completely normal for people to make mistakes.

What is a major fault in a driving test?

A major fault is categorised as either serious or dangerous. A serious fault can predicate a dangerous fault – it’s something which has the potential to cause danger. A dangerous fault is driving in such a way that you put yourself, other people or property at risk.

If this occurs, unfortunately you’ll receive an instant fail, though will still be expected to continue with your test and await the assessor’s report.

Examples of serious and dangerous faults include:

  • Not responding to traffic signals
  • Lack of observation at junctions
  • Lack of steering control
  • Inability to safely move off
  • Not responding to road signs
  • Speeding
  • Not checking mirrors or blind spots when changing direction.

Similarly, as we mentioned earlier, a major fault can also be made up of three minors in the same category – a signal of repeatedly making the same mistakes.

How many majors are you allowed?

None. As a major is defined as a serious or dangerous fault, unfortunately receiving one of these will result as an instant fail.

While a fail is undeniably disappointing, don’t be too hard on yourself. According to the government website, data from the past ten years shows that over 50% of people don’t pass their driving test first time. If you do fail, then then ask your instructor for constructive feedback and ask them to explain the reason why your major fault resulted in a fail from a safety perspective. That way you’ll be more prepared for next time.  

Do minors affect your car insurance premium?

No, they don’t. Whether you get 15 minors or 0, a pass is a pass and insurance providers don’t ask for a report.

However, it’s still useful to be aware of what you received minor driving faults on so as to avoid making those mistakes on the road. For example, if you signal incorrectly and it results in an incident, you’ll have to claim on your insurance which’ll hike up the price.

Young and inexperienced drivers face the highest premiums. If you know you’re a responsible driver, consider taking out black box insurance to prove this, as it’s one way to bring down your quote.

Have you recently passed your driving test? Start your car insurance comparison today to find yourself the best deal on the market.

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