By Josh Barron, Certified Automobile Examiner
Posted on 26 October 2022

5 – Failing to Stop at a Stop Sign

Many students fail their driving test because they don’t come to a full stop at a stop sign. Remember slowing down and stopping are two different things. It’s advisable to count from 1 to 3 (1…2…3…) after coming a full stop to not make the mistake of rolling at or through the stop sign. Remember not stopping is considered a disregard traffic control device (DTCD) violation and is an automatic failure.

This incident is common while driving in town and condensed areas where people are distracted because there is so much going on. (i.e. pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic, lights, festivals, crosswalks, etc.) While driving in town it is advised that you slow down and pay more attention to everything around you especially stop signs that you may be approaching.

4 – Pointing Out on Backing/ Parking Exercises

Many States require you to show proficiency in backing exercises as a part of the driving road test. For some people this can be the hardest part of the road test. If you are in a State like Washington, Ohio, Texas, New York, Nevada, Michigan, or Oklahoma you’ll have to do different backing exercises and, in many cases, the parallel park. For these States you must pass the backing and parking exercises before moving onto the road portion of the driving test. Not doing well on the backing and parking exercises could mean failing the driving test right then and there without ever hitting the road.

To make sure you pass the backing portion of the skills test we recommend a couple things. First, know what backing exercise your State requires and practice those backing exercises. If you are unsure call the local driving school or testing agency and ask them what backing exercises you will be tested on. If you must do the parallel park, know that it is typically difficult for people and extra practice may be required. If you have to back around a curb, execute a U-turn, three-point turn, or a two-point reverse turn practice that maneuver accordingly. Check out the featured online course going through all these specific exercises and how to do them at

3 – Speeding

Speeding is one of the easiest things to avoid doing on your road test, however, counts for a good percentage of failures on the road tests nationwide. It’s important to keep your eyes on a swivel and look for changing speed limit signs. Things you can do to help with that includes practicing in and around the area where you will be taking your driver’s skills test. For instance, if you are taking your skills test in downtown Tampa Bay then practice in downtown Tampa Bay. Look at the speed limit signs and remember the speed limits start or end at the sign. That means, if you’re going from a 45mph zone to a 35mph zone and you see the corresponding sign ahead, that means you must be doing 35mph or less by the time you get to that sign. Also vice versa is true; if you’re in a 35mph zone and you see a 45mph sign ahead, that speed doesn’t start until that sign. Do not accelerate up to the increased speed limit sign, as you’ll get dinged for speeding which in many States is an automatic failure. I encourage you to go within 5mph of the speed limit without speeding. Example being if the speed limit is 45mph then you should be doing somewhere between 40mph and 45mph.

Remember, speed limits change in many different areas including school zones, residential areas, business districts, and on highways and freeways. Also, watch out for advisory speed limit signs on sharp turns and corners, and other places like roundabouts where the advisory speed limit sign is typically 15mph. Biggest advice is to learn how to acclimate to changing speed limits smoothly and steadily throughout your driver’s test.

2 – Running a Red Light

Running a red light on the driver’s skills test is an automatic failure and is the second most common automatic fail. I saw this quite often when people would be approaching stale green lights meaning lights that have been green for a long time. This was notoriously the case for 16- and 17-year old’s that would speed up at a stale green light and it suddenly changes. They then wouldn’t be sure whether to stop or continue which typically ended in them moving their foot from the gas to the brake then back to the gas while running the obvious red light.

This situation is very preventable simply by approaching a stale green light with caution. If that light has been green for a long time, then you know it may change on you. Start slowing down and if it turns to yellow bring the vehicle to a stop; or, if it stays green continue through the light. It’s as simple as that!

1 – Failure to Yield While Turning Left or Right

The number one cause of automatic fails on applicants driving test is failing to yield to oncoming traffic. Remember, when making a left hand turn you must yield to oncoming traffic making sure there is a nice “space cushion” so you can complete the turn without cutting anybody off. This is common when people get into a hurry and try to “shoot the gap” thereby cutting off an oncoming vehicle which is an auto-fail. Practice numerous left-hand turns making sure you are confident in determining big enough gaps in traffic, and where you should be looking when yielding to oncoming traffic. Familiarize yourself with the right of way laws in your State.

Right hand turns can be equally as dangerous as people don’t pay attention to oncoming vehicles while turning right. Remember if you are turning right you need to yield to drivers approaching the intersection or in the intersection as well as pedestrians crossing the road. To prevent this potential auto-fail make numerous right turns in a variety of situations practicing as much as possible.

For all the tips and tricks to pass your driving test the first time take the nationally recognized online training titled, “How to Pass Your Driving Test” at