Avoid these 10 critical errors that can fail you on your DMV drivers exam.

Your DMV driver’s exam may be coming up. It’s normal to feel a bit nervous. Student drivers taking their exams for the first time may not know what to expect. We often get asked how the point system on the DMV exam works. Basically, you’re allowed 15 or less small errors.

A small error can be not looking at a specific mirror or making a jerky stop.

This is during a 20-minute exam.

However, almost 90% of student drivers fail their driver examination due to one single critical error.

Below is a list of some of the most common critical errors made on DMV examinations.

There are too many critical errors to list them all. Listed below are the big mistakes we most commonly see.


1. Improper Speed

Probably one of the most common critical errors on the DMV exam.

Improper speed can mean going too fast or slow while driving. Usually, a DMV examiner is watching the road instead of the speedometer gauge. However, they are trained to be able to feel if a vehicle is speeding or going too slow. Usually, you’ll fail the exam if you go 10 mph over or under the speed limit.

2. Improper Stop

The second most common critical error is making an improper stop on the limit line. The limit line is usually the first white line that comes before a stop sign or red light.

The big mistake that most student drivers make is to stop in the actual crosswalk where pedestrians walk. Even if there are no pedestrians and you stop in the crosswalk, an examiner can fail you. You are required to come to a complete stop behind the limit line.

3. Hitting the Curb.

Striking any object is an automatic fail on the DMV drivers exam. This most commonly happens to student drivers when parking along the curb. However, this also often can happen when a driver is entering a driveway. Also, watch out as you’re driving in the DMV parking lot. It can be easy to slightly graze your rear tire along a curb as your turning in tight crowded parking lots.

4. Failing to yield to Pedestrians.

In real-world driving, many drivers fail to yield to pedestrians. Some drivers will take a turn as soon as the pedestrian crosses their path. Be sure to allow the pedestrian to reach the opposite end of the crosswalk and onto the curb. Sometimes, there are raised curbs where a pedestrian can stand in the middle of a crosswalk. In these cases, you may allow the pedestrian to walk only halfway.

5. Turning right on a red light as vehicles are turning left.

Failing to yield to left turners is a common error when turning right against a red light.

Why do the left turners have the right of way instead of the vehicle turning right at a red light? Because the vehicle turning right is on a red light and the left turners are on a green arrow light. If you fail to give these left turners the right of way it counts as a critical error.

6. Cutting off another vehicle.

This is one of the most common critical errors on the DMV exam. Cutting off a vehicle is when the examiner believes you got too close to another vehicle..

This most often happens when changing lanes, turning from a small street onto a major street, making a right on a right light, or a left on a green light.

Be sure to have enough room always where you never get dangerously close to vehicles.

7. Stopping in an Intersection for no reason.

Sometimes, a student driver approaches a busy intersection and begins to slow down or even stop. This could be so they make sure there are no pedestrians or vehicles.

However, make sure you don’t stop for no reason. This could not only slow down traffic behind you but actually cause an accident. So stopping for no reason, therefore, is a critical error.

8. Improper use of the Center Left Turn Lane.

The left turn lane, usually located in the middle of a multi-lane busy street, is used to make left turns or U-turns. Sometimes, an examiner will ask a student driver to make a left turn.

If a student doesn’t enter this lane before turning left they will be disqualified. Also, you must check your left blind spot over your shoulder before entering this lane.

9. Unnecessary stop- Right on a Greenlight

It’s common for student drivers to stop for no reason when turning right at a green light.

This could be to check for pedestrians or because a vehicle is turning left across the intersection. Be sure to check for pedestrians beforehand so that way when you approach the light, you’re ready to make the turn. Stopping for no reason just to check the situation can fail you because you would be dangerously slowing down traffic behind you.

10. Failing to yield to oncoming traffic. (left on green)

Be sure to know where vehicles may be approaching at all times. We’ve seen some drivers attempt to turn left on a circular green light, without considering oncoming traffic approaching in front of them.

Be sure to look for oncoming traffic when turning left at a green light. Also, be sure to make a good safe decision when turning against oncoming traffic. You should be good at judging the speed of oncoming vehicles. If you fail to yield to oncoming traffic or get dangerously close to oncoming vehicles as you turn left, you’ll be disqualified.

Want help passing your DMV driver’s test the first time? Go with a professional to your DMV exam. Check out our DMV Exam Course. 

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