Failing a driving test is one of those experiences you never forget. Getting to the end of the test only to hear the examiner utter the dreaded words: “I’m sorry but you haven’t passed”. You’re handed a copy of your test report (DL25) showing the faults recorded that will help you understand where you went wrong. What you may not know is that the information on your sheet is added to a huge database by the DVSA of all faults recorded on all tests. Training Mentor contacted DVSA to ask them to provide us with the Top 10 reasons for HGV driving test fails. We were kindly provided with the statistics for all C & CE tests between 1st October 2017 and 30 September 2018.
In this article we count down these problem areas, explain a bit more about how they are caused and provide the vital statistic – how many tests were actually failed for each type of fault.
10. Response to signs and signals – traffic signs (1662 fails)
We start our countdown with tests failed for responses to traffic signs – 1662 people failed HGV tests in the 12 month period for this reason. Common examples of this type of test fail include missing restriction signs such as weight limits and height restrictions. Remember, if the route ahead is restricted for your vehicle, the examiner is not required to direct you to adjust your route. As a professional driver, you must always pay close attention to road signs.
9. Judgement – meeting (1693 fails)
At number 9 we have ‘meeting’ related test fails. Quite simply, this refers to situations where the driver has failed to demonstrate suitable competence when meeting an oncoming vehicle. Often, this type of fault occurs on narrow roads where there is limited space due to the size of the lorry. Always remember the width of your vehicle including the mirrors. If your offside tyres are on the centre line, your mirrors are on the wrong side of the road. Another common example of this fault is when passing parked vehicles. Highway Code rule 163 states:
Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should give way to oncoming vehicles before passing parked vehicles or other obstructions on your side of the road
If you cause an oncoming vehicle to slow or stop unnecessarily, you could fall victim of this type of fault too.
=7 Awareness / Planning (2040 fails)
In joint 7th place with 2040 fails we have ‘awareness and planning’ faults. Mistakes with awareness include not paying close enough attention to vulnerable road users and failing to ensure your vehicle has passed safely through hazards. Planning faults are caused by drivers failing to effectively judge the potential actions of other road users. All drivers should plan well ahead, but when driving a large, heavy vehicle like a lorry this is even more important.
=7 Junctions – turning right (2040 fails)
With an equal number of tests fails to our last entry, mistakes committed while turning right at junctions are at number 7 in our Top 10. Often, faults of this type are simply caused by poor positioning of the vehicle at the junction. Always take into account the length and width of the truck: you may need to straddle lanes to ensure you and other road users are safe.
6 Response to signs and signals – traffic lights (2205 fails)
When driving a heavy vehicle, don’t forget that your stopping distance is much greater than when driving a smaller vehicle. Subsequently, you should anticipate the potential for green traffic lights to change as you approach them. Ease off the accelerator and cover the brake pedal, or you may find yourself running through a red light or stopping past the stop line. Mistakes like this were responsible for 2205 HGV driving test fails in the 12 month period.