Driving instructors

I’m an Irish driving instructor, here’s why people fail their exams – sometimes it’s just bad luck

An Irish driving instructor has revealed the most common reasons why people can fail their driving test.

Wexford instructor Dane Tyghe said the reasons vary from learners not being fully prepared for small mistakes like running a stop sign which can cause you to fail your test.


Wexford instructor Dane Tyghe shared the reasons people fail their driving testsCredit: Facebook
Dane says a lot of people fail because they haven't fully prepared for the test (stock image)


Dane says a lot of people fail because they haven’t fully prepared for the test (stock image)Credit: Alamy

Dane became a driving instructor in 2008, but now mainly focuses on posting YouTube videos to help people learn to drive.

His Youtube channel already has more than 50,000 subscribers.

But he is still a fully qualified ADI instructor and does a few lessons a week to keep up with the driving test.

And when he talks about why people usually fail their test, he says it has to do with preparations first.

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He said that in his experience there are about three categories of learner drivers.

Dane told the Irish Sun: “There’s a category of people who are probably not the worst drivers, they’re kind of in between.

“They are able to drive but they don’t give themselves enough time and experience.

“Now it might not all be their fault because of the challenges associated with driving, but people who rush into the test when they’re not ready, maybe they don’t have not taken the right number of lessons.”

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He added: ‘I hear people over email and even a few of my own clients talking about the six month rule and saying ‘I got my license in June now which means December I can do my test.

“And I guess technically they can, but my idea would be to try and build up your knowledge and experience of the road before you start worrying about a test.”

The second category of learner drivers are those who are “good enough” but focus too much on test runs during practice.

Dane says these learners are very narrow-eyed, and because of this, are likely to be agitated during the test if they find themselves on an unfamiliar road.

He said: “That’s why I have a little saying called ‘Drive safe for life, not just for the test drive’.

“So when I’m teaching someone to drive, I have a checklist based on how to be a good driver, not how to pass the test.


“In a nutshell, if you’re a good experienced driver and have good experience on different types of roads, you’ll probably be less nervous if you find yourself on an unfamiliar path during your driving test.”

And according to Dane, the third category would be those who are very good drivers but who are just unlucky on the day of the event.

The instructor urges these learners to simply rebook their test as soon as possible and they will “get it next time”.

As for specific mistakes, Dane says a lot of people are marked for approaching speed bumps too quickly and driving them too hard.

He explained: “I just find that when people get close to the speed bumps, they either slow down too quickly or they don’t slow down enough and they go over the ramps a little too hard.


“You have to look and plan ahead, so do the ramps look a little big, are they in the middle of the road, are you able to straddle the left?”

Dane says another area where people get flagged is turning right at traffic lights.

According to the rules of the road, you must stop at the line before the traffic light if it is red.

But if the light turns completely green, you must drive to the middle of the junction or box and wait for a safe space to turn right.

Dane said: “But even if the light turns orange and red, you can’t get stuck in the middle of the junction.

“A lot of people are terrified of breaking the red light. You don’t actually break the red light because what color was the light when you drove through the middle? It was green, so you just finish the turn that you started at the green light.”


A simple mistake that many learner drivers make concerns their positioning on the road.

Dane says you need to stay left of center most of the time and plan ahead by looking further ahead.

But if the road is very narrow, you should stay more central.

He added: “Positioning errors happen, it’s normal, but it can be because people don’t diagnose the road in front of them and understand that there are different types of positioning.”


And Dane also pointed out that in terms of sightings, it’s almost never about looking in mirrors.

He explained that many people get noticed for not previewing the route.

The instructor told us: “Observation is more about moving your head than your eyes, and by that I mean looking left and right at a T-junction and previewing the roundabout as you approach it.

“So when you come to a roundabout you don’t just start looking to the right when you’re right at the line.

“You have to start looking to the right about 20 to 40 yards from the line.”

And he added that observations when changing lanes are also extremely important.

Dane says that while you should also glance over your shoulder after doing mirror checks, it’s important to look JUST and not take too long not to look ahead.


According to him, many people also fail their tests due to dangers.

He explained: “Sometimes the tester will give you a hazard rating if they’re having trouble finding a category to put it in, like parked cars or roadworks.

“It’s a big one because it covers such a wide area.

“And again, it all comes down to not reading the road ahead and not planning ahead. It could be down to a lack of confidence or a lack of experience.”


It is also extremely important that learner drivers fully prepare for reversing, turning and turning.

Dane, who is based in the town of Wexford, says it’s about planning the reverse as all the corners are different, with some sharper than others.

He said: “The tester will ask you to park before the bend so you have a chance to observe it as you drive past it.

“And when it comes to reverse and U-turn, there’s one skill that’s absolutely and utterly essential, and that’s clutch control.

“Doing the reverse and the U-turn slowly is so important because it gives you time to analyze and reflect.

“If you accidentally go too fast, that’s where other mistakes creep in like shadowing or maybe cutting the pavement.”


Finally, running a stop sign during your driving test is a huge hassle because depending on the circumstances, it can mean instant failure.

Drivers should come to a complete stop at the sign or line, even if the junction is quiet and they can see that there is no oncoming traffic.

And Dane says if there are no signs and the line on the road is very worn, it is better to stop completely.

He explained that if it’s a stop line and you come to a complete stop, that will be the right thing to do.

But if it’s a sign of performance, you can be flagged on progress, which is better than failing your test for running a stop line.

Other minor faults with drivers include clutch sluggishness and not progressing through gears quickly enough.

Dane says increasing speeds is vital these days as reviewers will pay attention to eco-driving.

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He explained: “That means driving in an economical way, not letting the engine get too loud, breaking down gradually, less emissions, not revving the car too hard, taking care of it and having it serviced regularly.

“If you can show the tester that you’re a good eco-driver, that will reflect back on you as well.”