Michael Cerussi: Top 10 Reasons Why Students Fail Their Driver’s License Test

According to driver’s education teacher Michael Cerussi, there are ten primary reasons why students fail their driver’s license test. People fail their test for reasons ranging from nervousness to simply not studying. The good news is that with some simple planning you can pass your test with a minimum of anxiety about failing. “Passing a driver’s test is a rite of passage for most teens,” Cerussi said recently. “And there’s not reason to fear failure with some simple preparation.” Here are the top 10 reasons why students fail and solutions to make sure you pass.

Observe the Road Ahead at All Times. Many drivers’ education students end up failing their driver’s license test because they simply do not keep their eyes on the road. A failure to look both ways at intersections, to notice traffic signs or observe upcoming road hazards like construction zones can cause the first-time driver to fail their driver’s license exam. Be sure to look ahead of where you are driving at all times. Try not to become distracted by the clock, the radio, or the educator running the test in the passenger’s seat, since these are all sure fire ways to fail the test. It is also extremely important to take time to look both ways before proceeding through a stop sign and before making any turns.

Maintain a Safe Speed. While it may seem obvious, many students who are taking their driver’s license test become nervous and forget to monitor their speed at all times. It is especially important to remember to go slow through school zones and to slow down appropriately before making a turn or coming to a stop sign or stoplight. You can fail the driving test if you are going the speed limit until just before the red light and then slam on the brakes. Another error to watch for is driving an appropriate speed for the weather conditions. Even if the speed limit says 35 and it’s raining, icy, or snowy then you need to slow down to avoid failing your driver’s license exam.

Know How to Operate the Vehicle. Before getting into the car to take the driver’s license exam it is important to know how to operate the vehicle. Make sure to adjust the mirrors, operate the parking break, turn on the lights if necessary, and know how to use the manual shifter and clutch if the car isn’t an automatic. You may fail your test if you park on a hill and forget the engage the parking brake. It is important to spend time driving a manual car, or stick shift, if that is what you will be driving for the driver’s license test. Take time to make sure everything is adjusted appropriately and be sure that you know where things like the turn signals and windshield wiper controls are before you put the car in drive.

Reverse Safely. In the opinion of Michael Cerussi, many of his students fail their driver’s license test because they do not reverse in a safe manner. “Many students forget to check all of their mirrors or forget to turn their head to check their blind spot before backing up. This can lead to an automatic failure of the driver’s license test since it is unsafe to reverse the vehicle without looking in all directions first.”

Use Your Turn Signals. It is important to remember to use your turn signals as well as to look both directions before making a turn. Other mistakes that students often make while taking their exam is to not check their blind spot or if they forget to use their turn signal when changing lanes. Also be sure to get into the correct turn lane and to slow down appropriately when turning.

Practice Parking. Another way that students get into trouble with their driver’s license test is when parking. This is especially true of parallel parking. Practice makes perfect so make sure that you are well-versed in parallel parking in case you are asked to do it during your driver’s license test.

Don’t Get Into an Accident. While obvious, it is important to drive extremely carefully during your driver’s license exam. If you are at fault for an automobile accident during your test it is an automatic fail.

Yield and Stop Appropriately. Know what a yield sign means and make sure that you slow down enough to come to a stop if there is another vehicle coming. Also, many students fail their driver’s license test because they don’t stop for long enough. When coming to a stop sign, be sure to come to a complete stop before you look both ways and then proceed appropriately. Also, be sure to know who has right of way at a 4-way stop. If you’re not sure who came to the stop sign first, wave the other driver through rather than proceeding.

Watch for One Way Streets. The traffic laws on one-way streets are different so make sure you’re paying attention if you are taking your test in a downtown area with lots of one-ways. If you turn onto a one-way street going the wrong direction it is an automatic fail.

Keep Your Cool. Many people end up failing their driver’s license test simply because they get nervous and make a silly mistake. Take some time to breathe before you put the car into drive and try not to indulge in excess caffeine or sugar that might rattle your nerves. Remember, even if you do fail the first time you can take the test again so it is not the end of the world. If you go into the test well prepared and with a calm attitude you will do great.



Michael Cerussi, drivers’ education teacher in Denver, CO encourages his students to get plenty of driving time in before taking their driver’s license test. Mr. Cerussi has helped thousands of drivers from sixteen to sixty-five past their driver’s license and would love to help you too. Cerussi takes pride in keeping the roads safe by educating new drivers about the rules of the road.

Michael Cerussi: Top 10 Reasons Why Students Fail Their Driver’s License Test by
Greg Ivy
More Posts By Greg Ivy
Posted: Fri, Mar 29th, 2013

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