New data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has revealed the most common reasons for people to fail their driving tests.

According to the government-run agency, which is responsible for driver licensing and the MoT test, the top reason for failing a driving test is failing to look out for other road users properly at junctions. That’s followed by use of mirrors and control of the car through the steering wheel.

Intriguingly, despite the introduction of a new driving test at the end of 2017, those three causes of test failures have remained unchanged every year since 2013/14, and the top reason has remained the same since 2006/07. Other reasons for failure have chopped and changed over the years, though, with reversing control and reverse parking failures sneaking into the top three during the late 2000s, while turning right at junctions has also proved problematic for many learners.

Teenage girl taking driving lesson

However, the DVSA says the reasons for failing the test are closely linked with the reasons for many accidents seen on UK roads. Government figures suggest 39 percent of all accidents in Great Britain during 2017 were caused - at least to some extent - by drivers failing to look properly. That’s almost 40,000 crashes.

As a result of the figures, the DVSA has issued test candidates with advice to help them avoid these common faults. Firstly, the agency suggests looking all around before emerging from a junction, and not crossing or joining a road until there is a gap large enough for you to do so safely, as well as using mirrors frequently so that you always know what is behind and to each side of you, and using them in good time before you signal or change direction or speed. Finally, the agency also recommends making sure you maintain a steady course and position the vehicle correctly in the road.

Learner driver with instructor taking lessons

Mark Winn, the DVSA’s chief driving examiner, said it was important that drivers learned good observation before they take their tests.

“It’s vital that learners can drive safely and have the skills to drive on all types of roads before taking their test,” he said. “The driving test helps get drivers ready for a lifetime of safe driving and makes our roads safer for all. Failing to look properly at junctions is the most common serious or dangerous test fault and the largest cause of accidents in Britain. Good observation, including proper use of mirrors, is a crucial skill that drivers must learn.”