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Serious errors during the drive test


Important: From 9 November 2009, new road rules apply in Victoria. For more information see Victoria’s road rules here

The Drive Test is designed to assess your ability to drive safely. It’s possible to fail the Drive Test if you make a serious error that does or could create an unsafe situation. There are two penalties for serious errors: Immediate Termination and Critical Error.
Immediate termination
Your test will be stopped and you will fail immediately if you do something that puts yourself or other road users at risk. This will happen if you:

Critical error
If you have too many critical errors you will fail.  This penalty is given if you do something that could create an unsafe situation but is not an immediate danger during the test.  A Critical Error will be recorded if you:

  • drive too slow for the conditions
  • fail to look or signal but no evasive action is required from other road users
  • block a pedestrian crossing but no pedestrians are affected
  • allow one wheel of your car to mount the kerb when parking or leaving a parking space
  • stall your car
  • slow and pause but do not stop your car completely at a stop sign but other road users or pedestrians are not endangered
  • do something else that is potentially unsafe but that does not result in an immediate risk of collision or injury.

More about serious errors


Collision 
Crashing into another vehicle or road user (eg. pedestrian or bicyclist) will immediately end your test and you will fail.  Even a small collision is a sign that you need to develop more safety-related skills before driving on your own.


Mounting the kerb
Hitting or running into the kerb or footpath is a serious safety issue. It puts pedestrians and other road users at risk and is a sign that you do not have safe control of the car. This will immediately end your test and you will fail. This penalty is less severe if you hit the kerb gently while performing a reverse-park. This error is a potential safety problem. It suggests you need more practice with this manoeuvre, but it usually doesn’t place anyone in immediate danger.


Speeding

Driving too fast for the conditions and exceeding the speed limit causes crashes. Speed related crashes are a big problem for young drivers. The speed limit is the maximum safe speed at which you should drive. If you exceed the speed limit by more than 5 km/h during your test drive the test will be stopped and you will fail. This is regarded as a serious error because it creates an unsafe situation.

It is also a serious error to exceed the speed limit by any amount. Exceeding the speed limit by even a small amount may result in a penalty.

If the traffic is very busy and moving at a speed slower than the speed limit, you should choose an appropriate speed to fit into the traffic flow.  However you may be penalised if you drive too slowly for the conditions during the test because you are meant to be driving in normal, day-to-day driving conditions.


Failing to Give Way, Look, or Signal

Other drivers should not have to avoid a collision because of something you have done while driving.  It is your responsibility to choose a safe gap when you are entering traffic, turning at an inter-section, changing lanes, or merging.

If you fail to give way to another road user and they have to avoid a collision with you, the test will be terminated and you will fail. This is a serious, safety-related error.

Entering traffic, turning, or changing lanes without looking or signalling is obviously dangerous. Even if there are no other cars around, this type of behaviour increases the risk of a collision. For this reason it is treated as a serious error and you may fail the test if you don’t look or signal when required.


Stopping the Car

When you stop the car – either to park or at an intersection – you must stop in a safe position.  This means that your car should not be in a position where other road users have to change their behaviour to avoid you.

You will fail the test if other drivers or road users do have to avoid your car, and you may fail if you stop in a location where other drivers or road users might have to avoid you.


Stop Signs and Traffic Lights

It is not unusual for licence applicants to fail the on-road test because they go through a Stop sign or traffic light without stopping. This is very unsafe behaviour. You are required to STOP at a Stop sign or red traffic signal.

If you do not stop at a red traffic signal or red arrow that applies to you, the test will be terminated and you will fail. This is extremely risky behaviour.

If you drive through a Stop sign the test will be terminated and you will fail.

Some experienced drivers do the wrong thing by slowing down at a Stop sign to observe for hazards without actually stopping the wheels of the car completely.  This is illegal and may not be safe – you will be penalised if you do this in the test. You will have a Critical Error recorded and may end up failing the test even if there were no potential hazards nearby. If you create an unsafe situation by doing this, the test will be terminated and you will fail.  You must Stop at a Stop sign.


Any Other Unsafe Situations

The licence testing officer is able to terminate the test if you do anything that creates an unsafe situation. The licence testing officer is able to terminate the test to prevent an unsafe situation occurring. You are being assessed on your ability to drive safely so you, your passengers, and any other road users are not put at risk. If you do something that creates an unsafe situation, this is a sign that you are not ready to drive on your own.

If someone else does something that creates an unsafe situation, you will not be penalised as long as you detect the problem and react safely.


Any Other Illegal Actions
There are many road rules and you are expected to know them all and obey them – during the test and whenever you are driving.

If you disobey a road rule but it doesn’t put you or other road users (or property) at risk, a Critical Error will be recorded and you may end up failing the test. So it pays to be careful about obeying the rules.

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