How Many Times Can You Fail a Driving Test?

Wonder how many times you can fail your driving test before you are disqualified? Here's what you need to know about failing the driving test in various US states

Driving Test

If you are due to take your driving test, you might feel nervous and apprehensive. After all, there’s no guarantee you will pass, especially if the instructor is difficult to work with. So, how many times can you fail a driving test and still get your license?

In this article, we will look at the testing limits of some of the country’s largest states. We will also give you some tips that should help you pass the driving test. 

Number of Times You Can Fail a Driving Test by State

The number of times you can fail a driving test varies depending on the state you are in. However, the majority of the states will allow you to test three times before you need to reapply for the permit. There are exceptions to that, which is why you should check your state’s laws before taking the driving test. 

This is not legal advice, and you should always double-check the rules with the authorities in your state. Here are the numbers of times you can fail a driving test by state:

1. California

In California, you can take your driving test three times before you need to fill out the driver’s license application again. You will also pay $7 for each retest. 

If you are under 18 when you fail the driving test, you need to wait two weeks to take it again. You won’t be allowed to schedule until that two weeks is over. 

2. Texas

Texas also allows drivers to fail three times before reapplying. However, you only pay one fee to test up to three times. 

Your two retests must occur within 90 days of the first test. Plus, you can reschedule your retest immediately following the failure. 

3. Florida

You can take your test five times in Florida before you need to reapply for a learner’s permit. However, expect to pay $20 for a skills retest. 

You won’t be able to schedule your retest at the failure. Instead, you must wait 24 hours to reschedule. 

4. New York

In New York, you get two complimentary driving tests with your initial application fee. If you fail both of these, you must pay $10 for two more. 

You can continue taking the road test until you pass. However, you can’t take the driving test once your learner’s permit expires. At this point, you would need to reapply. 

5. Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, you get three chances to pass the driving test. After that, you need to renew the learner’s permit.

Thankfully, there are no additional fees for retesting. If you are younger than 18 when you fail, you must wait seven days before you can retest. If you are an adult, you can retest as early as the next day. 

RELATED: 10 Car Driving Tips For Beginners (Driving License Tips)

Common Driving Test Mistakes That Create Automatic Fail

1. Car Failure

Before you even hit the road with the instructor, your car is going to be inspected. Your vehicle must comply with local safety laws or the instructor will not go out with you for the test. 

You want to ensure the windshield isn’t cracked and that the seat belts work. Additionally, all of the exterior lighting must be operable. Try out your lights and windshield wipers before you go for the test. The instructor may also check the horn. 

For good measure, clean out the vehicle to ensure it’s not cluttered or dirty. While this might not cause you to fail, a dirty car is going to make the instructor uncomfortable. 

2. Parallel Parking Mistake

If you live in a state that requires parallel parking, you will need to pass this to move on. Mainly, you don’t want to hit any other car or slam into the curb.

Some states will allow you to touch the curb gently, but this should be avoided. In fact, you may be able to pass the exam if you don’t do the best parallel parking job, as long as the vehicle never touches anything else. 

3. Forgetting to Check Mirrors

When you are driving, you need to be able to see clearly from the mirrors and you must use them effectively. During your on-road test, you should use your mirrors, even more so than you would when driving alone. 

You wouldn’t believe how many drivers forget the need to use mirrors. Before backing up, you should check all of the mirrors multiple times. Don’t forget to use the side mirrors when making lane changes and merging. Plus, you want to look back at your blind spot. 

4. Exceeding Speed Limit

Your speed must be heavily monitored if you want to pass the driving test. You should never exceed the posted speed limit, even if other cars are zooming by you. You also want to keep a close eye on the speed limit as it changes in work zones, school areas or for other reasons. 

While you can pass the driving exam traveling at the speed limit, there are times you want to slow down further. If the weather is bad, you might go a little slower. You must be safe when driving in fog or rain. 

However, there’s never a reason to go excessively slow. If you are driving far below the speed limit, the instructor won’t feel you are equipped to handle the road. You must portray confidence by maintaining an appropriate speed. 

5. Improper Lane Changes

Lane changes should come completely natural for you by the time you take your driving exam. You must first signal the lane change and alert other drivers. From here, you want to check the mirrors and scan your blind spot. 

While all of this sounds simple, people forget vital steps when feeling pressured. Walk through the steps in your head over and over every time you need to make a lane change. If you are running through a mental checklist, it becomes harder to overlook the valuable steps. You should also keep a close eye on what traffic is doing in front of you. 

How Many People Fail a Driving Test?

When you fail the driving test, you might feel worthless, thinking that you are alone in this trouble. However, you aren’t the only one failing your driving test. There are plenty of other new drivers facing the same experience.

Some studies found that almost fifty percent of new drivers fail their first driving test. Additionally, there are nearly just as many people failing the written test to get a permit. Looking at these numbers, you see how common it is to have some form of trouble, so be easy with yourself. 

How Many Errors Can Happen Before Failing a Driving Test?

It’s difficult to determine how many mistakes can be made before you will fail the driving test. Each state has different regulations, so you want to carefully read the documentation before heading in for your exam. 

However, it’s important to note that errors are all judged differently. You can make several minor mistakes and not fail the driving test, while one of the major errors listed above could cause you to fail automatically. 

Most immediate failing errors are so dire that your safety would be at risk. If you make one of these mistakes, you are going to fail immediately and be sent back to the office. There are also critical errors that aren’t quite as serious. While they aren’t considered life-threatening, they could still take a good chunk off of your score. If you make too many minor mistakes, you can still fail the driving test. 

Determine what score you need before you head out for the test. This will allow you to determine how you are doing during the test. You should be able to find the information on your local DMV website or in the testing booklet. 

How to Pass a Driving Exam

If you want to pass the driver’s test on the first try, we have a few tips to help you out.

  1. Follow SMOG principles. Signal, mirror, over-shoulder and go with every turn or merging maneuver.
  2. Keep your hands planted at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel. Use hand-over-hand patterns while turning.
  3. Stop at the appropriate place on the roadway.
  4. Watch your speed and maintain it based on conditions.
  5. Maintain an adequate amount of room between you and the other vehicle.
  6. Don’t roll through stops. Make a complete stop and ensure the coast is clear. 

Above all, maintain confidence through the test. Take deep breaths and know that all of your practice will pay off.

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