Automatic fails in a driving test

If you are thinking of applying for your driver’s license, but you are afraid of what might happen when driving with an examiner next to you, don’t worry, it is totally normal, since the automatic fails in a driving test usually generate a lot of stress.

This is because any critical mistake can be the cause of instant suspension from the driving test, but relax and take it easy. In this article we will tell you which are the automatic fails that will leave you out of the test and, therefore, without your driver’s license.

What are the automatic fails?

Automatic fails are mistakes made during the driving test required by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Depending on each state, people who want to obtain a driver’s license must go through the graduated licensing programs, like in California, for instance.

It is imperative that, in order to learn to drive, you learn to drive with an experienced adult behind the wheel and, of course, with his or her license.

However, this will not prevent you from making mistakes during the driving test, therefore, we recommend that you continue reading this article to learn what are the automatic failures.

Which are the automatic fails in a driving test?

Before starting with the list of automatic fails, you should keep in mind that the ones mentioned below are examples of mistakes made by people who could not get their license due to these infractions.

From we recommend you to go to the driving test focused on what you should do. If you know how to drive a vehicle correctly, you can safely demonstrate it to the examiner, you just have to rely on your memory, which will be your greatest ally for this moment, and will prevent you from making automatic mistakes.

Not understanding the vehicle from the beginning

Many people often draw a blank when getting into the vehicle with the DMV examiner, who will check if you understand the general use of the car, which includes actions such as turning on the lights, putting on your seat belt, understanding traffic signs and other basic driving movements.

Not looking around when maneuvering

If you do not look in the rearview mirrors when backing up, backing out of a parking space or making any maneuver, you will be sanctioned, as this is one of the main procedures that must be followed for the safety not only of the driver, but also of potential drivers who could be harmed by not looking around you.

It is essential that you show that you are attentive and alert to any movement happening around you, in order to drive freely and without causing an accident.

Which are the automatic fails in a driving test?

Avoiding traffic signs

In the exam, you will have to pass through different traffic signs, such as the stop sign. If you go through this sign, and do not stop the car, it will be a good reason for the examiner to disapprove you for this serious mistake.

So, if you see a red sign, stop immediately (but not abruptly), look to the sides, check that you have a clear passage, and continue driving smoothly.


Among the automatic fails that will keep you out of the exam are the mistakes you make on the test track, going over the double line and continuing to drive.

If you make this mistake, to the examiner it will mean that you are not following the safety protocols you should have studied to take the test.

Demonstrations of lack of safety

Inappropriate driving at specific places and times is a sign of a failure. For example, if you drive inappropriately in a school zone and do not slow down, or if you drive over railroads, through places where you are not allowed to go, or increase your speed, you could face a fine.

Which are the automatic fails in a driving test?

If you engage in improper driving, it will be a demonstration of a lack of safety and you will subsequently have to return home without your license.

Causing an accident

You must demonstrate that you are in control of the vehicle and that you can drive without causing an accident. If you fail to demonstrate this, you could be involved in an accident not only with another car, but also with a pedestrian or a building, poles, etc.

It is clear that, if you commit an accident, the examiner will immediately disapprove of you, as he/she will understand that you are not able to control the vehicle properly, and that you do not know (or have not complied with) the basic rules of road safety.

Unsafe conditions

If the DMV examiner identifies unsafe driving conditions, you will be disqualified. These automatic fails may be due to violations such as:

  • Not putting on your seat belt as soon as you get in the car.
  • Using your cell phone while driving.
  • Not using headlights.

These are the top three automatic fails that can leave you out of the program to get your driver’s license, as it is a demonstration of irresponsibility behind the wheel.


Speeding is one of the biggest driving offenses, whether on the road or on the driving test. When driving with the examiner, you must obey every traffic sign you come across.

If you speed over the posted speed limit, you can go home without your driver’s license.

Not knowing how to interpret traffic conditions

All of these automatic fails apply not only to the driving test, but more than anything else when driving on real roads, so you should always be aware of the conditions and situations around you.

This is where driver awareness comes into play, as you must be alert to changing lights, traffic, crosswalks, traffic signs, stops, potential hazards on a road, exceeding the speed limit, failure to yield, etc.

Aggressive driving

Driving can be very stressful, either because of traffic or weather conditions. If you show the examiner that you are angry at not being able to move forward on a busy road, or if you cannot keep your cool and control your anger or rage, the examiner will notice and fail the test.

Which are the automatic fails in a driving test?

This is because, thanks to the driver’s bad temper, accidents can happen. Be calm and remain calm at all times, do not despair.

Frequently asked questions

How many automatic failures can I make in the driving test?

There is no set number of automatic failures that will leave you without your driver’s license, as it varies from state to state. For the most part, it follows three parts:

  • Pre-driving check.
  • At the time of driving.
  • Critical errors.

The examiner will be merciful if you make a couple of mistakes in any of these moments, as it is logical that nerves play a trick on you, and even more so if it is the first time you take the test.

As we said, it’s okay if you miss a detail, but the critical mistakes are the ones that will send you back home without your driver’s license.

RECOMMENDATION: Practice with a responsible and licensed, of course, adult. Read driving manuals to avoid various automatic fails. You can even sign up to take a driver’s education course to improve your driving skills.