surprised driver facing out their window

Preparing for the driver's license road test is both exciting and intimidating. You can comfort yourself with the knowledge that the test can be retaken if you don't pass the first time. Although, most eager drivers-to-be want to get it right the first time around. Luckily, there are ways you can prepare yourself before you get behind the wheel on test day. An important part of preparation is being aware of the most frequent mistakes. That way you can avoid those errors. Let's consider some common reasons why people fail their DMV road tests:

Driving Too Slow

Yes, you read that right: driving too slow can cause you to fail your road test. We're all aware of the dangers of speeding, but what about driving way under the speed limit? As it turns out, excessively slow driving can also be dangerous-- both for you and for other drivers on the road. So, remember: driving too slow doesn't make you an extra cautious driver; it makes you a potentially dangerous one.

Not Being Mindful of Road Conditions

So, we know that driving either too fast or too slow can result in a failed road test, but what about driving the speed limit? Of course, most of the time, sticking to the speed limit is a wise idea. But, there are certain scenarios when driving the speed limit isn't safe. Some examples are driving during heavy traffic or driving while roads are slick from rain or snow. So, use your best judgment. If it doesn't feel safe to drive the speed limit, trust your instincts. Prove to your examiner that you're paying attention to road conditions.

Forgetting About Your Mirrors

Don't forget your rear-view and side mirrors are there for a reason. Neglecting to check them when you're backing up or changing lanes can be a dangerous mistake. But you should also remember to check them periodically while driving-- particularly during your road test. Even if you're not changing lanes, being aware of where other cars are in relation to you is a wise defensive driving technique.

Aggressive Braking

Unless there's an emergency situation where you have to stop unexpectedly, braking should be a gradual process. When slowing down or coming to a complete stop, start by decelerating and then gently applying the brakes.

Merging Mistakes

Merging onto highways can be a nerve-racking experience for new drivers. While you might not encounter this scenario during your road test, it's important to prepare in case you do. Remember: the goal of merging is to enter the highway safely and at an appropriate speed. A common mistake-- and one that could result in a failed road test-- is to stop at the end of the ramp.

Intersection Errors

Another common error that novice drivers make is to change lanes while passing through an intersection. It doesn't matter if you need to make a turn immediately after the intersection; there is never an acceptable reason to switch lanes in the middle of an intersection. If you can't safely change lanes after passing through the intersection, it's best to pass the necessary turn and then U-turn when appropriate or choose an alternate route to your destination.

Being Overly Distracted

While it's one of the most common problems on the road today-- and one of the major causes of accidents, including fatal ones-- people still make the mistake of driving while distracted every single day. Although it should go without saying during a road test, make sure that you avoid talking on your cell phone, text messaging, or flipping through radio stations while driving. Your focus should be solely on the task at hand: demonstrating to your examiner that you are a competent, capable, and safe driver.