At number 7 for the DVSA‘s top 10 reasons for driving test fails is number 7; poor road positioning during normal driving. During the practical driving test, the examiner will expect you to:
- Correctly position the car for your intended route
- Position the car in the middle of marked lanes
- Only change lanes when it’s necessary to do so
Any faults made in this category during the test will be marked under the ‘Positioning – Normal driving’ section of the driving test report. You can gain up to 15 (minor) faults during a driving test and still pass. However, if you accumulate too many faults under the same category, you can still fail. Any serious or dangerous faults result in a test failure.
Not Driving in the Centre of Your Lane
These driving test faults occur when the test candidate drives either too close to the kerb, or too close to the centre of the road. Driving too close to the kerb risks hitting it, or mounting the pavement, putting pedestrians at risk and driving too close to the centre of the road puts oncoming drivers at risk.
Failing a driving test in this situation would require repeatedly making the same faults, or where a single incident was deemed serious or dangerous.
Poor road positioning is common for new drivers, but as you reach test standard, the examiner will expect a consistently good and safe level of road positioning. When starting out learning to drive, it’s often helpful to use reference points; areas where for example, the kerb or centre line of the road line up on your car’s dashboard. Establish a good road position and mark these areas with a small sticker inside your car.
Unnecessarily Driving in the Right-hand Lane on a Dual Carriageway
If a dual carriageway is within an acceptable distance of the test centre, examiners will often include a short period of dual carriageway driving on the test. This fault occurs when the test candidate unnecessarily drives in the right-hand lane of a dual carriageway.
The right-hand lane of a dual carriageway should only be used for overtaking, or if a change of direction is required (for example, you’re approaching a roundabout and need to turn right). If neither of these circumstances apply, simply remain in the left lane until you exit the dual carriageway.
If you do need to overtake a slow moving vehicle, once passed, check your mirrors, the left blind spot, signal to the left and move back over into the left lane as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Poor Road Positioning at Roundabouts
For this particular road positioning fault, it involves the test candidate following the road ahead at an unmarked roundabout. An unmarked roundabout means there are no road markings and instead of following the curve of the roundabout, the test candidate drives in a straight line, meaning they cut across the normal driving line.
Some roundabouts in quieter locations may not have road markings, but it’s still important to position your car in such a way as though there are road markings. If you are driving on any unmarked roads of junctions, try to imagine in your mind where the road markings would be (junction give way lines and road centre lines) and follow them to the best of your ability.