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Monday, February 23, 2009

What are the automatic fails (auto fails) you can get during your drive test at the DMV?

Nelly's Question: Hello Jonny Driving Skool!! I'm taking my license test next week - what are the things that can make me fail?

Jonny Driving School Hello to you too Nelly! As a friendly warning, please never spell School with a 'k' again. It's disrespectful to the Jonny Driving School family name.

So you want to know how NOT to fail your driving test. That's mighty pessimistic of you, but you are not alone in your pessimism. In fact, I was asked that very same question yesterday by soon to be licensed driver Ryan in Tarzana. And this is the long winded speech I gave him:

There are basically two different ways one can fail their DMV drive test. First of all, you will be disqualified if you make 16 or more minor violations. Examples of minor traffic violations include stopping on the limit-line, signaling too late or not at all, forgetting a traffic check, not making full 3-second stops at stop signs and so on. If you receive 15 or less minor violations you can still pass your test and get your license.

Now it has been my experience that most people who fail their drive test are NOT disqualified for getting 16 minor traffic violations (though it does happen). The majority of those who fail their road test commit a Critical Driving Error (CDE) or what most call an "auto fail". If you commit one CDE you may be failed by your DMV examiner. Examples of CDE's or auto fails are:

• Failing Your Pre-drive Test: If you get three wrong answers on your oral pre-drive test you don't even get to move the car. Of course, this should never happen if you know your hand signals and where your headlights, windshield wipers, hazard lights, front window defroster, and parking brake are.

• Examiner Intervention: What you don't want on your drive-test is any help from the DMV tester. That means they shouldn't ever have to reach for the steering-wheel, tell you to slow down, or give you any other sort of driving advice.

• Dangerous Maneuver: What's a dangerous maneuver you ask? Swerving, taking a turn wicked-fast, cutting off other drivers, impeding another driver's progress and any other number of things that are not safe.

• Disobeying a Sign or Signal: Pretty straightforward: run a red light or blow through a stop-sign and it's pretty safe to say your test is over. Don't break the law and you'll be fine.

• Lane Violation: Drift out of your lane: FAIL. Make a lane change without checking mirrors and over your shoulder: FAIL. You get the point.

• Speed Control: In general, if you exceed the safe speed limit by 10 miles you will fail your test. Depending on the traffic situation, you could also fail for speeding by less than 10 miles per hour. A good rule of thumb for your test is to make sure you stay within 3-4 miles of the speed limit. Of course not speeding at all is your best bet.

• And a few others: Make sure you obey traffic cops and school crossing guards if they're out and about. If it rains or snows make sure you turn on your windshield wipers and low beam headlights. And last but not least, do not "strike an object". I think it goes without saying that hitting someone or something with your car is a no-no on your DMV test. Be careful when you curbside park because hitting the curb is considered striking an object - and that, my friend Nelly, is an auto fail.

There you have it Nelly, now you know what NOT to do next week on your DMV license test. Now, if you can focus on what you need to do, you'll be fine. If you drive courteously, safely, confidently, and defensively come your exam day, you should have no problem whatsoever getting your license. Take it from me - I'm Jonny Driving School and "I know stuff"! And yes, I do enjoy quoting myself.

Hope that helps.

Until next time, be big brained, be super nice, and don't drift,

Jonny Driving School

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Posted by at 2:19 PM
Edited on: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5:20 PM
Categories: Drivers License