Common Mistakes to Avoid on the CA Behind-the-Wheel Test

As a young driver, you don't want to fail your behind-the-wheel training in California. However, it's not uncommon. California is known for having the hardest behind-the-wheel test, and many teens are fearful of it.

This doesn’t mean that the California driver's test is insurmountable — especially if you practice. There are common mistakes you can avoid to increase your chances of passing. Here are some of them and how to avoid them.

The Top Mistakes Young Drivers Make on the California Driving Test

Not Preparing for Different Types of Weather

A common mistake teens make is not preparing for harsh weather conditions. According to our research, 89% of parents say it's hard for their teens to drive in extreme weather conditions, and of those, 36% say this is because they don't feel comfortable putting their teens behind the wheel in this situation.

Hitting the Curb

Hitting the curb is a serious driving offense in California and can result in failing your driver’s test. When driving, make sure you avoid the curb at all costs and don’t think of cutting corners.

Not Recognizing Road Signs

Not recognizing road signs has remained a global driving problem. In fact, our research found that 64% of LA residents say their teens lack confidence in understanding road signs. Recognizing road signs is one important factor that helps teens pass their behind-the-wheel test, so study up.

Maneuvering and Merging Lanes 

Merging lanes is a critical step during the driving test. Based on our research, 49% of parents say encountering potential road hazards makes their teens most nervous. During your test, always check your side and rear mirrors, look out for other cars, and signal fellow drivers before changing your lanes. This way, you can impress your tester by merging lanes with ease.

Stopping When Driving

Never stop where you shouldn’t when driving. One of the biggest reasons why people fail their driving test is making unrequired stops. These stops are famously known as California stops — i.e. when you don't come to a complete stop or drive away from the stop sign.

Driving at a High Speed

Our research found that 68% of parents say it's hard to prepare their teen on highways, and of those, 43% say they don't feel comfortable putting their teen behind the wheel in this situation. Unfortunately, driving on highways is one of the few ways to practice being behind the wheel at high speeds. Without this practice, teens might be unable to control their speed or feel anxious when driving fast.

Avoid driving past your speed limit. Driving slowly or over your limit can affect your driving test. There are speed limit signs everywhere, so look at them when traveling. 


Never text while driving. When taking your test, avoid looking at your phone when driving. Distractions have led to a lot of car accidents. Don't be a victim, and concentrate on the road when driving.


No one likes a tailgater. Keep some distance between your car and the one in your front. Although California has compact roads, never tailgate the person driving in your front, and leave at least three seconds between your car and the car in front of you.   

Not Allowing Pedestrians to Pass

Don't be an impatient driver. Always yield when driving along school and construction areas, and check if these areas are pedestrian free before crossing. Failure to look around can cause an accident. 

Get Ready to Pass Your Behind-the-Wheel Driver’s Test in California!

We hope this article helps you become more prepared for your behind-the-wheel test in California. If you want to be fully prepared to ace your test, register for our driver’s ed lessons today!

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