Commonly Missed Questions on the Driving Exam

Taking a driving exam, whether on a computer at the DMV or in-person with a test administrator, is stressful. While studying for the test and practicing necessary driving skills is a great first step toward success, it isn't enough for many drivers. More than 40% of drivers fail the written driving test. You can take the test again, but you'll have to pay the fee and come back on a different day.

Some states limit the number of times you can take tests throughout the year. In California, you can take the written test a maximum of three times in 12 months. You can take the driving test three times in 12 months, but you must pass both tests in the same timeframe.

Here are some of the most commonly missed questions on the written driving exam.

Top 10 Commonly Missed Questions on the Driving Exam

1. True or False

The "true or not true" questions are tough for many test-takers. Often, the question's wording is confusing. The most important thing to do with a true or false question is to slow down. Yes, you are under a time constraint, but take time to read the question at least twice before answering.

2. How Do You Navigate a Roundabout?

Pay attention to the rules about navigating roundabout islands. This is a confusing topic commonly missed on the written test.

3. Which Way Should You Turn the Wheel When Parking on a Hill?

A commonly missed question about what to do after setting a parking brake when on a downhill slope has a simple answer. Turn your wheels toward the curb. Many test-takers miss this one, though.

4. When Should You Use Your Headlights?

Since modern cars often have automatic headlights that turn on as natural light dims, most people don't realize that there are rules about when you must use headlights. The answer is that you must turn on your headlights at least 30 minutes before sunset until 30 minutes after sunrise.

5. How Close Should You Follow the Car in Front of You?

"Do not tailgate," said Kristin Ehlers from the Lawsuit Info Center. "Tailgating means you are following too closely to the vehicle in front of you. If the car in front of you slows down suddenly, you are more likely to get into a car accident."

6. What Is the Default Speed Limit in Your State?

Even if the drivers around you are going faster than the legal limit, going slightly over the posted speed limit could mean you'll fail the DMV driving test.

7. When Is It Appropriate to Pass Another Car?

"Stay in your lane," said Ehlers. "It is common for people to drift out of their lane and get in accidents. This is often due to driver distraction. Pay attention to the road at all times."

8. Why Should a Driver Be Extra Cautious About Sharing the Road with Pedestrians and Bicycles?

Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles always have the right-of-way.

9. Which Way Should a Driver Turn Their Steering Wheel if Their Car Skids?

Turn the wheel in the opposite way of the skid.

10. When Should a Slow-Moving Vehicle Pull Over to Let Other Vehicles Pass?

When there is a minimum of five cars behind it.

Take Practice Tests Online

After you think you've mastered the material, take practice tests online. Many online driver's ed courses include unlimited driving test prep resources. Check with your local DMV to find out if the offer an app that allows you to take practice tests that mimic the real DMV test using your phone.

If you are driving as part of your test, go through the list of required driving maneuvers with someone posing as the DMV agent. Have them mark off things on the list that you could improve, and practice those driving skills before your big day.

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