Failing a driving test the first time can understandably create a disappointing day, but the reality is that many Americans take them more than once, and you can take the test as many times as you can pay for it. Keep in mind that each state has different regulations regarding the chances they give you for retakes and time periods for rescheduling retests.
The laws that dictate the number of fails allowed for driving tests can vary for different states, but most of the heavily-populated ones will give you three tries before making you restart the application process.
California, Pennsylvania, and Texas will grant you three attempts, while Florida gives you five. New York residents with valid learner permits get unlimited tries.
Always check your state of residence DMV webpage for more specific information. Testing procedures can be stricter in some states and sometimes requires additional steps, like parallel parking.
There are no limits to the number of times you are allowed to fail the written driving test in any state, but dealing with the DMV frequently can be frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive.
It can be easy to feel overconfident with the written driving test since most people have ridden in cars as passengers and gotten familiar with some road rules, but studying your state driver’s manual is essential for passing. The questions are also typically pulled from a database, ensuring that most of your retests cover different material.
People also now have the modern advantages of taking online practice tests that help understand their state laws, rules, and guidelines for the road.
You can fail the road test as many times as you can afford it because every state gives you unlimited attempts to pass. Some people get nervous during this part of the test because they feel pressured to impress the examiner that rides along with them.
Examiners have the safety of your community in their interest, so never take it personally when they offer criticism. Listen closely to their feedback because they typically describe your mistakes in detail so you can avoid repeating them during the retest.
Examiners judge mistakes situationally, and each state allows different amounts of errors on driving tests. You can make a few minor mistakes without failing the exam, but any dangerous or illegal maneuvers will definitely prevent you from getting that license. Examiners might also choose to end the driving test early if they consider you a risk to yourself and others.
Try to keep calm if you miss a few minor things because no one expects you to get a perfect score, and you could still pass the driving test.
Driving tests and their points systems are different in each state, but most require passing scores that range between 70% and 88%.
Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Texas have the lowest passing scores, while Maryland, Virginia, and Idaho require the highest ones.
You can keep taking the driving test if you fail it three times, but at that point, some states will make you restart the whole application process and pay their fees. These are your options if you fail the driving test after three attempts.
Many populous states give people three chances to pass the driving test before making them apply for another learner’s permit and pay for the retest and other possible fees. These regulations may vary from state to state, so always check your local DMV website to see how long you have to wait to restart the application process and if you have to set money aside for it.
Driving test examiners will typically give you specific details about mistakes that made you fail the driving test. Listen to them carefully and ask other questions that can help improve your performance next time. Absorb as much information as you can from your states driver’s manual and get lots of practice driving on safe roads from your area.
Anxiety can be very detrimental for most people taking driving tests, so never rush into rescheduling the retest until you feel absolutely ready to pass. Also, make sure to bring all the necessary documents that the DMV requires to avoid even more rescheduling.
These are common mistakes that will automatically fail you on your driving test.
- Merging into traffic or another lane without looking over your shoulder
- Not coming to a complete stop and waiting a few seconds on red lights or stop signs
- Using your phone or getting distracted while driving
- Driving too fast or too slow
- Forgetting to check your mirrors
- Failure to understand general features of your vehicle
- Putting pedestrians and your surroundings at risk
- Not fastening your seatbelt before the test begins
- Slamming on your brakes unnecessarily
- Failure to parallel park
Waiting periods between driving tests may vary between states, but you can find that information on your local DMV website. These are the waiting periods for the five most populated states.
California residents have to wait two weeks before trying the driving test again. Texas lets people take the two retests anytime within 90 days after your first test. People in Pennsylvania must wait a week to retake the test while those in New York with valid learner’s permits can take it the next day. Florida has a waiting period of 24 hours to retake the test.
Here are some tips that can help increase the chances of success for your next road test.
- Study your state driver’s manual for basic rules about speed limits, road signs, etc.
- Fasten your seatbelt before you start driving
- Make complete stops at red lights and stop signs
- Respect speed limits
- Keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles
- Change lanes cautiously
- Adjust your mirrors
- Place your hands properly on the steering wheel
- Know how to parallel park
- Follow your examiner’s instructions
These are some additional FAQs about driving tests.
Some states will require you to retake one or more tests to renew an expired driver’s license. Check your state DMV website to see if you have a grace period that lets you legally drive with an expired license. Also, look out for any changes and updates on their driver’s manual if you are required to retake the test. Some laws are less known than others and easy to ignore.
Examiners in some states will make you get on the freeway just to pass a few cars and get back out, so check with your local DMV to see if that will be a requirement.
Retaking the driver’s test when moving to another state is sometimes required. Some DMV’s examine people’s driving history on a case-by-case basis to determine if they should retake the driver’s test, while others will require them if your license has been expired for a while.
Some states may have waiting periods between the driving test and written test, but you can typically complete them during the same day.