The five most common mistakes made on driving tests revealed - and would you pass?

Teaching your teenage child to drive can make you reflect on your own driving knowledge and question whether you would pass the test, Adam Lucius writes.

Cars driving on the road in Sydney.
While you may have passed your driving test with flying colours, how would you do if you had to take it again now? Source: Getty

I received my driver's licence shortly after the horse and cart was retired from our roads and the first set of traffic lights had just been installed in Sydney's CBD. Well, not quite, but it certainly feels that long.

Back then, the test consisted of a short drive around the neighbourhood, a quick reverse park, a few stop sign and give way trials and then back to the motor registry to fill in your details before they handed you your licence. A licence, I might add, printed on paper!

Not many people failed it, except for one mate who flung his arm out the window to wave hello to a friend.

But what are the most common mistakes learner drivers are making these days?

One former NSW driving examiner revealed there was a top five common mistake list learner drivers made while sitting their P-plate test.

"It’s hard to believe but some drivers forget to put their seat belts on pulling out of the motor registry – that's an instant fail," he said.

"The other ones you need to look out for is making sure you signal for at least five seconds before pulling out of a parking spot and ensuring you don’t creep forward or roll through a stop sign.

"And when they ask you to turn right, you need to be decisive. Any hesitation could result in a fail.

"My other recommendations would be to always check your mirrors and keep a safe distance from the car in front. Examiners are always looking for that."

It's got me wondering. How many of us would pass our driver's test if we had to sit it again after years on the road?

It's a thought that's crossed my mind several times after I topped up the life insurance policy and dressed in bubble wrap as my teenage son, Henry, plastered the L-plates on the family car.

It's an interesting "bonding" exercise teaching your offspring to drive, and one I'm not sure I'm truly qualified for.

Henry Lucius holds up his L-plates after passing the test.
Adam says helping his son Henry learn to drive has been an 'interesting bonding experience'. Source: Supplied

That's because the rules – or at least my interpretation of them – seemed to have changed a bit.

My son is actually teaching me a few things.

For example, did you know it is illegal to start driving through a pedestrian crossing even after the person has walked past the front of your car?

I got up my lad one morning for holding up traffic by not moving on immediately after a woman had strolled past us and had halfway completed the crossing.

"Dad, you've got to wait until the pedestrian is completely off the crossing before you can proceed," he calmly informed me through clenched teeth.

I shrunk back into my seat and shut my mouth.

Best leave it to the experts.

Cheryl York is well across the common mistakes learner drivers make and as a result not many fail their test on her watch.

She has been running the Gold Coast-based Driveable Driving School for the past six years, preaching a holistic and empathetic approach to the process. York specialises in helping teens and adults with anxieties, stress and learning/intellectual and physical disabilities.

Cheryl York sits behind the wheel of a car.
Cheryl York takes an empathetic approach to teaching learners how to drive. Source: Supplied

After confirming my son was 100 per cent correct about the pedestrian crossing rule (further damaging my credibility within the household), she walked — or drove — me through some other common misconceptions.

"People think that roadwork 40km/h zones are only applicable if workers are present, but that's not the case. It still applies whether work is in progress or not," she said.

"And the old rule about holding the steering wheel at 10 and 2 – No. It's now 9 and 3, as we now have airbags and we don't want to punch ourselves in the eyes if we have a collision.

"At a stop sign you should stop as soon as the line disappears from the bonnet. And you can go in a bus lane up to 50 metres."

Oh, and one last one.

Apparently waving out the window to a mate is still verboten.

Who would have thought?

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