Driving Instruction

Avoid Automatic Fails on Driving Test for Virginia

June 29, 2021

Avoid Automatic Fails on Driving Test for Virginia

There's nothing like the freedom of the open highway. Are you ready to feel the wind in your hair as you drive around Old Dominion? Before you can take off, you'll need to pass the Virginia Road Skills Test.

For new drivers, the road skills test can feel intimidating, but it doesn't have to. Today, we're taking a close look at what the test includes and how you can pass with flying colors when it's your time to complete the assessment.

Ready to learn more? You may want to also check out our updated, 2022 Guide to Passing the Virginia Road Skills Test. Let's get started.

What is the Virginia Road Skills Test?

The Virginia Road Skills Test is an evaluation of your abilities behind the wheel.

How long does a driving test last in general? You will want to reserve at least an hour for the full process, from start to finish.

How long does the road test take? It depends somewhat on which test you take. There are two versions of the road skills test:

  • 10-minutes in the parking lot
  • 20-minutes out on the road

If you're under 18, you're required to take the driving test as part of your Virginia Driver's Education course. These courses are offered at public, private, and commercial driving schools across the state.

If you are 18 or older, you can take the road test at practically any DMV Customer Service Center. If you decided to test at a DMV, however, you will have to first have a learner's permit for 60 days and have a licensed driver complete a CSMA 19 form verifying that they have witnessed you complete a set of driving skills proving you are ready to have a license. If you want to waive the 60 days waiting period, you can instead complete an Adult Driver's Education program through a private school.

DMV Road Test Tips to Know

If you fail the VA Road Skills Test, you'll have to wait two full days before you can try again. Moreover, if you fail the test three times, you'll have to complete the behind-the-wheel portion of a driver education course. This course can be taken at a state-approved driver training school before you can qualify to take it a fourth time.

As such, it pays to pass the first time around! Thankfully, we know a few tips that can help. If you’re thinking, “I need to pass my driving test,” keep reading.

Avoid Automatic Fails On Driving Tests

Don't get disqualified right off the bat.

How can you fail your driving test? In general, the quickest ways to automatically fail your road test is to perform one of three critically unsafe maneuvers:

  1. Break any traffic law
  2. Hit anything with your car (including the curb)
  3. Cause a crash by cutting someone off

Here are a few common mistakes during road tests that you need to know:

  • Failing to obey regulatory signs or signals
  • Failing to come to a COMPLETE STOP at a stop sign
  • Speeding five miles or more over the speed limit
  • Requiring teacher intervention to maintain control of the vehicle
  • Performing a dangerous maneuver
  • Striking an object

These are considered hazardous moves that could present a significant safety risk. Do your best to above the automatic driving test fails and you'll be that much closer to walking away with your license!

Know Your Vehicle Requirements

You can also be denied testing because your vehicle doesn't meet the necessary requirements.

Before you head to the nearest DMV, make sure that your car is up to speed. At the minimum, it will need to have:

  • A current registration card and inspection sticker
  • Valid license plate
  • Up-to-date auto insurance coverage
  • Working lights, safety belts, horn, doors, windows, speedometer, and mirrors
  • Clean windshield with no view-obstructing cracks or debris
  • No warning lights on the dashboard, including low gas

Don't have access to a vehicle that checks all of these boxes? You can obtain one through a driving school or borrow one from a trusted friend or family member. Rented cars are also acceptable, as long as the test-taker is listed on the rental agreement as an approved driver.

Tip: If you borrow a car, make sure to practice driving it in advance; road test practice is crucial before the test, especially in an unfamiliar vehicle.

Wear the Right Footwear

The evaluator can send you home for failing to put on the proper footwear on the day of your test. Make sure that your shoes are appropriate for safe driving. Sneakers and other low-heeled shoes are ideal.

Avoid shoes with an open heel, such as flip-flops or sandals. It's also best to avoid high heels, as the heel can get caught under the floor mat and impede braking or accelerating.

Know the Road Test Point System

How is the road test scored? The tester will have a checklist in front of them with 50 potential driving errors. You can make up to ten errors before you fail the test. Some example driving test mistakes include:

  • Failing to check over both shoulders before starting to back out of your parking space
  • Failing to use your turn signal
  • Failing to yield at the appropriate times
  • Failure to check your blindspot before changing lanes
  • Completing a turn into the wrong lane
  • Parking your car over top of the lines instead of within the lines

Incurring ten or more driving errors will result in an automatic failure, as will performing even one critically unsafe driving maneuver. Avoid critical mistakes during testing as listed above. But make fewer than ten driving errors and perform zero "automatic fail" driving maneuvers, and you'll pass the test!

Arrive Early With The Right Documentation

One of the simplest, but most common driving test mistakes is showing up late. On the day of your Virginia Road Skills Test, be at least 15-minutes early. Arriving late is grounds for disqualification.

In addition, it's important to not show up empty-handed. There are a few important things you need for your driving test, including your:

  • Learner's permit
  • Car registration and license
  • Auto insurance card

Keep these documents in the glove compartment of your car to make sure they're always within an arm's reach.

Study Key Driving Skills

Worried about the specific maneuvers that you'll be required to demonstrate on the road? It helps to know ahead of time what kind of road test questions you should expect.

The Virginia Department of Education (DOE) shares its Final Road Skills Evaluation form online. While you cannot guarantee that the same test will be used in your situation, it helps to study it for reference on what to expect. The high-level testing categories outlined on the form include:

  • Starting/stopping skills
  • Steering
  • Visual skills
  • Backing straight
  • Backing and turning
  • Navigating a turnabout
  • Navigating controlled and uncontrolled intersections
  • Maneuvering curves, line changes, parking and expressways
  • Exhibiting safe driving behaviors

Ace Your Virginia Road Skills Test

You're only a few steps away from scoring your license and taking off! The Virginia Road Skills Test doesn't have to be a roadblock in your journey. We hope you find these DMV road test tips helpful as you study.

When you know what to look out for, how to prepare, and what to do on the day of the test, you're already headed in the right direction.

Want to brush up on your driving skills? Need to take the 3-fail re-examination course so you can try the learner's permit test again? Looking for the best teen driver's education program around?

Either way, Colonial Driving School has you covered. Take our Service Quiz today to learn which of our courses is the right fit for your needs!