How Many Times Can You Fail A Driving Test?

Getting your driver’s license is like a rite of passage in America. Maybe you just turned 16 and you are looking to get your driver’s permit. Or, you are trying to get your license for the first time. No matter what walk of life you are from or what age, there is one thing that most people have in common when it comes to getting their driver’s license. That is the stress of failing the driving test. You are probably wondering how many times you can actually fail your driving test and retake it?

Most states will let you retake the driving test if you fail the first time. You can fail your test an average of 3 times before you have to apply for another permit in most states. Here is the breakdown of the number of times you can retake a driving test in the 5 biggest states before you have to get a new permit.

  • California: 3 times
  • Texas: 3 times
  • Pennsylvania: 3 times
  • New York: No limit
  • Florida: 5 times

There are different sets of rules and regulations depending on where you live in the United States.

How Many Times Are You Allowed to Fail a Driving Test?

Most of the states will allow you to take the driving test as many times as you can afford. The biggest difference between their policies will be determined by how many times they will allow you to fail before having to restart the application process. They will also differ in the amount of time between retesting.

California Driving Test Requirements

California is one of the largest states in the country. Luckily, it will let you retake the driving test 3 times. If you are a minor and you failed your driving test, you will have to wait 14 days in between each test. Retaking each test will cost about $7.

If you fail all 3 times then you will have to start another driver’s license application. Which means you will have to go through the process again. That includes visiting the DMV office, paying the application fee, and giving them another fingerprint scan.

Texas Driving Requirements

Texas will also let you retake the test 3 times. When you pay for the driving test in Texas, the $11 will count for all 3 attempts.

However, if you fail, you will need to schedule the retest in a 90 day period. Unlike California, you don’t have to wait a certain amount of days to take the test. But, it is important that you schedule it in the appropriate time frame.

It is always a good idea to take some time in between the tests to make sure you go over why you failed. Usually, the examiner will let you know which part of the driving test caused you to fail.


Pennsylvania has the same policy of retaking the test. If you fail the driving test, you can try up to 3 times before you need to reapply for another permit. Their rules differ a bit from Texas and California.

People who are older than 18 will need to wait one day before they can retake their tests.

Meanwhile, the people who are younger than 18 will need more time between retaking the test.

New York

New York has less leniency for the driving test. You are only allowed to retake their driving test twice. If you fail the test twice, you will have to resubmit your application and pay the appropriate fees.

The cost for the test is $10. You will only be allowed to take the test if your learner’s permit is still valid. Without a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license, you won’t be able to drive.


Florida is the most unique out of all the large states.

You have 5 chances to try and pass the driver’s test. If you aren’t able to pass it by the 5th try, you will have to wait one year before trying again.

Florida is known to revoke driving privileges from people who fail to pass the driver’s test. In some cases, you will need to request approval from the Bureau of Administrative review office to take the driving test again.

Common Mistakes That Can Make You Fail the Test

There are two portions of the driver’s test. The first part of the test will be written. It is either given on a piece of paper with multiple choice answers, or on a computer.

The second part of the test is the actual driving portion. You will have to schedule time to come test. You will be tested on your ability to operate the vehicle in a safe and competent manner. Here are some common mistakes that people will make which causes them to fail:

Rolling stops – This is an easy one to make. Many people will slow the car but won’t actually stop. You want to make sure that the car comes to a complete stop, wait a few seconds, and then continue to proceed.

Improper Lane Changes – Changing lanes is an essential part of driving. Some important things to keep in mind is to always check your mirrors, look over your shoulder, use your turn signal, and know when it is the appropriate time to merge into another lane.

Improper Steering – The examiner will observe your control of the steering wheel. They will want to see that you have both hands on the wheel and operating it in a safe manner.

Distracted Driving – This goes without saying, but don’t text or use your phone while you are driving. It is a bad habit that many people make but it will cause you to automatically fail if you do so during the test.

Driving at Inappropriate Speeds – Driving too fast or too slow will cause you to either lose points or fail. Remember, the examiner just wants to know that you can operate the car in a competent and safe manner. So, don’t speed and don’t go below the speed limit.

Not Checking Your Mirrors – It is important that you check your mirrors when maneuvering. They want to see that you know how to back out of a space, merge into a lane, and look in your blindspots.

Parallel Parking – Some states will require you to know how to parallel park. Make sure that you get lots of practice doing so before taking your test.

How to Prepare for Your Driving Test

We know how exciting and nerve-wracking it is to take the driving test. Just like any test, you always want to make sure that you are prepared. The driving exam is no different. The more prepared that you are, the better your confidence and the higher your chance of success.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your driving test:

Get Enough Practice

Remember that practice makes perfect. You want to make sure you have enough practice driving and that you understand the fundamentals.

A good rule of thumb is to practice your driving as if you are going to take the test. You can look for feedback by asking the adult who is accompanying you in the vehicle while you drive.

Manage Your Stress

Try to relax. It won’t help you in any way if you are in your own head about failing.

So, a helpful tip would be to try and get enough rest during the week leading up to the exam day. Also, don’t schedule your driving exam during any other important events. You want to try and focus on one thing at a time.

On the day of your test, make sure you ask the examiner about any questions that you may have. It will help ease your mind if you understand how the test works. Getting clarification on the process will help relieve some of the pre-testing jitters.

Bring All the Necessary Items on Test Day

Imagine waiting for months to take the test, arriving at the DMV, then realizing you weren’t fully prepared.

You want to make sure you have all of the right paperwork and a working vehicle to take the test in.

So, make sure to bring your learner’s permit, proof of insurance, vehicle registration, or any other documents that are required by your state’s DMV office.

In addition to documents, you will also need to bring a working vehicle. If you can, try to take the test in the vehicle that you have been practicing in. Something to keep in mind is that many examiners will not proceed with testing if they feel that the car is unfit or unsafe.

FAQs on Driving Tests in The United States

Now that you know some key information about testing, here are some other frequently asked questions.

How Common is it to Fail a Driving Test?

Failing the driving test is a lot more common than you might expect. Many people will fail the written portion of the driving test. Then when they have to take the driving test, they will lose enough points to not pass.

The DMV cheat sheet website lists a survey with the approximate pass/fail rate for each state. They estimate that 35% to 55% is the failure rate for most states.

So, that means you shouldn’t worry too much about not passing the first time you take the test. As we mentioned before, most states will allow you to retake the test.

How Many Errors are You Allowed to Make on the Test?

Every state will have its own unique scoring system. With that in mind, don’t worry if you miss some things and lose some points. You are not expected to get a perfect score, just a passing one.

As long as you are not making any obvious mistakes that will warrant an automatic fail, you should be okay. You don’t want to do anything illegal or dangerous that will put your life and the examiner’s life in jeopardy.

You can make mistakes and get some points docked without failing your exam.

Which Errors Can Cause You to Fail?

There are many things that will cause you to automatically fail. A good thing to keep in mind is that doing anything that feels unsafe might make the examiner fail you and end your driving test.

Other things include:

– Not understanding your vehicle

– Causing an accident

– Not coming to a complete stop

– Unsafe driving behavior

Does Driving too Slow Make You Automatically Fail?

Driving too slow may cause unsafe conditions. Another thing is that you will be showing that you lack the confidence and comprehension to go with the flow of traffic. You want to be able to show the examiner that you are aware of your surroundings, the posted speed limits, and know how to drive at the given weather conditions.

If you are driving at a speed that creates a dangerous situation, your examiner may choose to end the test early.

Do Driving Instructors Fail you Even if You Do Nothing Wrong?

Depending on who you talk to, some people will try to tell you that the driving instructors will try to fail you.

This misconception probably came from all the nervous people who weren’t able to pass their first time.

The thing that you should keep in mind is that the examiner actually does want you to succeed. But, they also have to do their job which is to make sure that competent and safe drivers are on the road.

You Can Always Take Your Driver’s Test Again

So, now that we have gone over some key points about the driving test. Hopefully, you feel more at ease when that time comes.

Don’t sweat it if you fail the first time. Sometimes, it is a good thing to not pass. You will have time to reflect on how you can improve. You will also be able to get more practice and really feel confident when you are on the road on your own.

As we talked about, most states will allow you to retake the test. The main thing that you will be tested on is your ability to safely operate a car.

Hopefully, your examiner will tell you which parts of the test you failed. You should take the feedback and keep practicing your skills.

But, you shouldn’t rely on retaking the test. If you find yourself falling all 3 times, you may have to reapply for the driver’s license. Of course, you can take it again, but keep in mind that it will cost you in time and money.

You will have to redo everything and reapply for another driver’s license. The cost will vary depending on which state you are in. You will be required to pay for the driver’s license application and the testing fees again. The written test will range from $7 – $10 and the road test is about $15. On average, the cost of paying for another driver’s license is about $55.

You should also factor in all of the time you would be spending in the DMV. You would have to wait in the queue again, and also schedule a time to drive with the examiner.

So, it’s best to just take your time between retaking the test. Learn from your mistakes and continue to practice your driving skills.

Wrap Up

Taking the steps to get your driver’s license is part of becoming an adult. The freedom of being able to drive and go anywhere your heart desires will make the stress all worth it in the end. You should take the driving exam seriously but also don’t be discouraged if you don’t pass it on your first try. The only way to get better at something is to keep practicing. You want to make sure that you are ready to be on the road. No matter where you are in the United States, the road can be a dangerous place if you drive recklessly.

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