Will Not Using the Handbrake at a Junction or Crossing Hands Lead to a Driving Test Fail?

Published by BDS London Marketing on

Driving tests are pivotal moments for learner drivers, with every action potentially impacting the final result. In the UK, particularly in a bustling city like London, the expectations for safe and correct driving practices are strictly upheld. Among common queries from learners at BDS London is whether specific actions like not using the handbrake when stationary at a junction, or crossing hands while steering, could result in a test failure. Let's delve into these concerns with detailed statistics and authoritative guidance from the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency).

Understanding the Use of the Handbrake

The handbrake, or parking brake, plays a critical role in vehicle control and safety. According to the DVSA, the use of the handbrake is recommended whenever a vehicle is stopped and waiting for a period that is longer than usual, for example, at a busy junction or in traffic. It ensures that the car remains stationary, even if there is an accidental release of the foot brake.

The decision not to use the handbrake in situations where it might be expected does not automatically lead to a fail. However, it can be marked as a minor fault depending on the situation. Accumulating multiple minor faults related to vehicle control can, however, lead to a failure. The DVSA's guidance suggests that safety and control are paramount, and using the handbrake appropriately is part of demonstrating good vehicle control.

The Implications of Crossing Hands on the Steering Wheel

The technique used for steering in the UK has evolved. Historically, the push-pull method was taught extensively and crossing hands was discouraged. Modern driving instructions, including those endorsed by BDS London, allow for more flexibility, but the emphasis remains on maintaining control and safety. Crossing hands is not explicitly forbidden in the DVSA standards, but excessive or unsafe crossing that compromises vehicle control can be marked as a fault.

A study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory found that while crossing hands can temporarily reduce a driver's control, the impact on safety is minimal if done briefly and without jerking the wheel. This suggests that occasional hand crossing, when done smoothly and safely, is unlikely to result in a driving test fail, but consistency in safe driving practices is key.

Statistical Insights and Final Thoughts

Statistical data from the DVSA indicates that in 2021, approximately 47% of driving test fails were due to issues related to vehicle control, including inappropriate use of the handbrake and steering technique. While not all these fails can be attributed directly to the issues discussed, it highlights the importance of mastering control-based skills.

In conclusion, while not using the handbrake at a junction or crossing hands on the steering wheel in isolation might not cause a test fail, their impact on vehicle control is critically assessed. Learner drivers should focus on demonstrating safe and controlled driving practices throughout their test. At BDS London, we emphasize understanding and adapting to driving test expectations, ensuring our learners are fully prepared to meet and exceed these standards.

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