13 Irish Driving Test Tips

It’s normal to feel nervous about your driving test but with preparation and lots of practice you will get that full licence.

We’ve created a list of the top driving test tips for passing and the top reasons for failing. Use these as your guide and get ready to pass your driving test.

Tips to help you pass your Driving Test

1. Study the rules of the road guide book provided by the RSA

You can buy the book from your local bookshop or download it for free from RSA.ie. You will be asked theory questions as part of your test.

Tip: See our tips for safe driving here.

2. Complete Driving Lessons

Although you are only legally required to complete 12 Essential Driver Training lessons with an EDT approved driving instructor, you may need more lessons to become a more confident and skilled driver. Complete as many lessons as you need to.

3. Complete Pre-tests

Pre-tests are an essential part of preparing to pass your driving test. These tests mimic the driving test and allow you to see how the exam runs, what the route is like and practice answering theory questions. Think of them as a mock examination.

4. Have your documents and car prepared

Avoid any added stress on the day of your test by organising the required documents and having your car checked over in advance. Double check that everything is in order.

5. Get to the test centre early  

Getting to the test centre early will give you time to gather your thoughts.  

6. Remain calm and confident

Reassure yourself during the test and remember that you are a good driver and fully capable of passing. Try not to let nerves get the better of you.

7. Expect the unexpected

Always anticipate the movements of other drivers. 

8. Keep your distance 

Remember - only a fool breaks the 2-second rule. Leave at least 2 seconds of distance between you and the car in front. Leave more distance if it’s raining. 

9. Be observant

Be extra vigilant so you see every stop sign, yield sign, red light etc. Missing any of these will result in a fail. Brush up on your road signs using your driver theory test app before your test. 

Tips: Discover 10 Tips for Teaching Your Child to Drive

10. Take it handy

Progress slowly at junctions, roundabouts and on straight roads. Match your driving to suit the conditions, such as weather, road and traffic conditions. Don't speed.

11. Don’t coast on your clutch

Excessive coasting can potentially cause you to fail the driving test as it can be dangerous.

What is coasting?

Coasting while driving means that you keep the clutch depressed to free-wheel and not use the engine to move.

12. Pay special attention to roundabouts

Roundabouts can be daunting for inexperienced drivers. Study the dos and don'ts in the of roundabouts in the Rules of The Road book for a helpful tip about picturing roundabouts as clocks.

13. Don’t dwell on your mistakes

If you make a mistake during your test try to move on and continue as normal. Don’t give up. The mistake may not be as serious as you thought.

Having a full licence may improve the cost of your car insurance.

Top 10 Reasons why people fail their driving test 

1. Nerves

When your nerves get the better of you they can negatively affect your driving skills.

2. Clutch

Coasting is among the top reasons for drivers failing their test.

3. Reversing around a corner

Another main reason for fails. Practice is key.

4. Observation skills

Insufficient observation made when moving off, turning, taking roundabouts, changing lanes, overtaking, slowing down or stopping.

5. Reaction to hazards

Lack of anticipation reaction to a hazard such as speed ramps.

6. Positioning

Incorrect positioning on the road by driving too far to the right or left. Taking left turns too wide, cutting corners when turning right or going too far before you turn.

7. Progressions

Poor progress at junctions, roundabouts, on the straight, and when overtaking.

8. Improper use of controls

Improper / lack of use of accelerator, clutch, gears, footbrake, handbrake or secondary controls.

9. Clearance distances

Not giving the ‘width of a door’ clearance and driving too close to parked vehicles. Not leaving the correct space when sharing the road with a cyclist.

10. Traffic signs  

Failure to stop at a stop sign.


Tip: When you’ve passed your driving test you’ll need these documents to get your full licence


Having a full licence may improve the cost of your car insurance. Use our guide to getting your first car insurance policy to decide the level of car insurance you need and get an online car insurance quote in just minutes. 

Young driver? At AIG we have tailor made policies for young drivers including our telematics insurance which could save you money on your car insurance.


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