Critical errors

Critical errors, while serious, don’t put another road user or property in immediate danger.

If you make more than one Critical Error in Stage 1 of your restricted licence test, or more than two Critical Errors across the whole test, the Testing Officer has to give you a fail mark.

The best way to avoid making Critical Errors in your test is to avoid them in your everyday driving.

See what the Critical Errors are, so you know what you need to look out for when you drive.

Incomplete stop

Slowing down at a stop sign, but not coming to a complete stop, is a Critical Error in the restricted test.

In the full licence test, this is an Immediate Fail Error.

Blocking a pedestrian crossing

This means stopping your car on a pedestrian crossing or area controlled by pedestrian traffic lights.

The only time this is OK is if you need to stop on a crossing to be able to see approaching traffic at an intersection. But make sure you give way to any pedestrians waiting to cross first.

Driving up onto the kerb

You’ll be ok if your tyres just touch the kerb gently while you’re doing a parallel park or three-point turn during your test, but if one wheel drives up onto the kerb, or you bump it hard, it will be a Critical Error.

Driving too slowly

The Testing Officer will mark you as driving too slow if you:

  • take longer than 5 seconds to move on where there’s been a safe gap to move into
  • drive at 10 km/h or more below the speed limit, even though conditions are good, and by going this slow you hold up traffic behind you
  • stop when you don't actually need to, before you drive through a pedestrian or school crossing
  • don't move forward to wait in the intersection for a gap when turning right at traffic lights (and there are no other vehicles waiting in the intersection).

Driving too fast

If you go 5 km/h or more over the limit (but less than 10 km/h over) for less than five seconds, the Testing Officer will mark this as a Critical Error.

Failing to look

Not checking for other traffic when you should is a Critical Error. This includes checking side mirrors, windows and blind spots when you should as well as checking for traffic straight ahead.

Take extra care to look check carefully at intersections and to check both left and right before you drive over a railway crossing.

Failing to indicate

Make sure you always indicate for at least three seconds before you:

  • turn
  • change lanes
  • pull away from, or into, the kerb
  • cross the centreline
  • move on to a roundabout (if turning left or right)
  • leave a roundabout
  • stop next to a parked car to start a reverse parallel park.


If you drive a manual during the test, and you stall, this will count as a Critical Error.

Stalling your car shows you don’t have good control of the car and could put yourself in a dangerous position.

Other illegal action

The Testing Officer will also keep an eye out for anything else that's illegal but doesn't put anyone in immediate danger. So watch out that you don't do things like:

  • cutting corners or driving on the wrong side of the road
  • turning from, or into, the wrong lanes on roads with two or more lanes each way
  • not staying in your lane
  • following too close behind another vehicle
  • unnecessarily driving in special vehicle lanes.

What's next?

Immediate fail errors