A lot of learner drivers react with confusion when they discover that they can fail their driving test for driving too slowly. They seem to be under the impression that slower is always better.
This is not the case.
The purpose of a driving test is to measure your ability to operate a vehicle. If you fail to demonstrate that you are able to keep up with the flow of traffic, then your instructor may fail you.
By being overly-cautious and failing to progress, you are showing the instructor that you are not confident behind the wheel. As a result, there is a good chance that you might be a hazard to other road users.
Jittery drivers are not good drivers.
Failure to progress.
In Ireland, you can receive a “progress fault” if you stay too far back from the vehicle in front of you or if you take too long to move after a traffic light has turned green. You can also receive a “progress fault” if you take too long to approach a turn-off that you were instructed to take.
Your ability to progress and keep up with the flow of traffic is an indicator of your confidence behind the wheel. If the instructor thinks that your slowness is unreasonable or overly-cautious, then it is likely that you will receive a fault.
If you do a quick Google search, you will come across multiple examples of people talking about how they failed their driving exam because they drove too slowly.
A Californian motorist received a “critical error” and failed his test because he drove 25mph on a 35mph road. He had no other errors or mistakes on his score sheet. Just one “critical error” for driving too slowly.
In the UK, a learner motorist received a “major fail” and failed his test because he drove 40mph on a dual carriageway that had a 70mph speed limit.
In New Zealand, you can fail your test if you drive 10km/hr under the speed limit in good conditions. This is as seen as a “critical error” because you are essentially disrupting the flow of traffic.
Those who take the ICBC test in Canada can be failed if they drive substantially lower than what would be considered to be normal.
All in all, it seems as though most countries have some sort of failure category for people who drive too slowly during their driving test. Passing your test isn’t just about showing the instructor that you understand the rules of the road – it’s also about showing the instructor that you are confident being on the road.