How Many Points Does it Take to Fail a Road Test in New York?

February 19, 2020

Getting a driver’s license in New York requires one to pass the road test. Road tests in New York are quite challenging and require a lot of practice and the right documents. First, you have to pass the DMV learner permit written test, then complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course before you are tested on the road.

Click here to access the 2020 DMV permit test questions and answers.

A road test will qualify you for the New York State driver’s license. The test covers all the aspects of driving, especially important ones like parallel parking and changing lanes. During the road test, points will be deducted for each mistake you make. If you get 30 points, you will have failed the test.

A study conducted by Siegfried & Jensen shows the license information regarding the minimum pass scores one can get during road tests and the unique elements that examiners use to judge drivers in road tests.

How many mistakes can you make on a driver’s test?

Your examiner gives you the driving test demerit points according to the severity of the mistake you make. The points can run from 5 to 15. A deduction of 35 points will correspond to a failure of the driving test. The mistakes that may fail you include;

  • Entering the wrong traffic lane
  • Going above the speed limit
  • Not stopping when you see the STOP sign
  • Doing something dangerous

Sometimes one critical mistake can fail you completely even if you did well on the rest of the test. For example, if you make a wide right turn that lands you to the wrong lane, but then you swing the car back to the correct lane, you will have accumulated several mistakes such as:

  • Making the wide right turn (this will be 5 points off)
  • Landing on the wrong lane (10 points off)
  • Failing to look over your shoulder when you switched lanes
  • Not signaling when you changed lanes
  • Poor control of the steering (15 points off)

Because of your first mistake, other consequent mistakes emerged that caused the deduction of more points.

Mistakes that Can Cause You to Fail the Driving Test

Preparing for your New York driving test is very important. One critical mistake or several of them can cause you to fail the test. Here are some of the mistakes you should avoid during your driving test;

Improperly Changing Lanes

Before you change lanes, you should show the indicator and check the mirrors and blind spots. Failing to do this during your test will have the examiner deduct some points off.

Make sure you change the lanes properly by turning on the signal, checking the rearview and side mirrors, and turning your head to check any cars in your blind spot. Only when all is clear will you then change lanes. Observe your speed up and watch out for the traffic ahead as well.

Hard Braking

Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the soft and hard brakes in the car you will be using during the test. Hard braking is allowed when there is an emergency, but when you are stopping or slowing down, use the standard brake to do it. Don’t brake so hard that you and your examiner are thrown forward.

Failing to Control the Steering

Confidence is essential when you’re behind the wheel during the test. But you should not be overconfident and drive one-handed. Make sure you have both your hands on the steering wheel. You can make hand over hand turns and release from the turn with controlled slippage.

The other mistakes include getting confused at four-way stops, distracted driving, improper merging on the freeway, driving too fast or too slowly, changing lanes at intersections, not keeping a safe distance from the traffic in front, failing to check mirrors and parallel parking, among many others.

Is The New York Road Test Hard?

The New York driving test examiners will test your ability to make the necessary maneuvers used in every day driving. This includes stopping at intersections controlled by traffic lights or signs, making left and right turns, driving in heavy traffic, making three-point turns and parallel parking.

The road test is not hard as long as you get enough practice and follow your examiner’s instructions. The examiner will focus on finding out if you can demonstrate basic driving knowledge and skills, and your knowledge of the New York traffic laws.

Just be keen on the road and listen to what your examiner tells you and everything will turn out well.

How Many Answers Can You Get Wrong On a Written Driver’s Test?

The New York driving test has 20 questions, which are all multiple choice. They will be testing your knowledge on the rules of the road, safe driving laws, and road signs. In order to pass the permit exam, you must answer at least 14 questions correctly.

You must also get two of the four questions on road signs. Fourteen questions will give you a 70% score. If you get more than six questions wrong, you will not get your learner’s permit.

The permit test is available in 14 languages to help those who are not native English speakers to be comfortable answering the questions. It must be taken in person at the office of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once you pass the test, you will receive a learner’s permit, which is valid for five years.

How Long Does the Driving Road Test Take?

The road test is often carried out by appointment. Typically, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes. After passing the test, you’ll be required to wait around for the department of motor vehicles to process the paperwork. They will take your picture to attach to the license.

It is advisable to arrive 15 minutes earlier on the road test day. You should bring with you the proof of your pre-licensing course, learner permit, and a registered, inspected vehicle that will be used for the driving test.

Taking the Driving Test for the Second Time

If you fail your driving test, you can schedule another one the second time. The application fee you pay for the learner permit includes two road tests. This means that you will not pay for the second road test.

You will wait at least a day to retake the road test. However, before booking your second test, you might want to take more practice lessons to master the technique and understand some of the basics that made you fail in the first place. There is no need to rush for the second road test before ironing out the complicated steps.

Although the state permits you to take as many tests as you can, it is better to take your time to prepare well, and you will definitely pass the test.


A road test is your last step in obtaining a driver’s license in New York. As soon as the test is done, your examiner will inform you if you have passed or not. Once you pass, you will be given a temporary license by the examiner. The official license can be mailed to you in two weeks.

At Pierre Paul Driving School, we have experienced instructors to prepare you for the driving test. We can also schedule your driving test and provide a car for the same. Contact us today at 718-576-6277 or for more information.