Learner Fails Test… Because of a Fuel Gauge Light?!

by Brady Myles - 3 Min Read

Pity poor 17-year-old learner driver, Michael O’Brien, who got himself a fail during his test all because the car’s fuel light came on.

The driving test is fraught enough for many of us as we wrestle with our nerves while trying to remember the mass of rules to follow.

But if we are unfortunate enough to fail, we normally have a very clear idea of why it happened and can learn from it so we’re better prepared for next time.

For Michael though, his fail was came out of the blue and made precious little sense; the learner driver based in New Zealand was 23 minutes into his 45-minute exam when the fuel light in the car he was using for the test switched on. Cue the examiner telling Michael that he had automatically failed the test.

The lad was understandably miffed especially as a pre-vehicle inspection had been carried out on the car – belonging to the dad – and the low fuel was not spotted or highlighted to Michael.

To add insult to injury, Michael and his family then drove in the car for the rest of the day without needing to fill it up.

They complained to the agency who runs New Zealand’s driving tests who investigated and found that the examiner had been in the wrong: “It’s important vehicles are in a safe and appropriate condition for a driving test and all vehicles used in a driver test undergo a pre-test check,” they said. “But if the fuel light does come on during a driver licence test, the officer should continue with the test.”

Michael has been refunded the cost of the test – but he will still need to take another one. While we wish him the best, here are some truly extreme examples of how folk failed their tests or messed up their lessons:

Top Five Biggest Driving Lesson & Test Cock-Ups

I made a complete stop at a stop sign and my instructor turned to SCREAM in my face that I ‘wasn’t making the passenger feel safe’ because I was very slowly braking, because apparently ‘If the passenger can’t feel you braking, he doesn’t feel safe.’ So at the next stop sign, I waited until I was right at the stop sign before I slammed on the brakes. He was not wearing a seatbelt, and shot forward and slammed his face into the dashboard on the passenger side.”
– hayleym4d54ac52f to Buzzfeed


A ‘friend’ was on her test and was asked to take the next left. The driving instructor probably meant the next left after the level crossing, rather than turn left and drive down the track towards impending doom.”
– Sadie to Diamond Insurance


You know how you’re supposed to hold your hands at ten to two on either side of the wheel? Well, on my second lesson I kept holding them at the bottom and so my instructor told me to put my hands up. So, I did. In the air. While driving down a dual carriageway!”
– Claire Gibbons to the Daily Telegraph

A woman became so nervous during her test that she broke wind during each gear change. Despite it being a cold winter’s morning, the examiner had to open a window to allow the pungent smell to escape. This wasn’t enough, though, so the test had to be terminated because the examiner was coughing so much that his eyes were watering, resulting in him losing one of his contact lenses.”
– Former driving examiner to the Daily Express


One of my friends at university passed her driving test on something like the 5th attempt. One of the times she drove out of the test centre, up to a roundabout, and then straight over the roundabout – and no it wasn’t a mini-roundabout, it was a full-size one! She said it was awful having to then do the full test knowing she’d failed at the beginning!”
– Jessica to the BBC


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