Obtaining your driver’s license is exciting, for with it comes newfound independence and freedom.
Driving is also a major responsibility: car accidents are one of the leading causes of death, however preventable they are. It’s no wonder that the road test is so strict and hard to pass. The road test is designed to assess your skills behind the wheel and whether you’re capable to drive a vehicle in accordance with local rules and regulations.
Every state in the U.S. requires a road test to determine whether the driver has the necessary abilities to drive a vehicle through the streets of that specific state. Here are a few recommendations to prepare for your this examination.
Knowing the laws and rules pertaining to driving in your state is the most important thing for your road test. Take your time to go through the driver’s manual. Read every chapter thoroughly, and ask a friend or family member to quiz you at the end of each one.
Carefully studying the rules before your lessons will help you get acquainted with them, and you’ll be a lot more likely to respect them instinctively during your road test.
Failing to obey any rule in your road test will only count as an error, unless they are considered major faults, which, if you get wrong, are grounds for the immediate termination of your test. If your examiner decides to terminate your road test, he or she will ask you to come to a full stop and drive you back to the institution.
Your test is not the only thing at stake, though: disregarding the law may result in an accident and you or other drivers could get hurt.
You can take the road test in any car you want. You can borrow one from your friends or family, but remember they will have to drive you there, or meet you with the car on the site of the road test if you’re getting there some other way.
This is due to the fact that you still don’t have a license, and you can’t drive the car before getting it. It is recommended that you take the road test in a car you know: try to ask the owner of the car to lend it to you for practice beforehand. If you paid for lessons, your instructor will most likely let you take the test in the same car you took them.
Before your road test starts, show your examiner that you know where everything is. Also show that you take care to adjust your seat and your mirrors (both wing and rear view), check your fuel and any other indications in the dashboard. Also, don’t forget to adjust and fasten your seatbelt and to check that the examiner has done so as well.
In most states, the scored parts of the test are:
This part of your test will be conducted on an empty lot. You’ll be asked to perform certain maneuvers such as parking, driving in reverse, etc. The examiner will pay special attention to your visual skills, reverse driving, use of mirrors and signals, judgment of space, steering, braking and accelerating.
This part of the test is where the examiner will judge whether you can manage everything you need to drive yourself around the city. They will ask you to drive along a predetermined route, performing certain maneuvers and properly reacting to the traffic.
During this part, don’t be afraid to ask your examiner to repeat their instructions. The key to the road test is being attentive and careful, and they will appreciate your asking.
Try to stay calm, use the car you practiced with, and keep a clear mind (remember to schedule your road test for after your exams or tests, so as not to feel worried or preoccupied). This are the most common items your examiner will evaluate:
The examiner will check that you use the correct turn signals, and that you activate them at the proper time – which is approximately 100 feet ahead of the turn. Also, remember to check traffic in every direction, to move to the correct lane, and to brake slowly and evenly before making the turn. If for any reason you must fully stop before turning, make sure to keep the front wheels straight and to leave a prudent gap between you and the next car forward.
This is a very common thing for your examiner to ask during the road test. Check traffic in all directions, and also turn over your shoulder to check your blind spots, i.e., the spots you can’t see using your mirrors.
If your road test takes you through urban or other highly populated areas, your examiner will expect you to check for pedestrians or bikers more frequently. Try to do so every six or seven, making it obvious every time you do it. Also, maintain a reasonable and safe speed that allows you to keep track of pedestrians and other vehicles.
In rural or express highways, also remember not to drive too slowly as there usually is a minimum speed requirement. When entering or exiting an express highway, be very thorough and careful when checking the traffic, merging into the correct lane, and keeping a prudent space between you and other cars.
Your road test will take you through many intersections. Make sure to approach them very carefully, checking traffic through your mirrors every couple seconds, before and after crossing them.
Yield the way to any vehicles or pedestrians, or come to a full stop if there’s a stop sign. Remember to come to a full stop, and to stop in the right place – before the stop line, crosswalk, or sidewalk. When crossing the intersection, make sure to do it neither too fast nor too slow. Carefully estimate the time it will take you.
If you take the time to study these recommendations and practice every mentioned item in your driving lessons, you will likely pass your road test. Remember to get a lot of practice, and don’t be embarrassed if you want to ask questions!