Preparing for Your Road Test by Shelby Fix



drivers ed road test

by Shelby Fix, Car Coach 2.0™

I was so excited to take my road test.  When the day finally came and I was nervous but passed with 100% because I took the time to learn what it takes to pass the test and had both lots of experience behind the wheel, and a great parent who took the time to educate me.

The driving test is designed to check if you know the rules of the road.  You MUST have the knowledge and skills to drive safely with those rules.  Most importantly, you have to drive with the intention of being safe and being aware of other drivers.

Preparing for Your Driving Test

You should:

• carefully study the rules of the road for your state
• seek the assistance of a good driving instructor or class
• practice driving as much as possible on all types of roads and in all types of traffic situations, including driving at night
• build up your driving experience and confidence before taking your test
• practicing on driving test routes the day before is really smart!


• unnecessarily traffic or inadvertent annoyance to other drivers
• congested roads—they are not the place to practice 3 point turns or parallel parking( even though you may have to do it once you get your license).

Special Circumstances:

You should notify the Driver Testing Section in advance if you:
• have a severe hearing problem;
• are restricted in your movements or have any disability which could affect your driving;
• drive an adapted vehicle.

This will eliminate delay on the day of your test.

Your Appointment  

Appointments for driving tests are arranged on line or over the phone through the Department of Motor Vehicles in your area. The national average waiting time for a driving test is 10 weeks.

Be sure to write down the time, date and location for the test together with what paperwork you need to bring.
If you have to cancel and rebook the appointment call as early as you know about the change.

Day of the Road Test

You should be prepared to show up at the test location 15 minutes before the appointed time of your test. If you are late, the test cannot be taken in many states.

• The driver tester will check your permit and required paperwork.
• You will need to provide the vehicle’s insurance and registration

The Road Test

The driving test is straightforward. It will last about 15-30 minutes depending on the state.

The road test includes:

• questions on the Rules of the Road (including identifying road signs)
•  demonstrating hand signals
• parallel parking
• three point turns
• driving with cross walks
• driving approximately five miles under a variety of road and traffic conditions.

Your driving will be assessed in the following situations:

• seatbelt usage
• driving off
• driving in traffic
• stopping
• reversing
• three point turns
• not hitting the curbing
• parking

Aspects of your road test will include:

• road positioning
• overtaking and passing
• anticipation and observation
• use of mirrors and signals
• speed
• compliance with traffic lights, road signs and markings
• use of the vehicle controls (accelerator, clutch, gears, brakes and steering)
• use of other controls such as wipers, turn signals, etc.

Passengers other than the driver being tested and Department officers are not allowed to ride along with you.   They can stay at the testing start point.

Useful information to help you:

• the driver tester knows that you may be nervous and will try to put you at ease
• unlike your instructor, the driver tester will not offer you encouragement or advice. You should not be put off by this formal approach which is designed to ensure fairness to all applicants
• while you will be given clear directions throughout the test, should you not understand a particular direction, ask the tester to repeat or clarify it
• if you make a mistake, do not worry unduly. It may not be as serious as it appears and may not mean you have failed

Common Faults Contributing to Test Failure:

The following are the most common faults which lead to candidates failing the driving test:

• inadequate observation when driving off, at intersections, at roundabouts and/or when changing lanes
• failure to anticipate the actions of other drivers
• incorrect road position on the straight, on bends, turning left, turning right, at roundabouts, and when overtaking/passing
• incorrect or inadequate use of mirrors and signals
• non-compliance with traffic controls, e.g. road signs and markings and traffic lights
• incorrect inadequate or inappropriate use of vehicle controls, including gears, clutch; accelerator, steering, handbrake, footbrake, and secondary controls
• excessive speed for the road or traffic conditions
• failure to yield the right of way to others
• hitting the curb during parallel parking
• lack of competence in driving

Your Test Results

If You Pass Your Road Test:

You will receive a temporary driver’s license. This enables you to drive off from the test.  Your new license will arrive in the mail.

If You Fail Your Road Test:

You will receive a detailed report on the faults which occurred during the test. Pay particular attention to these when preparing for your next test without, of course, neglecting other aspects of your driving.

Remember, passing the driving test is not the end of the learning process; so continue to drive carefully and build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions.

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