Top 5 Hints for Passing the DMV Road Test
July 8, 2011
Picture the DMV road test: new driver in the driver’s seat, driving examiner-with-clipboard-in-hand sitting beside him in the passenger’s seat, giving instructions and with an ever-so-tight grip on a pen, taking notes. The driving exam can be grueling for new drivers who are worried about passing/failing — in other words, anxiety may become a factor in passing the driving road test.
Here are the top 5 hints for passing the driving road test:
1. Get lots of practice during your learner’s permit period. In most states, there is a required waiting period from getting a permit or intermediate license before a new driver is allowed to take the road test. This is essentially the state giving the new driver a chance to practice all the skills needed to pass the road test.
2. Obey signs/signals and avoid hitting the cones/curbs. Just because the driving examiner is writing notes on the examination form, that doesn’t mean that new driver has made a mistake. The examiner has to write down the good things as well as the bad. Minor mistakes are allowed but, if those minor mistakes add up to 30 points, you will fail the exam. There are several things that will cause you to automatically fail the exam. Failure to obey traffic signals/signs or hitting the cones/curbs while parking or conducting the three-point-turn are the most common reasons for an automatic failure. For the stopping part, there’s this 4-second-stop rule: to be sure that the car is in a complete halt, step down on the brakes and count to 4 to make sure that the car is totally stopped. For the parking segments, ask a family member (who is a valid license holder) to show you exactly how to park the right way and then practice it – – a lot! Practice the three-point-turn on a narrow street. Practice makes perfect.
3. Follow the examiner’s directions, while demonstrating the ability to make the right decisions. The driving examiner will not ask you any trick questions nor will he or she ask you to do anything that is illegal. Driving is tricky enough all by itself so they don’t have to try to trick you. The examiner will give you straight, simple instructions. Don’t look for the hidden meaning in the instructions; just do as he/she says. If you truly don’t understand the instruction, ask for clarification. It is better to ask than to try to guess and make a mistake. The stupid questions are the ones that don’t get asked.
4. Obey the state’s driving law. This one’s pretty simple, even with varying laws between states, there are still driving laws that are common to most. An example would be:
- Properly wearing a seatbelt before starting the vehicle.
- Properly yielding to other traffic when changing lanes.
- Properly giving a turn signal when turning, changing lanes, or turning into or backing out of a parking space
- Safe driving around school buses and school zones. (There will usually be signs to follow.)
- Knowing the meaning of a Yield sign. Slow and look for other traffic or pedestrians crossing your path and be prepared to stop if necessary. If the way is clear, keep going.
- Stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- Don’t follow too close, maintain a two to three-second following distance.
5. Make sure you have all of the documents that will be needed. In order to take the road test, you will need a current vehicle registration slip that matches the dates on your tags. You will also need a current proof of insurance form. Both of these documents should be in the vehicle at all times. For proof of your ID to get a license, you will need a minimum of the following (check with your local DMV for a complete list):
- Birth Certificate with raised seal (or current passport)
- Social Security Card
- More than one proof of address, such as your parent’s electric or home insurance bills.
You will also need:
- A form signed by your parent of guardian showing you have received the necessary number of driving instruction hours for both day and night driving.
- Your parent’s written permission to receive a license (if under the age of 18).
- A certificate showing you have completed any state required driver education.
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