Taking a driving test can be an exciting but stressful event in anyone’s life. So stressful, in fact, that you can forget even some of the basics when it comes to getting behind the wheel and hitting the road. There are also some things that people just are not aware of or don’t take into consideration when it comes to taking the road exam.
Review some of the common things people forget when taking a driving exam and you will be well on your way to passing that test, and on the first try.
Remind yourself of their importance before the start
This is usually in relation to the dreaded parallel parking that some states or areas require during the road test. The problem is that many drivers think they are supposed to attempt to have this mastered and be able to perform this quickly. The truth is that it is a much better idea to be safe, take your time and show that you grasp the concept as opposed to trying to hurry through it. Leave the appropriate amount of space between your car the cars in front and back of you, too. And, by all means, remember that if you are parking on a hill to use the emergency break.
The person administering the test wants to see a driver who is confident about his or her ability behind the wheel. Stomping on the brake or the gas pedal can demonstrate you may not yet be ready to be on the road. Learn how to gently accelerate from any stop, keep an even speed and pace while in motion and then be prepared to come to a gentle stop at signs or red lights. Obviously, if you are forced to brake for an emergency, this will not be held against you. But if you see the need approaching to brake, ease into it.
One of the keys to good driving skills is to learn to handle curves.
To summarize, this means slowing beforehand and, when needed, accelerating into the curve slightly to avoid sloppy or careless curve rounding. An examiner is not going to feel sure about your driving skills if you are jerky moving through a turn, lose too much speed or have too much speed taking the curve. Keep it smooth, gentle, steadily paced and make sure you do not cross the center line.
A very common mistake on road tests is to change lanes while going through an intersection. Not only is this not going to earn you any good points on your test, in most areas, it is illegal. So, don’t even consider it an option. Otherwise, remember to check the lane you are moving into with mirrors and by physically turning to look, use your signal and move steadily into the other lane. Again, the person giving the test wants to see fluent moves that are done with confidence.
You may be nervous while taking the exam, but use common sense when going through an intersection or accelerating from a stopped position. Other drivers may not be paying attention and, even though it feels like the whole world must know it, no one else is aware that you are taking a test. Check carefully before risking the safety of yourself and the examiner through an area someone could still fly through.
If you have not yet mastered the manual transmission, do not use it for your testing. In fact, if you are not 100% certain you are better with a stick shift, consider using an automatic. Grinding gears, stalling or coasting to a stop are not good methods to use to make a good impression during your road test. Even if you are usually fairly decent driving a stick, if you fear you may freeze up due to nerves on the driving exam, do not risk it.
Obviously, you need to leave enough space between you and the car in front of you when driving in general, but it is especially important when you are taking your road test. The same holds true for making certain you are not being followed too closely. If someone is right behind you and you fear for the safety of yourself and the examiner, slow down slightly to allow more space between your car and the one in front of you.
Here is a general rule for keeping a safe following distance:
Make the test examiner know why you are backing off a bit. If you show confidence in your decision about this, he or she will appreciate your judgment call. Keep in mind during bad weather to back off even more from the car in front of you.
When in doubt, use that signal. You will certainly lose points for not using the signal when you should, but more than likely not have points taken off for overusing the signals. Again, even if you are not sure, make the decision with confidence and the test giver is bound to feel better about passing you.
While the person giving the test is not going to refuse to tell you what to do in a particular situation, especially if your or their safety may be in jeopardy, this is, in most cases, an immediate fail. The person administering the road test needs to know you will be able to handle yourself when it comes to being a licensed driver on the open road. Since, in real life driving, you will not have someone with you to help make important decisions about what to do. Study your manual and know the rules well enough to avoid needing input. Of course, if an emergency arises, do ask, but know it may mean you will have to take the test again.
If the car wouldn’t pass state inspection or is obliviously a hazard, do not use it. This also, in most cases, will be an immediate fail and you will not be able to take the test, anyway. Also, take a few moments to clean the car out.
It might be a good call to drive through a car wash
Show some respect to the person who will be administering the test and don’t expect him or her to sit on fast food wrappers while giving the road exam.
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