Avoid all those common driving-test mistakes.
The practical DMV test is your driving exam and the last step of the process you go through to obtain your driver's license. The test is administered by the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) branch, or whatever it is called in the state where you live. It is sometimes feared by those needing to pass it, but it does not have to be all that nerve-wracking, as long as you're properly prepared. During this test, you will go out on the road with a road-test examiner sitting next to you to score your driving skills and determine whether you are fit for driving. If you are deemed a safe and competent driver, you pass the test and get your license. Procedures, requirements, and rules may vary somewhat depending on your state, however, but there are some commonalities.
Before you can take the test, you will need to comply with the following - this list is not identical in all states, however these are the commonalities:
Remember to wear your seatbelt and keep in mind that you are not allowed to drive yourself to the appointment. If you do, you won't be allowed to take the test and you will be barred from taking it for several months.
Obtain the driver's guide/manual applicable to your state, where you can find all the things you should know for the driving test in your state. The basic idea is for the examiner to judge whether you are competent and safe on the road, so you will be required to perform certain tasks and actions, and if you fail to do so, will lose points. Some mistakes are minor and cost only a few points on your test, but you may be failed if you make more than three mistakes on your pre-drive checklist or more than fifteen (or twenty in some cases) on your driving test. Also, you are failed if you make just one critical error. The examiner has to determine that you are capable of confidently and safely operating a vehicle in accordance with the driving laws of your state. You will be tested on lane changing, three-point turns, merging onto a highway, using hand signals, and parallel parking (reverse, angled parking between traffic cones), among other things.
A few minor faults like patchy signaling or jerky driving won't necessarily cause you to fail your driving test. However, certain critical errors in your driving test will be the cause of an automatic fail on your driving test. These major faults usually include any type of illegal or dangerous driving activity, such as exceeding the speed limit, failing to stop at a stop sign or red traffic light, causing an accident, not yielding to pedestrians, or anything else that requires the examiner to intervene to avoid an accident. Any faults deemed dangerous from behind the wheel, is a sure way to fail.
Knowing how to not fail your driving test comes down to avoiding the most common driving-test mistakes, which includes:
One of the best road-test tips is to get lots of practice beforehand, preferably at a driving school. Feel free to discuss all your concerns and questions with the instructors - they are there to help. The more driving hours you have, the better: experience counts. Keep in mind that a licensed driver must accompany you at all times. Practice all the basic techniques of signaling, turning, stopping, backing up, merging, and parking, so you can perform them all with confidence. Familiarize yourself with all the road signs in the manual again before the test. Make sure your vehicle is properly prepared for test day and choose an appropriate vehicle that is easy to maneuver. A small sedan, such as a Nissan Sentra, or a compact or small SUV or crossover such as a Kia Seltos, would be ideal.
If you follow these guidelines and study your state's guide, you will be properly prepared for your driving test. It is important to be confident, but you must also remain cautious. Don't let a few unnecessary mistakes cost you a retry. Put in the necessary time and effort to prepare yourself well, so you can be relaxed on the day of the test. If you can demonstrate that you are a safe and responsible driver, passing your driving test with flying colors will be easy.
If you don't successfully complete the test, you'll have to return and retake it. Ask your examiner to go through the test with you and show you clearly what you did wrong, so you can correct your mistakes at your next appointment. Don't be discouraged; not everyone passes on their first try.
Usually, no longer than about twenty minutes, depending on the traffic and your DMV. Each examiner is also different, so set aside a solid block of time to focus on this.
This depends entirely on the state. In Massachusetts, for example, you are not allowed to. Consult your local driving laws or ask your driving-school instructor or local DMV.
This varies by state. You may have to renew your driving license every four years in many states, but in others, it may only be required every eight years. Different rules may apply in the states for specific age groups too. We explore this more in this blog post.