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#1
Old 09-04-2002, 01:47 PM
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Need tips on passing my road test

Hi there.

I am finally getting my driver's license (something I've never bothered with becuz we don't drive in this town), and my road test is in a couple of weeks.

What happens? I hear inspectors are evil

Anyone have any tips or road test experiences of their own they'd like to share?

Please?

#2
Old 09-04-2002, 02:18 PM
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1) When parking your car before your test, do not back it in. I've heard that testers tend to think that you do this because can't back out of a space. If you do it to get the "backing into a parking space" part of the test out of the way, don't bother. In my road test (state of Hawaii), my test concluded with parallel parking anyway.

2) Don't panic.

3) Schedule your test for a low-traffic time of day (if there are multiple testing offices in your area, choose a low-traffic one of those too). Less traffic = less nervousness.

4) Don't run red lights to make left turns. (My friend, nervous about his test, did this. He failed.)
#3
Old 09-04-2002, 02:22 PM
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Stay focused and know the rules! If your road test is known to include parallel parking and 3-point turns (K-turns, Broken U turn, whatever you call it) practice these a LOT. Don't run any stop signs! Oh, here's a tip actually: don't take your road test in shoes you've never driven in before. There is great variance in feel between sneakers and Doc Martens, for example.

If you must err, err on the side of caution (safety) however it is possible to drive *too slowly* thereby making yourself a road hazard!

Growing up in NYC, I never got my license till I was 19. I messed up my parallel parking the first time, but the tester gave me a second chance. Actually it was pretty funny. I do my parallel parking thing, put the car in park. The tester looks at me.
"Are you finished?" he asks.
"errrm... yup." I answer, feeling that this is perhaps the wrong answer. He opens his passenger door, showing me that I'm more than a foot from the curb.
"This is not so good." he says.
"Errm. nope" I answer intelligently.
"hm," he says and considers my aging Nissan Sentra. "Does this thing have power steering?"
"no!" I say, rather excited for the first time at the Sentra's lack thereof.
<dramatic sigh>
"well, try again, then." I didn't waste my second chance! I did a good job and passed! Wooo-hooo!

In NYC nearly everyone I knew who failed, failed on parallel parking.
#4
Old 09-04-2002, 02:24 PM
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Well, road tests vary in the US from state to state (I think), but here are some tips:

1. No matter what, always remain calm. Panicking will cost you points. A good instructor won't allow it, and that's good - you should never panic in a car, anyway. Try to remain calm and focus on the job at hand.

2. Always be aware of your surroundings. The instructor will be watching to see if you check your mirrors before pulling out. Always be aware of other cars on all sides.

3. Do not make small talk. The instructor will consider this as distracting.

4. Don't race the car, whether out of nervousness or not. It's not a race to see who can finish the road test first.

5. Make sure that the car you have is built so that the passenger can reach over and touch the brake. I'm not sure if this is still a requirement, but when I got my license in 1988 I had to get a different car for this reason. The instructor must be able to stop the car if necessary.
#5
Old 09-04-2002, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hello Again
Oh, here's a tip actually: don't take your road test in shoes you've never driven in before. There is great variance in feel between sneakers and Doc Martens, for example.

If you must err, err on the side of caution (safety) however it is possible to drive *too slowly* thereby making yourself a road hazard!
The shoe tip is a great tip! Thanks!

Also, I heard that during the test you have to drive no faster than 25 mph! That's gonna be tough to remember!

Thanks for your tips, everyone!

I have been having road test nightmares for a couple of weeks now.
#6
Old 09-04-2002, 03:51 PM
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1) Exagerrate looking both ways at stop signs. I looked, but the examiner didn't see it, so she yelled at me.

2) Don't argue with the examiner. Repeatedly telling her that I did in fact look both ways did not help.



Next time I exagerrated all my looking movements, (and took the test in a less busy area) and passed.
#7
Old 09-05-2002, 08:55 AM
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Location: Boston, MA
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I went for my road test 4 times before I passed. By the end, I was a giant mass of nerves.

Attempt #1: Hand Signals
I took driver's ed in Fla, but my road test in Boston. They didnt emphasize hand signals in my driver's ed. We get in the car, he asks me to roll down the window and show him my signals. I freeze. Thinking back to elementary school bike safety, I remember left and right. "What about the others?" For the life of me, I couldnt remember any more. He failed me before we even left the parking lot. (FTR, the other is slow down/stop. Ive never seen it used in everyday driving)

Attempt #2: Actual Driving
My turns were shaky, and he just didnt have great confidence in me. As a last chance to save myself, he asked me to parallel park. I cant to save my life. He was really nice about it though

Attempt #3: The Application
I'd called the RMV and asked them to send me the blue application, but it never got to me. I never got a chance to stop by and pick one up beforehand. My mom and I figured we'd just go early, and fill out an application while we waited. My appointment was at 8, the RMV apparently didnt open until 9. I got the same cop who'd failed me on hand signals. He also failed me for not having an application.

Attempt #4: Different RMV
I gave up on Brockton, and went to Taunton. I got a much nicer guy. I ran over the curb while making a right turn, he chaulked it up to nervousness and let me slide. I didnt have to parallel park, and I think I was in the car for a total of 5 minutes.

In the end I paid $113 to get my license. They tack on $20 each time you fail....the cashier was laughing at me.

Biggest tip, just relax. And, make sure you know your hand signals.
#8
Old 09-05-2002, 09:07 AM
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Some quick tips:

- Don't turn on red, even you don't see a sign. Assume you can't and wait for the green.
- Use your turn signal every time. They will deduct points each time you forget.
- Always turn into the closest lane.
- Make sure the car is in good working order. A very rude instructor failed me because the high beams in the car weren't working.
#9
Old 09-05-2002, 09:09 AM
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I almost forgot,


GOOD LUCK!!!!
#10
Old 09-05-2002, 09:29 AM
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They tested yer freaking high beams???!!!!!????

Thanks for the tips and well wishes, Frank.
#11
Old 09-05-2002, 10:04 AM
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Hand signals? That's just wrong.
#12
Old 09-05-2002, 10:09 AM
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Holy crap, Pammipoo, thanks for the hand signal tips! I *do* know them, but I didn't think they'd test ya on it!
#13
Old 09-05-2002, 10:49 AM
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Lola,

Where are you taking it? I hope you're gonna do it in the burbs.

Watch out for the cabs.

Frank, if she turns on red, she's in trouble. Illegal in NYC.
#14
Old 09-05-2002, 11:09 AM
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Hell YES I'm doing it in the burbs! Well, kinda...in Queens. There is no way I'm doing my road test among the cab driving road warriors in Manhattan.

lurkernomore is right - no right turn on red in NYC unless there is a sign saying it's OK.
#15
Old 09-05-2002, 11:23 AM
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Hope you've practiced in Queens already. It's not Manhattan, but it's close, in some parts. (Flushing for example.)

But it may work for you, since they cut you some slack? I dunno, GonzoGal just got her license on the first try in Flushing (at age 24).

Oh, and when going around the inevitable double parkers, remember to signal, and give them a wide berth. (that's how I failed the first time in Newburg NY)
#16
Old 09-05-2002, 11:34 AM
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Here's my #1 tip- Use your mirror and look over your shoulder before backing up, changing lanes etc. I've heard of people being failed for not doing this.

This is also the best habit a new driver can develop.

Oh, and don't talk on your cell phone during the test.

Good Luck!
#17
Old 09-05-2002, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by LolaCocaCola
[B]Hell YES I'm doing it in the burbs! Well, kinda...in Queens. There is no way I'm doing my road test among the cab driving road warriors in Manhattan.
Practice there. Frankly, I took Driver's ed on a 12 lane road (Queens Blvd.) where they killl a pedestrian a month (avg over a 8 yr period, really), and Midtown isn't as bad. Traffic is slower, and you have traffic lights at virtually all intersections. Brooklyn, IMHO, with obstructed views, stop signs on some side streets and not on the main street, etc, is the toughest place I've ever driven. DC and Boston were cake.

Of course, if you're out in the back of Douglaston or some such, should be a snap. Good luck.
#18
Old 09-05-2002, 12:20 PM
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Lay off the horn, use hand signals!

Jeez what is wrong with you people aren't you born knowing how to drive?

I've been driving 25 out of 40 years now, I think my husband and I have passed on driving genes to our kids, we let em steer all the time!
#19
Old 09-05-2002, 12:34 PM
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I did fail my first driving test. It was parallel parking too!In My parents Cordova. Took Vinn's chevelle next and got the card.
#20
Old 09-05-2002, 12:45 PM
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My road test will be in Middle Village. Anybody know what that place is like?

#21
Old 09-05-2002, 02:14 PM
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I let a friend borrow my car to take his driving test. He did OK up to the 3-point turn. He completed it, then drove to the end of the road - on the wrong side!! He did pass the second time he took it.

I'd suggest a LOT of practice so that you're very comfortable in the car - that makes a big difference.
#22
Old 09-05-2002, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by LolaCocaCola
Also, I heard that during the test you have to drive no faster than 25 mph! That's gonna be tough to remember!
Hm? Drive at the posted speed limit, which in town may be 25.

Don't:

Cut in front of a pedestrian trying to cross the sidewalk at the exit from the DMV.
Swerve subtly across the double yellow line.
When turning right at a red light (this was in DC), start out before letting the traffic go by on green
Failed my first test miserably at age 21. The instructor actually made me move over while she drove us back to the DMV.

Do:

Have your radio turned off when you turn the car on.
Pretend to (or really do) check your mirrors before turning on the car.
Remain composed even if they start small talk to see if you can still concentrate.
Follow the lowest posted speed limit even if you're not sure school is in session--be on the safe side.

Passed my second test at age 29. It was in small town ville so the test was short and sweet with no parallel parking. We rarely have to do that here.

Oh, and about the high beams. They may also test your emergency brake so make sure that is in good order.
#23
Old 09-05-2002, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by LolaCocaCola
Also, I heard that during the test you have to drive no faster than 25 mph! That's gonna be tough to remember!
Hm? Drive at the posted speed limit, which in town may be 25.

Don't:

Cut in front of a pedestrian trying to cross the sidewalk at the exit from the DMV.
Swerve subtly across the double yellow line.
When turning at a red light (this was in DC), start out before letting the traffic go by on green
Failed my first test miserably at age 21. The instructor actually made me move over while she drove us back to the DMV.

Do:

Have your radio turned off when you turn the car on.
Pretend to (or really do) check your mirrors before turning on the car.
Remain composed even if they start small talk to see if you can still concentrate.
Follow the lowest posted speed limit even if you're not sure school is in session--be on the safe side.

Passed my second test at age 29. It was in small town ville so the test was short and sweet with no parallel parking. We rarely have to do that here.

Be sure your emergency brake is in good working order too.
#24
Old 09-05-2002, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by LolaCocaCola
My road test will be in Middle Village. Anybody know what that place is like?

been a while, but IIRC: Lot of residential, some commercial. Not too bad. Crossbay/Woodhaven Blvd is a big strip, I don't think it gets as far north as Queens Blvd. Speed? Watch the traffic. If you are doing 25 and everyone else is doing at least 40, you are a problem. Do a little slower than the average person. City limit, unposted, is 30. Be careful is you go around stop signs - don't assume the other guy is going to stop. If a guy semi-runs it, you may get flunked for failure to anticipate. Drive around the area a bit too - you aren't supposed to drive the course, but the surroundings may help give you an idea of the area.
#25
Old 09-05-2002, 04:37 PM
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This is going to sound cold hearted, but you shouldn't be looking for tips on how to pass. You probably know how to drive so just do it normally and you will pass easily. If you don't know how to drive then you shouldn't be on the road and you shouldn't pass. In that case, wait and practice some more until you know what you are doing.

But good luck anyway.
#26
Old 09-05-2002, 04:51 PM
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When I got tested, one of the big tips going in was that they would try to catch you by not wearing their seatbelt. If you didn't tell them to put it on and just started driving, you'd fail.

So imagine my "aha" feeling when my tester got in and didn't put on his belt. "Go ahead and pull out to the right," he said.

"Shouldn't you fasten your seatbelt first?" I asked, a bit smugly. Ha ha, you didn't catch me!

"No," he answered, "It's okay. Just pull out to the right." ACK! Now what? They didn't prepare me for this! Well, I did what he asked and he didn't fail me, so I guess that tip stinks. (This was after he got in the car and wrote some stuff down and then said, "Okay, start the car." I had to tell him, "Umm, the car is running already, sir." Maybe it wasn't his day.)

Also, don't do what the lady before me did and immediately pull into the wrong way lane of traffic and fail on the spot. It not only gets you a fail, it gives the person behind you the willies.

In the end, I totally screwed up parallel parking (0 of 8 points) but I still passed with a 70 something. Woo hoo!
#27
Old 09-05-2002, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by wolfman
This is going to sound cold hearted, but you shouldn't be looking for tips on how to pass. You probably know how to drive so just do it normally and you will pass easily. If you don't know how to drive then you shouldn't be on the road and you shouldn't pass. In that case, wait and practice some more until you know what you are doing.

But good luck anyway.
Well, I'd just like to say that even with my limited driving experience, I still drive better than most of the ass-clowns out there who are either yapping on their cell phones, not using their signals or tailgating when *I* am driving at the speed limit.

But thanks for the well wishes!

Thanks, emulsified - I never would have thought to ask the inspector to put on his seatbelt! Good tip.
#28
Old 09-05-2002, 05:07 PM
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When you park, or at the end of the test, apply the parking/emergency brake, even if you're driving an automatic and don't normally do this. Get in the habit of always doing it before you take your test- it's probably worth a point or two. (Just don't forget it's on when you take your test though!)
#29
Old 09-05-2002, 06:21 PM
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Whoa...didn't you have to do a course at some point? At least a theoretical one, if not practicals? In our theoretical course we covered all the minute silly things to do: check mirror, look both ways, check mirror, check blind spot check mirror, look again, now go! That kind of thing. I am SO glad I took drivers ed with a driving school and took practical lessons. Even if it is optional, I am sure I would pay for my kids to have lessons, and I recommend them to anyone. The teachers know what they look for on the test, and the good ones will give you all the tips and tricks you need.

Well, good luck anyways!
#30
Old 09-05-2002, 06:34 PM
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Re: Setting your parking brake -- You should always, always set your parking brake when parking the car whether or not you are taking the test and whether it is stick or automatic.

Always put your seat belt on and check to be sure mirrors are adjusted properly before starting the engine. To be sure the examiner notices that you are checking the mirrors make a point of adjusting them whether they need it or not.

Before the day you take the test, go to the actual office where the test will be done and drive around (a lot!) to become famliar with the area. Make special note of speed limits of various streets.

If you will also take a written test make sure you study the driver's handbook carefully. When distances or other numbers are quoted (such as how close you may park to a fire hydrant) make sure you can remember the actual number.
#31
Old 09-05-2002, 08:56 PM
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Far and away THE most important thing to set a good tone is to ask the passenger if they would please put on their seat belt. And exagerrate exerything.
#32
Old 09-05-2002, 09:41 PM
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Thanks for the parking brake tip! I NEVER would have thought of that one!
#33
Old 09-05-2002, 10:08 PM
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My test:

I practiced driving in the test area and familiarized myself with the one-way and speed restrictions. I even discretely followed test vehicles. - My examiner took me in a completely different direction, in a different area.

My instructor taught me that it is safest to drive with the flow of traffic, even if it's over the limit. But I was also warned that I'd be failed outright if I ever exceeded the speed limit by even 1 km/h during the test. I spent days practicing driving at the exact speed limit. After all, if the limit is 50 km/h, and you're matching the limit, sometimes you're going to go 48, and sometimes 52. So I learned to drive always a couple km/h less than the limit, just in case. - My examiner took me into heavy traffic where everyone was speeding, perfectly normal in that area. I drove at the limit. I was obstructing traffic. Cars were swerving to get around me. The examiner asked me if I thought that was a good idea. I told him, normally I'd drive with the flow since that's safest, but I was told I'd be failed if I exceeded the limit. He told me just to drive normally and safely.

The car I'd been practicing in wasn't available for the test, so I used a test vehicle supplied by them. I started the car and almost immediately came to a stop sign. (Placed for that reason.) I reached for the brake. It wasn't there! Where's the brake? I kept reaching and reaching. There it is! This car's brake was several inches further away than my practice car. I stopped just in time. - The examiner suggested that it is the driver's responsibility to familiarize himself with the vehicle before starting the engine.

Most important is attitude. - At the end of the test, the examiner told me that my score was just at the limit, it could go either way. He asked me "How do you think you did?" - I said "I think I made too many big mistakes." (I had accidentally outright broken three separate laws during the test!) - He said "Congratulations. You're a licensed driver." - They know that new drivers make mistakes, we're all human. They just want to make sure you're going to be careful and take your responsibility seriously. A skilled driver that's cavalier can be more dangerous than a marginal but careful driver.

After I got my license, I rented a car for the weekend so that I could practice my new found privilege. Monday morning, driving the car back to the rental place, I completely totalled the car. Looked like an accordian. Just one block from my house. I didn't see a red light and slammed into a truck going through the intersection. Ouch.
#34
Old 09-06-2002, 04:20 AM
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I was warned about being sure to set the parking brake by someone else who almost failed because he didn't set it. Then again, I always set the break when I'm parking.

You should be checking the traffic around you, esp. at intersections and such, but make sure to exaggerate this. Nearly all the points I lost on the driver's test (which I took three weeks ago and passed) were because the tester didn't think I was checking traffic enough -- which is funny to anyone who's seen me drive, because I'm still an extremely paranoid driver and I'm always looking at what's going on around me. But I guess that didn't show so well behind my shades.

Also, you may be asked to locate things like the brake, the hazard lights, etc. Normally not a problem -- though when asked where the windshield defroster was all I could do was wave vaguely at the climate controls. Apparently that was good enough.

And always look over your shoulder when you change lanes. If you check and there's someone there, and you wait for them to pass you, check again before you actually change lanes. Another thing I lost points on.
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#35
Old 09-06-2002, 10:23 AM
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Well, with all this advice, I HAD BETTER PASS on my first shot or else I'm gonna feel pretty foolish!
#36
Old 09-06-2002, 12:30 PM
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Interesting, but yesterday I went to my library & there on the counter was a little booklet from the state of California about this & how to do it & a bunch of things about driving & laws. You might look around in your library.
#37
Old 09-06-2002, 12:55 PM
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Lola, are you taking classes through a driver's school? I did and one of the most helpful things the instructor did was to take me a tour of the testing area and point out some road hazards, downed stop signs, etc (I did my test in Red Hook). Thus when I went to take the test the area was somewhat familiar. I suggest a quick car tour of Middle Village an environs.

For non-NYC readers, it is not at all uncommon for New Yorkers to be non-drivers well into their 20s and beyond. My parents last owned a car in 1980, so I didn't exactly have a lot of chance to practice growing up. Car ownership in NYC: who needs the tsurris*? Exorbitant registration fees, alternate side of the street parking, car theft, absurd insurance rates... the list goes on.

*trouble, hassle, annoyance (Yiddish)
#38
Old 09-06-2002, 01:02 PM
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Hello Again, my instructor said it's very forbidden to go driving around the test area.
#39
Old 09-06-2002, 01:22 PM
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Lola,
I think you can have someone drive YOU around - you're not supposed to drive it.

Hello Again is right about a lot of NYers not driving - I did get a laugh when someone showed me something in a RPG (GURPS) - the average adult is assumed to know how to drive, except NYers, who are assumed to NOT know. I know several people who never had a license.
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