The California Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that you review your operator’s license handbook and other available print materials. Although a road test is skills-based, these publications outline driving laws, describe safe driving practices and provide details on how to correctly perform required driving maneuvers. Look for a checklist that tells you exactly which skills and maneuvers to master prior to scheduling a road test.
Every state has a road test requirement for new drivers and, in some states, for new residents as well. While the specifics may vary slightly from one state to the next, most states test candidates on the same maneuvers and procedures. To improve your chance of passing the first time, follow some general tips and check with your states’ Department of Motor Vehicles for the specifics.
Review Print Materials
Inspect Your Car
The DMV testing examiner will inspect your car before starting the skills portion of the test. A failed inspection will result in an automatic failure. Check your vehicle for safety defects such as burned out lights, a loud exhaust system and cracked or nonfunctional side mirrors. Make sure that interior controls and seat belts work correctly. Bring with you the required personal identification, a proof of insurance certificate that meets your state’s minimum insurance requirements and a valid registration certificate.
Avoid Common Errors
Common errors affect both beginners and experienced drivers. Depending on the scoring system your DMV uses, committing any one of these may cause an automatic failure regardless of your overall score. According to Driver-Tests.org, the most frequent are:
- Rolling stops
- Improper lane changing
- Confusion at four-way stops
- Driving too slowly or too fast for conditions
- Improper merging skills
- Changing lanes in an intersection
- Following too closely
Get Enough Practice
Practice as much as possible in a variety of driving situations. Although drivers under 18 years of age usually must log a minimum of about 50 hours of practice driving, you may require more practice. Check with your local DMV or driver education school to see if the DMV publishes road test driving routes. If they do, concentrate on these routes, but don't limit your practice driving to them.
- California Department of Motor Vehicles: DMV's Driving Test How to Prepare for Your Driving Test
- Wisconsin Department of Transportation: Motorists’ Handbook
- Driving-Tests.org: DMV Test: 15 Common Mistakes to Avoid
- Michigan.gov: Driving Skills Test Study Guide
- Wisconsin Professional Driving School Association: DMV Road Test Route Information
- Photo Credit jim pruitt/iStock/Getty Images
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