August 24, 2011
North Vancouver, British Columbia – Taking a road test can be challenging and nerve-wracking at any time of the year, even in favourable summer weather conditions. The Insurance Institute of British Columbia (ICBC) has five “top tips” for passing your road test.
Each year, more than half of new drivers pass their Class 7 novice road tests, and more than two-thirds of novice drivers pass their Class 5 exit road tests to receive a full driver’s licence.
The top tips are:
Practice makes perfect. Becoming a smart driver doesn’t happen overnight. Learn about smart driving habits by practicing for the knowledge test at ICBC, or through ICBC’s recently-released mobile application. Try to get as much driving experience as you can before taking your road test, in different traffic environments and weather conditions. Ideally, spend time learning with a professional driving instructor.
Watch your speed. Any violation of the Motor Vehicle Act during your road test will result in an automatic fail. The most common reason for failing a road test is speeding. It is vital that you do not go over the posted speed limit even if other drivers around you do. Pay attention to speed limits in school and playground zones, and be careful not to go over the speed limit when accelerating to merge onto a highway.
Keep your distance. Tailgating is not only frustrating but substantially increases your chance of crashing. Two seconds of following distance is about right on most city streets, but increase it to at least three seconds on highways, and four seconds in poor weather.
Observation is key. Poor observation is the second-most common reason for failing a road test. Be sure to check your mirrors when making a turn or changing lanes, then signal and shoulder-check for potential hazards such as other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. When turning, stay in your lane turning the whole turn. Don’t turn too wide or cut corners.
Make it a full stop. A common driver error is a “rolling stop” at stop signs rather than a complete stop. When you stop at intersections or crosswalks, make sure your vehicle is behind the white line. Your driver examiner will want to see you watch closely before proceeding, even if you have the right of way. Scan left, right and ahead, and when it is safe to pull into an intersection, go slowly. Pedestrians have the right of way at uncontrolled intersections and crosswalks.