How to pass your driving test

On the Road 3 min read

The road test is the last obstacle between a driving student and the freedom of being a newly licensed driver. The road test can be a significant obstacle for some aspiring drivers. However, learning how to pass your road test should be doable with practice and the right approach. And if you’re stressing out about your test, it might help to know that many drivers don’t know the rules of the road and could use a refresher.

Driving test tips

Learning what you need to know for your road test starts well before test day. The following tips can help prepare you to be as ready as possible when you take the test.

Get plenty of driving time

Experience is the most critical factor in good driving. Statistics show that new drivers, especially young ones, experience a substantial drop in crash rates in their first year of driving as they gain experience. Don’t settle for your state’s minimum number of practice hours. Especially as test day approaches, logging as many practice driving hours in as many different environments as possible is an important way to pass the driving test. If you’re an adult new driver, your state may not require you to take driving lessons with an instructor.

However, some in-car lessons can help you master finer points and build safe driving habits that even experienced drivers may have forgotten. Learn more about how to practice driving.

Know your state’s testing process

How to pass the driving road test varies by state because each state’s test is different. They vary in length, difficulty, and the skills you’ll be explicitly required to demonstrate. For example, not all states require you to pass a parallel parking test, but most have some maneuverability component. Study your state’s test structure and give extra attention to the specific skills you must demonstrate.

Schedule a practice test

Taking a practice test is a great way to pass your driving test sooner. If you haven’t been taking professional driving lessons, consider signing up with an instructor for an hour or two to simulate the test. A good instructor can tell you if you’re ready to pass the test and offer specific driving test tips based on your performance. The instructor may even know what things test evaluators in your area are pickiest about, so you can spend extra time practicing those skills.

Things to remember on your road test

Once you’ve learned what to expect in the test, practiced your driving skills, and familiarized yourself with the test area, you’re ready to take the exam. The following driving test tips can help you on test day:

Bring a safe vehicle

The driving examiner will inspect your car to ensure it’s safe and street-legal before the test. Ensure all your car’s equipment is in good working order, including brake lights and turn signals, or you could fail the test before you start it. Learn more about the car requirements for a driving test and car insurance when taking a driver’s test.

Stay calm

Taking your road test can feel like a lot of pressure, but if you fail, you can always retake it. All states allow you to retake the test as many times as you need to pass. It’s not the end of the world if you need multiple tries. Putting the test in perspective this way can help you stay calm during it — and for some people, it can be an important part of passing the driving test the first time. If you fail the driving portion of the test, you will only need to retake the driving portion. The written driver’s test will be evaluated separately.

Avoid automatic fails

States generally use a points system to evaluate drivers taking the test. You may lose a few points from small errors, but you don’t have to be perfect to pass your driver’s test. However, certain kinds of mistakes will automatically fail the test, depending on your state. Examples include:

Learn more about seatbelt laws and student driver car accidents.

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