A young woman passes her driving test

Tips and Tricks for Passing Your Driving Test

Getting a driver’s license is an important point in many people’s lives. It means the freedom that comes along with mobility, the roar of the engine, and the envy of your friends. But first, you have to pass the test. Here are some secrets that will make the task far less daunting.

Practice, practice, practice.

While it‘s important to read your driving manual cover to cover, the best way to learn how to drive is, well, by driving. When you are behind the wheel of a car, you will experience situations that weren’t covered in your driver's education class. This is where you learn how to manage those situations. Plus, getting comfortable driving takes some getting used to. You’re going to want to practice so you’ll be ready for anything the instructor will throw at you (this means parallel parking, too).

Learn your specific car.

Many driving exams occur in your personal car, rather than one of the clunkers at the DMV. This gives you the home field advantage. Learn everything you can about your car: how much pressure you need to put on your brakes, how to change the settings of the windshield wipers, how to get the seat in the perfect position for your legs. In order to be the master of your domain, you need to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.

Take advantage of empty parking lots.

Driving on a crowded street can be terrifying, especially if you’ve never done it before, but there is much that can be accomplished by driving in an empty parking lot. Go by the high school on a Saturday afternoon and practice staying in your lane. If you’re able to get your hands on some traffic cones, you can set up your own driving course to test yourself before hitting the open road.

Become familiar with the roads around the testing area.

During your driving test, you will never be taken too far away from where you start. This give you a good idea of the type of terrain that you will be asked to face in your test. Make sure you practice driving on these street, so when you actually have to do it for real it will be a piece of cake.

Get there early.

If you arrive half an hour before your scheduled time with all of your documents, this will make a great first impression on the driving instructor (which may make the difference with a borderline score). Getting to the DMV early will also help you avoid some of the long lines that can make it difficult to take your test in an orderly fashion.

Relax.

The reason many people fail their driving exam is that they panic and start making silly mistakes. Don’t psyche yourself out. You are a competent driver and you’ve spent all those hours driving down the backstreets of your neighborhood. There is no reason to lose your cool. It’s okay to be a little nervous, but keep it in check - or it may cost you your license.

Last Updated: September 26, 2017