The Do’s and Don’ts of the drivers test


A student at Rock Bridge attempts to park his jeep. Photo credit to Jordan Rogers

Jordan Rogers

It is one of the most daunting and important tests a teen will take. No, it’s not the ACT or the SAT, not an EOC for your “favorite” math class or even a “thrilling” AP exam. From a study done by CBS, the intense test has caused four out of every 10 people to fail their first try. This dreaded test is none other than the driving exam.
In most cases, when a teen turns 15 years old he or she will take a permit test (a written exam about the rules of driving) in order to receive their learner’s permit. Next comes the grueling process of learning to drive a car. Through months of enduring the challenges of driving, parents yelling and close calls, a teenager is able to test for a license once they turn 16.
It can be stressful going into the test blind (not literally) and having some tips and tricks about what and how you will be assessed can help ease some of that pressure. These same tips have even helped me pass my test.
The Do’s
… Get lots of practice- Practicing will only help increase  your driving skills, and make you more comfortable behind the wheel. Another tip is to practice in the car you will take your test in. Every car feels different in some way, so being comfortable with your car is very important. Using an empty parking lot can also ease your nerves when you first begin to learn to drive
.… Familiarize yourself with the area- After you feel comfortable behind the wheel, try to drive around the area where the test will be held. Although you will not know the path you will take until your test, driving around the general area will help you get use to traffic flow, speed, and the road difficulty.
… Study the rules- Although it sounds redundant, knowing the rules of driving is extremely important during the test. Not knowing what to do in a certain situation may cost you a lot of points and potentially the test. Simple things like knowing who has the right of way at a stop sign and which headlights to put on while it is foggy could come into play during the test. Before taking the driver’s test, it is helpful to memorize buttons like your defrost, windshield wipers, and air conditioning. Making sure the instructor is buckled up before you leave is also the driver’s responsibility and could cost you points.
… Ask questions- Asking friends and trusted adults questions can be very helpful in learning how to deal with different situations while driving. However, it’s probably not the greatest idea to ask the person giving your test questions about driving, as they might feel that you are not prepared.
… Be confident- Confidence is key while taking the driver’s test. Being nervous or unsure about your driving could make the instructor feel nervous, and be more likely to take off points. Staying calm and confident throughout the test will make you appear to be ready for your license, and make the instructor feel safe.
The Don’ts
Do not…
…  Bribe the instructor- Slipping the instructor a 20 WILL NOT increase your chances of passing. In fact it will most likely cause you to fail the test, and receive further punishment.
… Forget about your mirrors and signals- Using your side mirrors and rear-view-mirror is one of the most important parts of the exam. Drivers should check both mirrors every 10-15 seconds. Though that seems like a lot, it will make the instructor feel safer and will allow you to be aware of your surroundings. Using your turn signals is also key(no pun intended) in passing your drivers test. You should turn them on, approximately 100 feet from where you will be turning.
… Speed, or drive too slowly- Speeding is a huge mistake you can make on your driver’s test, and will end in an automatic fail. On the other side, while being cautious is usually a good quality to have while driving, going too slow can show a lack of confidence, and put the safety of you and other drivers at risk.
… Brake hard- Before you take your test, make sure you are familiar with the vehicle’s brakes. Although braking hard in certain situations is necessary, it is not recommended for your drivers test. It can show lack of attention to the road, and lack of control to your car. You should brake soon enough to give yourself time to stop while braking in a smoothly manner.
… Panic- If you do end up making a mistake, do not panic or make a big deal out of it. Chances are it won’t end up causing you to fail. Having light conversations with the instructor can also help ease awkward tensions in the car, and will also make you feel more comfortable.
By following these suggestions and tips, taking the driver’s test should be a breeze. If you do fail your first time, practice makes perfect, and you can take the test as many times as you need.