A Road Test Experience and Tips from a student driver
Hello everyone! So I took my road test yesterday in Burnaby but unfortunately I didn’t make it. Main reason was because I missed a playground and I went 46 on a 30 zone. Also, I didn’t do a full 360 when I did my straight reverse exercise. For anyone taking their road test for the first time this summer, especially in Burnaby, here are some tips:
1. SCHOOL ZONES: they are NOT in effect UNLESS there is a sign underneath that says SUMMER SCHOOL IN SESSION. I drove around Moscrop Elementary school and that school zone is in effect. If you have been driving around for quite some time now, you should be familiar with what school zones look like so the extra sign underneath is not hard to miss. Also, make sure you also pay attention to where the zone ends! Just look for the back of the house-shaped sign on the left hand side of the road and once you pass it, speed up accordingly 🙂
Remember that playground zones are still in effect, every day of the year from dawn till dusk. Don’t worry about trying to figure out if what you see on the side of the road is actually a school or a playground or is just a couple of swing sets or a sand box; it is hard to tell sometimes if you’re just passing a patch of grass where kids might be playing, just read the signs to figure out the actual legal limit. Always think for yourself on what is the appropriate speed based on the conditions.
2. MAKE SURE YOU YIELD TO BUSES! Holy crap, the 28 bus was all up in my face during 65% of my test. NEVER overtake/pass a bus. Never. You never know when it’s gonna start moving again and if it’s only a one lane road (which Smith Avenue is), then you stay behind that bus and you yield!
If it’s not safe or legal to pass the bus then you’re right, don’t do it. It looks like part of Smith has double solid yellow lines; was this any part of your decision to go around or not go around? Legally, you must yield to the bus if it’s about to pull out or drive away again and this should be obvious by the large round turn signal! Keep in mind, sometimes busses are ahead of schedule and will stop at a bus stop for an extended period (at least longer than you will want to wait). I would like to say that most places where they do this are places where there’s enough room for a car to pass beside without breaking the law in terms of road lines or being dangerous or unsafe.
I don’t think you necessarily want to believe that you must stop and wait behind every bus, especially when you can see there are 40 people waiting to enter the bus, and a sufficient amount of space to pass beside without being dangerous or illegal. Stopping blindly for every single bus on every single road would be a good way to invite road rage, being rear-ended by the driver behind who does not anticipate you stopping when there is no good reason to, and of course, negatively impacting your road test.
The trick is to anticipate the movements of the bus well before you are right beside the back of it. If you’re looking far ahead up the road, as is recommended, perhaps you’ll be able to see how many people are waiting at the bus stop. If you can see there is only one person getting on the bus, then maybe that would make sense to be more prepared to yield.
I have bus dash cam footage, I will have to turn it into a useful video asap. Ok here is a start anyway:
3. Always be mindful of EVERYTHING. I also went around Burnaby hospital and there was a car that was leaving the parking lot and he was on the driveway. Right next to the driveway was the bus stop, where the bus was currently stopped letting passengers on/off. I’m not gonna overtake the bus anyway. So I let him go. Mind you, I WASN’T mindful of everything because I missed that stupid playground… -___-
That’s nice to hear you are being courteous and realizing it may be good to let another go in the case where you have to stop anyway.
4. Pedestrians: I never had problems with jaywalking pedestrians except for one. Again at Burnaby hospital. It was a little old granny and I saw her trying to cross the street. No crosswalk or anything but she was starting to edge slowly onto the road. LET HER CROSS. I just stopped (left her room and didn’t creep the road as she crossed, as if telling her MOVE YOUR BUTT WOMAN!). Made eye contact and gestured with my hands that she can go. I mean, you shouldn’t encourage jaywalking but assess the situation.
Dealing with jaywalking can be tricky. Some jaywalkers really want you to stop for them and other ones are planning to walk into the middle of the road and stop in the middle on the median while they wait for a space, so they want you to keep going. It will become easier to anticipate this with more experience. Sure, you do not want to encourage them to go if they are clearly waiting for a gap in the traffic; but if they’re already on the road, or it looks like they’re in a panic to cross the road and they are going to do something rather not smart regardless of what you do (someone running to try and catch the bus, for example), then it may be better to stop or slow down or help them in some way.
If granny is clearly determined to cross the road, it may be the best thing to let her go. Just be aware of other traffic coming in other directions who may not be expecting a pedestrian in the middle of a block. Assess whether you think it would be SAFE to you to stop and encourage them, regardless of the legality. If they’re on a curve on a road where the cars are speeding, that’s a lot different from a straight and flat road where you can see there are clearly no oncoming cars for miles (kilometers).
Be compassionate. She’s coming from a hospital, so she may not be thinking clearly. To you it may look like some old granny that’s holding you up and making you wait. But keep in mind that she is probably someone’s mom, someone’s wife, someone’s grandmother, someone’s best friend…
About the indicating/waving to tell someone to go. Think twice before doing this, as you may be held partially liable in the case of a collision. There are other ways to indicate that you are yielding to a pedestrian or a car, and you do this by your ‘vehicle language,’ stopping with ample distance and stopping completely without rolling forward, along with eye contact (I am happy you mentioned that) are a few ways to make it obvious to others that you are waiting for them.
5. Those of you concerned about your parking… LOLOLLL DON’T BE. One of the first things that I did was parallel park. I’m very confident in my parallel parking skills but I guess my nerves just got to me and I hit the curb TWICE and I went over the sidewalk OMFG. When my Examiner was telling me why I failed at the end of the test, he didn’t say anything about my parking. Yeah, I got points off but it wasn’t an automatic fail. SO DON’T WORRY!! And if you think you can’t fix it, do your best! I was getting really nervous because my boyfriend usually helps me fix my parallel parking if I screw up. But he wasn’t there so I had to do my best. MAKE SURE YOU PUT ON YOUR EMERGENCY AND PARKING BREAK EVERY TIME YOU FINISH PARKING!!
I agree parking should be one of the last things to worry about. It is important to know how to park the car to some degree, so that when you get where you’re going you don’t have to turn around and drive back home again because you have no idea what to do. It takes a long time to get really good at parking; longer than the one year a lot of new drivers spend driving before their N test. Examiners know this, and just want to see that you are being safe and observing the situation before backing the vehicle. It sounds not smart, but in reality, a lot of people including children walk behind vehicles that are reversing.
Just do your best, and try to fix anything that looks completely ridiculous. You don’t have to be perfect, as none of us are anyway.
6. EXAGGERATE YOUR SHOULDER/MIRROR CHECKS. Especially while parking/reversing/pulling out/pulling in parking spaces.
I’m not sure you have to exaggerate it; if you do too much it could look like an improper technique. But you are right, the examiner has to be able to tell that you are in fact doing the correct checks at the correct times.
7. NEVER turn right at reds without a full stop first. Never. Ever. You’re just asking to fail.
I agree. Red means stop. And yes, you will automatically fail the entire road test, even if everything else was perfect, if you do not stop first, as you just broke the law. If your light is red, it means someone else’s is green, and it’s your job to figure out who that is, where they’re coming from or about to be coming from, and to yield politely.
8. Put your seatbelt on BEFORE you start the engine.
9. Yield signs are NOT stop signs. Do not treat them the same way. Only stop at yield signs if you have to.
I agree! Yield means stop and yield IF there is someone there to yield to; otherwise, slow down if necessary to get visibility and then continue when safe.
10. The speed limit was 50 at all times outside school (if noted) and playground zones. However, there are a lot of hills in the area I took my test. Be mindful of your speed going down the hill between Moscrop and Price on Smith Avenue. There is a traffic light at the bottom of that hill. Be prepared to stop if the light changes.
It does feel strange on hills when you are new. The car will speed up without your permission going down hills, so you really have to check your speed and control your car. You can gear down your car (2nd gear) to help with this. Especially on rainy days this is a good option because it allows you to slow down potentially without the brakes, brakes can at times initiate poor control when it’s slippery.
That’s all, really. It’s all about being safe, guys. I saw my best friend yesterday and she told me the reason she failed was because her examiner could tell she was nervous and it showed. It affected her driving. I know it’s normal to be nervous. But if you’re a nervous wreck behind the wheel, no one is gonna want to get in that car with you.
If you want to conquer your fear of driving, then do what my boyfriend made me do when he was teaching me how to drive. Don’t just drive everywhere. Drive the busy roads that make you sh*t your pants during rush hour. My boyfriend made me get on Kingsway, Boundary (trucks everywhere!!), Willingdon… he even made me drive to Surrey and we took Patullo at 2pm on a Saturday. And then again at 11pm from Surrey all the way to Commercial. In the rain. He made me drive to Richmond too, through the Knight Street bridge on a busy Saturday afternoon. No.3 road is ridiculous by the way. Damn. Conquer your fears. The road test is nothing to be afraid of if you’re prepared and confident driving. The more confident you are, the more likely you will pass because you know what to look out for and what to do.
Your boyfriend is very wise. As long as you’re ready, and can confidently handle controlling the vehicle, then it is smart to challenge yourself. It’s true, if you can handle roads like Knight Street bride, Patullo, Kngsway, etc., then the road test will be a piece of cake. That is what it’s all about anyway. You are not trying to pass the road test so that you can drive around the road test route for the rest of your life, right? As soon as you have your independence, you’ll likely be thrown into “real life” traffic situations whether you like it or not; and you don’t want to be caught unprepared because you were driving in circles around Smith Street.
Good luck!! 🙂
Good Skills, Practice, & Experience.
Thanks Isabel for the tips and comments! To share your road test experience with others, email [ bcdrivingblog at gmail.com ]
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