No more demerit system


Gone are the days of demerits. These days when you go for a road test in BC, you receive this very complicated-looking piece of paper with many small boxes. I’m a bit rusty on some of the exact details but I’ll see if I can make some sense of it.


Global Skills


Along the left-hand side are the “Global Skills” that drivers are being tested on. These are skills you should be competent at when you are driving and they are: Observation, Space Margins, Speed, Steering, and Communication. Within each of these global skills, there are a list of items. Think of this as basically a list of things that you could do wrong! In other words, the examiner will only write down something on this paper if you do something wrong, miss something, or make an error. If you look at the very first one, A1, it reads “Shoulder check.” In other words if you get an A1 on your paper, it means you forgot or did not do a shoulder check at a time when you were supposed to.




Driving maneuvers


In the middle or main section of the paper we find your actual driving maneuvers. This is where the examiner will keep track of your errors. These are separated into left turns (“Intersection Left”) right turns (“Intersection Right”) going straight through at intersections (“Intersection Through”), “General Driving,” and “Vehicle Handling.” General driving and vehicle handling include such things as your parking and your steering abilities. In each category you can see how it has 1, and then ABCDE. The “1” means the first time you turned right. The “2” means, the second time you turned right, and so forth. The ABCDE relate to the global skills along the left margin. For example, A means “Observation Skills”.  B means “Space Margins” and so forth.




Result for each section


Along the right-hand side of the paper is your result. You are marked on each section (Left turns, Right Turns, Intersection Through, General Driving, and Vehicle Handling). If you fail one section, you fail the entire test. There is a tiny box which says “Qualified: YES or NO.” At the beginning of the exam, the examiner will circle how many errors you’re allowed. There are different routes; and some routes may have more right turns than others – therefore the driver may be allowed more mistakes on right turns when compared with other routes. Either way, they will circle 3X, 4X, 5X. This is the amount of errors you’re allowed to make in each category and in each of the global skills.  So you can make some mistakes, but it is better to make a bunch of different mistakes, rather than the same mistake over and over again.




The first thing I would do if I failed this road test would be to look at where it says “Qualified: YES or NO.” Find where it says NO, and then see which section that is in. Did you fail all 5 sections, or did you just fail on your right turns?


Then, read the main section to see what the examiner wrote. A common mistake is not enough shoulder checks on right turns. If you look on your sheet and see under the “Intersection Right” category, you have a bunch of A1’s. Count them. If it’s more than the error-cut off that the examiner circled, then that’s why you failed. I have seen road test results with 5-7 A1’s in the right turning section. That tells me the driver does not shoulder check before turning right.


It looks something like this if you fail for not enough shoulder checks on right turns:




A2 is a scan: This means the driver didn’t look left and right before proceeding.


A3 Mirror Check – the driver did not look in the mirror


A4: 360 Check – The driver did not look and do a 360 circle check before reversing


B4 is another very common one. This says “GAP” What the heck does that mean? It is usually found when turning. It means you were doing a (usually) left-hand turn, and there was a big gap in the oncoming traffic where the examiner thought you should have turned, but you didn’t turn and sat there and waited for a bigger gap in traffic. This could also happen on a right turn. Drivers who are over-cautious sometimes stop before they turn right, even at places they do not have a stop sign. “Gap” basically means there was extra time going by when there shouldn’t’ve been; you didn’t “Seize the Opportunity” to go!! Again, if you do this once or twice, it’s fine. If you do this on every single left turn, you will not pass. It indicates a serious lack of skill and/or confidence, both of which are important for people to have before they drive alone.


I think the others are fairly self-explainatory. B5: Blocks Crosswalk. If you block a crosswalk by accident, just stay there. Reversing on a crosswalk is illegal. The examiner will simply write B5 on your paper once. Having one B5 on your test result is not a big deal. If you do that more than 3X (or whatever the error cut-off is) then you’ll fail that section, and the test.


Hope that helps.