Speeding: Driving 55 km/hr in a 50 km zone or Driving 40 km in a 30 km playground/school zone.
If the speed limit is 30, drive 30, not 35 km/hr.
Technically, going 31 km/hr in a 30 km zone is illegal and examiners will mark you accordingly (some examiners are more strict than others).
Do not keep up with speeding traffic flow.
I don’t really like how strict they are because I would rather new drivers not be so paranoid about their speed they feel like they have to stare at their speedometer the whole time, but knowing the speed limit of course is a must.
If you have sufficient experience, you should be able to tell what 50 feels like without looking. You must show the examiner that you know what the speed limit is and are willing to accept and obey it regardless of the behaviour of other traffic.
You must shoulder check every time before you pull over/pull into traffic, before lane changing and merging, and before you turn right (sometimes 2 shoulder checks are required before right turns).
Even if you know there’s nothing there, you must still shoulder check.
These checks are to ensure there are no vehicles, pedestrians, motorcycles, or cyclists, or any other road user in your blind spot before you turn.
Even if you are 99% sure there is nothing there, you must show the examiner that you are actively looking for road users who may be in the blind spot. Do not stop for no reason!
Use the parking brake every time you park.
Try not to be so nervous that you drive down the road for a while with the parking brake on! This seems to happen from time to time.
Many people don’t use the parking brake. You should use it because sometimes mechanical failure can occur (the transmission can slip into neutral, and the car may start rolling away by itself if parked on any sort of incline).
If you’ve used the parking brake, it will act as a backup plan.
Keep in mind, transmissions are meant for changing gears, not holding thousands of pounds in place on hills.
Parking brakes are connected to brake cables on the rear tires (usually), their whole purpose in life is to hold the vehicle in place.
When hill parking, you do not have to ensure the tire actually touches the curb, but you should turn the wheels the appropriate direction; and do not just turn the wheel a bit; it should be turned all the way.
Examiners want to see a confident and competent driver, not a bag of nerves that drives 20 km/hr under the speed limit and slows down for no reason at every intersection!
Of course, people are nervous on road tests and examiners know this.
Just try not to be so nervous that you stop where you’re not supposed to, drive way too slowly, or do strange things that you wouldn’t otherwise do!
Remember to breathe; this helps a lot.
Adjust your driving for conditions
Drive for conditions: this means if it’s snowing and you’re on a side-street, residential area, and there are small children running around in the middle of the road 1/2 block in front of you chasing each other in circles and you’re driving 50 km/hr, this type of thing may be considered TOO FAST even though yes, this is the legal maximum speed limit (yes you could be failed for driving too fast for conditions).
You should always decide what the safe speed is based on conditions.
If it’s a beautiful day and you’re on a main street, and you are driving 40 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone “Just to be careful,” and there is a line of 50 cars behind you all freaking out because you’re not even going the speed limit — Don’t do that! It is TOO SLOW!
Show the examiner that you are an intelligent being capable of making appropriate decisions based on the conditions you encounter.
The same thing goes for strange situations that you were never taught about on your driving lessons.
If you don’t know what to do, think about it.
What would be the best, most safe, option?
Pedestrian conflicts: Examiners want to see that you’re willing to help pedestrians, not fight with them over the available space.
This means if you aren’t sure if there’s enough time to go before a pedestrian, you should wait patiently rather than trying to beat them or cutting them off, or driving so close to them that you give them a heart attack.
You should stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks and unmarked crosswalks (any intersection without white crosswalk lines).
Sometimes pedestrians are unpredictable and cross where they aren’t supposed to.
If you aren’t sure what to do, try to think of what the safest option is (keep in mind you should be keeping track of what’s behind you. We don’t want you slamming on the brake if there’s a semi-truck following too closely).
Issues with poorly behaved pedestrians
Pedestrian conflicts with jaywalking or illegally crossing pedestrians.
Say you’re turning left at a traffic light and you’re waiting in the intersection because there’s a lot of traffic. Then the light goes yellow. You start to turn, but you see there’s a pedestrian starting to walk across the road where he shouldn’t.
In this case, you should start to exit the intersection and honk at the pedestrian, asking him to hurry up and get out of the way.
Student drivers often don’t know what to do in this situation and they may fail the road test for not dealing with it properly. Many will hesitate inside the intersection after the light has gone yellow and wait patiently for the pedestrian.
However, if the light is yellow/red by that point, that pedestrian has no right to be there and while you can’t run him over, you should be starting to leave the intersection and alerting him.
Steering issues:one hand on the wheel is not OK (not considered safe)
hooking or palming the wheel are not OK (not considered safe)
or improper use of the steering wheel when turning.
*Note: ICBC driver examiners do not care if you dry steer on the road test. However, if you do this habitually, your power steering components may wear prematurely and you may end up with costly repair bills.
(Perhaps they don’t care because you are using your vehicle, not theirs)
Use hand over hand, or shuffle steering (either one is fine; the most important thing is that you are controlling the vehicle).
You must use two hands on the wheel at all times, the exception being when you are reversing in a straight line
If you’re driving standard, just make sure to put your hand back on the wheel once you’re done shifting gears every time.
Also, I got a lot of questions about if you can take your hand off for a moment to scratch something or move your hair out of your eyes – yes, you are allowed to be human!
Not seeing things you’re supposed to be seeing
Observation issues: not noticing yellow lights, not noticing pedestrians, not noticing playground/school zones, or not noticing turning restriction signs and turning against them (i.e. right turn on red light with turning restriction).
If you have these issues, you may need more practice/experience.
Improper turning: this comes from a lack of training or insufficient practice – cutting corners on left turns or turning wide on right turns.
Lack of Scanning: You should be doing a left to right scan of intersections before you go through them, especially at 4-way stops, approaching traffic circle/roundabout and when you’re stopped at a red light and it changes to green.
Don’t just go through intersections without looking.
Don’t make the foolish assumption that just because there’s a stop sign or red light for the other drivers, that they’re actually going to stop and it’s safe for you to proceed through.
Don’t be Subtle
Make it obvious on the road test that you are doing a good scan.
Turn your head and take a good look in each direction.
Is it actually safe to go?
Don’t just use the corner of your eyes because from the examiner’s point of view it looks like you aren’t looking at all.
Also if you’re going past some train tracks, even if they don’t have any stop sign or lights or anything, you should still scan and look for a possible train.
There probably isn’t one coming, but if you fight with one you will lose.
Illegal lane changing: it’s illegal to lane change over a solid white line and while it’s not illegal tochange lanes in an intersection, it is definitely frowned upon if not dangerous.
Merging on the freeway:You’re allowed to speed up to the speed limit that is on the freeway when you are driving on the acceleration ramp that leads onto the freeway.
Normally when your car passes the sign that says “If your vehicle can not do 60 km/hr, stay off the freeway,”, then that is considered the freeway ramp, which does not actually have a speed limit.
Just make sure you aren’t speeding up too early while you’re still in the 50 km/hr zone.
Match the flow of the traffic but do not go faster than the speed limit.
In other words, you generally do not want to merge onto the freeway at 60 km/hr (in good conditions) when the speed limit on the freeway is 90 km/hr. (This would be covered above where it says Do not drive like a Granny.)
Also, when you leave the freeway, generally you should not slow down while you’re still on it.
Wait until your vehicle is positively, fully and completely off the freeway and on the exit ramp Before you slow down, so that vehicles behind aren’t forced to slow down if they aren’t leaving.
Technically, these exit ramps do not have a speed limit either, and that yellow exit speed sign you see – since it’s a yellow sign – is a suggestion/recommendation; so you do not and should not normally have to slam on the brakes to get to that recommendation, you can slow down artfully or gradually.
***** You do not have to merge onto the highway/freeway if you have your “L” and going for your “N” but you may (most likely) have to merge onto the freeway/highway if you are going for your Class 5 full license.*****
Know how to deal with Emergency Vehicles properly
I have seen people fail road tests that would have otherwise been perfect because they either panicked or they didn’t act accordingly when an emergency vehicle was approaching.
New drivers don’t have much experience with this and it is a strange skill to practice for obvious reasons, so be sure to read up on it as much as you can and be aware of your surroundings.
Part of it is noticing the emergency vehicle (if it is coming up behind you and you have no clue because you never check your mirrors, then that’s a problem the examiner won’t be able to help but notice);
There is a LOT of info on this website. Use the SEARCH Function if you’re looking for something specific!
Practice DRIVING – a LOT! (Duh) If you’re having issues, get some lessons if you can.
Quality and Quantity of Practice
Don’t just drive to work/school/dance/soccer/whatever. Being a good driver is not about memorizing a route and then going on autopilot, it is about learning the necessary skills so that you can drive anywhere, especially unfamiliar areas, with confidence and with ease.
One of the worst things you can do (aside from not practicing at all) is to drive the same roads all the time.
Go the long way home, challenge yourself, and get lost – it may be one of the best things you can do to improve your driving.
Chances of Passing
*** About 50% of people who go for the Class 7 road test (“L” drivers hoping to pass the road test to get their “N”) actually pass the test.
Getting an assessment driving lesson from an experienced instructor at a reputable driving school before going is highly recommended.***
Examiners do not Trick You
Will the examiner try and trick you on the road test?
NO, THEY DO NOT.
What I mean is they are not going to ask you to drive the wrong way down a one-way street or to do something illegal or unsafe
Remember: It’s a TEST after all, so they are not going to help you either, and they shouldn’t have to
Their job is not to trick OR to help you, but to ASSESS your skills
Q: Can you fail your road test for not turning right on a red light?
Many moons ago, Carmen became an ICBC-approved driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, and has spent many years working with new and experienced drivers around the lower mainland. She can be found reading the Motor Vehicle Act for fun while receiving strange looks from others. May the quest for great driving continue!