Q: Failed road test for speed and stop sign issues

Question : Maintaining speeds. I took my drivers test after taking a lesson. In my lesson I went 5 above 30 in a school zone and my instructor told me it was better to go a few below 30 than risk going over. I also crossed the road (or attempted too) when I was finished scanning at a stop sign, I saw the car coming towards me and knew I had enough time but my instructor did not think I saw the car and slammed on the breaks and told me to be patient and just wait till everything had passed.

Come road test time I averaged 5-10 below the recommended speed limit while in a busy neighborhood with lots of cars parked on the streets and people running around, then in the school zone I kept it around 20-25 because of fear of going over the limit and failing the test.

I executed everything perfectly and scanned and checked, but because I was 5-10 under the limit in certain places, and waited for the road to be clear before I drove out into intersections at stop signs (like instructed to eariler in the day) I failed my test because I am too careful.

The ICBC road manual says that staying 10 under the speed limit is perfectly acceptable.
I am a very confident and comfortable driver. I was nervous of failing my test, but not of the road.

Why did I fail when it states in the manual that you are legally allowed to go 10 under the recommended maximum?

Consider checking out my Stop Signs eBook!Opens in a new tab. Yes, I wrote an entire ebook all about stop signs and it is for new drivers or anybody trying to refresh or teach someone else about the stop sign intersection rules. It gets into the right of way rulesintersection etiquettes, safe stopping positioning, dealing with pedestrians, 4-way stops, and so much more. It goes into a lot more detail than this article. I wish I had had something like that when I was learning!

Generally its OK to go a bit slower if there’s a good reason but if there’s no good reason to slow down then you should aim for the speed limit, and not too much under it, depending on the circumstances & conditions of course.

I know this all sounds possibly silly that examiners are so particular about the speed, but you have to show you understand what the speed limit is and are confident enough to decide at what speed to drive at based on conditions; even though in real life it may be fine in certain cases to go 20-25 km/hr or even 10 km/hr in a school zone and no body will give a damn that you did, although the general idea of appropriate speeds is something to think about. People who drive really slow for no reason tend to make other drivers angry and that could lead to road rage or other drivers doing unsafe things to get around the slow vehicle. You can also get a ticket for slow driving FYI.

As for the stop sign, I guess there is a perceived right and wrong decision and if you go when you shouldn’t and the car is too close or too fast, then that can be seen as a dangerous action and automatic fail; whereas if you sit there for a long time and the closest car is a football field distance away and it’s driving at the speed of a wounded snail, then this is seen as a ‘gap,’ meaning you could have gone but you didn’t and examiners conclude you didn’t go due to lack of skill or confidence. So maybe you need more practice (or maybe education/training) on those so you can make the proper decision with your eyes closed so to speak.

Also, if the person sitting next to you didn’t think you saw the car you could simply turn your head more and make it more obvious that you are in fact looking. I can tell you from my experience this is very common where it looks like the driver isn’t even looking when in fact they are and they just aren’t making it obvious. It will make the examiner relax if it is more obvious.



Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada and is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, artist, philosopher, certified day dreamer and generally complicated human.

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