ICBC Canada Road Test – Endless Tips for Drivers {2020 Updated}


ICBC Road Test Tips for all drivers.

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Do you need to Pass Your ICBC Road Test or DMV Road Test?

ICBC Road Test Class 7

ICBC Road Test Class 5

You have come to the right place for some excellent tips to help you do so. It’s an exciting, necessary, and terrifying rite of passage (or something like that).

ICBC Road Test Booking

Click here to Book your ICBC Road Test Online

Read more: Difference Between Class 5 & Class 7 ICBC Road Tests.

How to Automatically Fail Your Road Test ICBC

  • Or if you do anything unsafe. For example: a pedestrian has to jump out of the way, a driver has to do evasive action in order to avoid you, you hit the wrong pedal and accidentally drive onto the sidewalk...

Worrying About Being Perfect on Your ICBC Road Test? Worrying about Parking on the test? Don’t!

  • You don’t need to be perfect to pass your road test. No one drives perfectly all the time, not even driving instructors.. we are all human. You can make some mistakes but it shouldn’t be the same mistake over and over; the examiner will then notice a pattern that needs to be corrected.
  • Most people seem to be very worried about their parking ability (or lack of). If you’re stressing more about the parking than about other things, stop right now!
  • You should know how to park, but you don’t have to be a pro at it.
  • You’re allowed to make corrections. You can fix it/readjust it if it doesn’t work the first time, or the second time.
  • Examiners on the road test ICBC are not timing you. They’re not going to get out at the end and measure it to make sure the vehicle is exactly between the lines and perfectly straight. Although, of course, it’s a nice bonus if your passengers can actually get out of the car after you’re done parking 😉


Perfection on the Road Test And Safety Are Two Very Different Things

Being Safe is more important than being perfect on your iCBC road test, and in real life

  • It’s more important that you have good observation skills when parking and you’re looking in the correct direction when reversing. When you drive forwards, you look forwards, right? So, when you drive backwards, you must look backwards. And no, this does not mean looking in your mirror.
  • If your car is a bit crooked when you’re done parking, that’s not actually going to hurt anybody. 
  • Becoming good at parking can take many years of experience. Examiners do not expect new drivers to be perfect: they expect you to be safe, and legal.


Driving At Intersections Properly – to Pass Your ICBC Road Test

  • Turning left is generally considered dangerous and turning incorrectly or when it isn’t safe could  have very devastating consequences. 

here is a basic left turn example

We yield to

  • pedestrians
  • oncoming or conflicting traffic

Get some epic left-turning tips here

10+ Juicy Tips to Turn Left at a Traffic Light Safely

Here are some common mistakes I’ve seen people make on the ICBC Road Test & some tips:

 When You’re Stopping at Stop Signs

icbc road test
  • Not completely stopping at the stop sign (“California Stop” = “Rolling Stop”) 
  • You don’t have to stop, take out your stopwatch and count to 10 seconds or anything like that. But, do make sure that you indeed fully & completely stopped moving!
  • Many student drivers hear “you can turn right on a red light.” Some don’t realize that you must stop first! If you just slow down and turn without actually stopping, it’s illegal. 
  • This is because if your light is red, it means someone else has a green light. It’s your job to figure out who that is and to yield to them first before you turn. 
  • If you do turn without stopping, it will be an automatic fail because red means stop; so if you don’t, technically you are in violation of the law.
  • Yes, you may turn right on a red light if you stop first, and determine it is safe. But keep in mind, you do not have to turn right on a red light. It’s a red light, after all. Remember this is the reason why we have green lights and red lights in the first place! People with green lights can go. People with red lights have to let the people with the green lights go first. 

  • Keep reading to learn more about how to pass your road test in British Columbia Canada

read more about turning right on a red & green light


Let’s Talk About Speeding On Your Road Test ICBC

icbc knowledge test

Speeding will not help you to pass your ICBC Road Test or your alberta road test either!

  • Speeding: Technically, speeding is driving 55, even 51 in a 50 zone or 40 in a 30 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. Examiners will mark you accordingly (some examiners are more strict than others).
  • I don’t really like how strict examiners can be sometimes. I would rather you not have to feel so paranoid. However, 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. Show that you are willing to accept and obey it regardless of the behavior of other traffic. 


Amount and Timing of Shoulder Checks & Unnecessary Stopping on Your ICBC Road Test

  • People sometimes fail the test because they haven’t done enough shoulder checks. Another reason is unnecessary slowing or stopping, especially on right turns. Not sure why I lumped these two topics together since they don’t seem related, but it just happened lol

 Turning Right Without Stop Signs 

  • Even if you know there’s nothing there, you must still shoulder check anyway. This gets you into an automatic habit of checking. It may one day save you from a collision.
  • These checks are to ensure there are no humans in the blind spot. Vehicles, pedestrians, motorcycles, or cyclists, or any other road user, could be ‘hiding’ in this area before you turn.
  • Even if you are 99% sure there is nothing there, you must still check. Show the examiner that you are actively looking for road users who may be in the blind spot. 
  • Do not stop for no reason! Good reasons to stop would be stop signs, pedestrians, red lights, etc. If you’re stopping, you better let me know WHY!! lol Just like anything else in life. Do you know WHY you’re doing it? *Oh man shit just got real*


You Must Use Your Parking Brake on the ICBC Road Test

Believe it or not, some people do not pass their road test British Columbia Canada because of this 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 sometimes.
  • 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 usually on the rear tires. Their whole purpose in life is to hold your vehicle in place.
  • When hill parking, you do not have to ensure the tire actually touches the curb. You should turn the wheels the appropriate direction; and do not just turn the wheel a bit; it should be turned all the way

read more about how to park on a hill safely


Nervous Wreck on Your ICBC Road Test?

drivers test
  • Avoid being too cautious. Some people do not pass their ICBC road test, British Columbia Canada because of this
  • Examiners want to see a confident and competent driver. They don’t want to see a bag of nerves. Driving 20 km/hr under the speed limit and slowing down for no reason at every intersection isn’t recommended. (Don’t worry. We’ve all been there). 
  • 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. Or, 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 The Conditions on Your ICBC Road Test, Road Test british columbia, alberta road test, Just As You Would in Real Life

icbc road test booking
  • Drive for conditions: Slow down in the snow, for example. Or any other time conditions are not ideal. (yes you could be failed for driving too fast for conditions).
  • 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? 


Reacting Properly To Pedestrians on Your Driving Test

parallel parking
  • 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 any slamming on the brake if there’s a semi-truck following too closely.


Issues With Poorly-Behaved Pedestrians on Your ICBC Road Test

  • Pedestrian conflicts with jaywalking or illegally crossing pedestrians.
  • In this case, you should start to exit the intersection and honk at the pedestrian. ASK him to hurry up and get out of the way.
  • 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 Wheel, Hands On The Wheel During Your ICBC Road Test

driving school
  • Steering issues: one hand on the wheel is not OK (not considered safe) 
  • ‘Hooking’ or ‘palming‘ the wheel are not okay (not considered safe) 

Improper use of the steering wheel when turning.

How to Hold [and NOT hold] Your Steering Wheel

*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. You may end up with costly repair bills.

Dry Steering – Don’t Do It

how to reverse in a straight line – video

  • I have received a lot of questions regarding if you can take your hand off for a moment to scratch something. LOL. Or, perhaps to move your hair out of your eyes. Good news –> YES, you are allowed to be human!


Observation Issues on Your ICBC Driving Test

drivers ed
  • If you have these issues, you may need more practice/experience.


Turning Problems : Turning Wide, Cutting The Corner, Sloppy, etc. Nice Turns to Pass Your Driving Test in Canada

driver education
  • Improper turning. This comes from a lack of training or insufficient practice. Cutting corners on left turns or turning wide on right turns, or both.


Confused About Basic Rules of the Road?

  • Right of way confusion: not understanding which cars you have to wait for in different situations.

Some people do not pass their road test British Columbia Canada because of this foundational, but very important understanding.


More Details to think about on Your Road Test: Leaving a Parking Lot, Lane, Or Driveway

  • This may cover the part where you leave the parking lot at the beginning of the road test.

Read more about:

Emerging from a Lane, Driveway, or Parking Lot


 Scanning With Your Eyes, Especially At Intersections on Your Road Test

  • Don’t just go through intersections without looking.

Don’t make the foolish assumption that stop signs can stop cars. Or that red lights can stop cars. Think about it.


Scanning : Make It Obvious for the Road Test Examiner

  • 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. From the examiner’s point of view, it might seem like you aren’t looking at all.


 Driving Over Train Tracks

how to drive
  • If you’re going past some train tracks, even if they don’t have any stop sign or lights, scan before proceeding.
  • There probably isn’t one coming, but if you fight with one you will lose.  

 how To Scan Intersections 


Is Your Lane Change in Canada Legal? Are You Sure?


Merging Onto The Freeway

how to drive on the freeway
  • Merging on the freeway. You’re allowed to speed up to the freeway speed limit when you are driving on the acceleration ramp. This is the ramp that leads onto the freeway.
  • 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. This ramp does not actually have a speed limit. (Don’t get any ideas though)
  • 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, don’t merge at 60 km/hr in a 90 zone unless you have a good reason. (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 completely and positively off the freeway, and on the exit ramp, Before you slow down. This way, vehicles behind aren’t forced to slow down if they aren’t leaving. (We are Canadians… after all 😉
  • Technically, these exit ramps do not have a speed limit either. The yellow exit speed sign you see – since it’s a yellow sign – is a suggestion/recommendation. It’s a good idea to follow these. But, you don’t have to slam on the brakes. Slow down 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.*****


Dealing With Emergency Vehicles

emergency vehicles
  • Know how to deal with Emergency Vehicles properly 
  • I have seen people fail road tests that would have otherwise been perfect because they panicked. 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 expect anyone to practice. Just be sure to read up on it as much as you can and be aware of your surroundings. Just do your best.
  • This might sound funny but an important part of it is simply noticing the emergency vehicle. If it’s obvious you’re oblivious, this is a problem.
  • the other part is acting the proper way.

Learn About It Here 


 Proper Left Turns at Traffic lights – Leaving the Intersection

Read this post on exiting the intersection on a left turn at traffic lights. Sure, don’t leave the intersection until it’s safe, but once it’s safe, don’t leave too slowly either:

Rant on Exiting Intersections on Yellow/Red 


Shoulder Check Before Opening Your Door

  • You must shoulder check (left) before you open your door.
  • You are looking for pedestrians and cyclists – and anything else – of course!


Driving Backwards

  • Improper reversing skills
  • Looking the wrong way while reversing, lack of 360 degree check before reversing, unsafe reversing.

Reversing/Backing Basics


Parking On Hills


Parallel Parking Skills



Reverse Stall Parking Skills

alberta road test



Basics Skills for your Road Test in Canada: Know Your Hand Signals

icbc road test
  • Make sure you know your hand signals. The examiner will check and make sure you’re aware of how to do them.

Hand Signals


Defensive Driving


Search This Website

  • There is a LOT of info on this website. Use the SEARCH Function if you’re looking for something specific! 


 Practice Driving

  • Practice DRIVING – (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. It won’t help much 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? 
  • 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?


Here’s some road test tips from ICBC for your driving test in British Columbia, Canada:

Happy Road Testing  :).

When you’re ready to Book your Road Test in British Columbia Canada you can hit up ICBC here.

Learn more here about Taking a British Columbia Road Test


406 thoughts on “ICBC Canada Road Test – Endless Tips for Drivers {2020 Updated}”

  1. if there is a green light and I am taking a right turn. Do ICBC examiner fail you to stop before you turn.
    I press brake and then took turn

    • Hi.. you shouldn’t stop unless there is a reason to stop. I don’t know if they fail you if you do that once, but if you stop for no reason for a green light every time, that might not be good.

  2. Great information. I’m in the middle of doing some research in regards to this and I found this post very helpful.
    Nervous play a big role when taking any driving tests, make sure you are calm and collected at the time of your exam and try to pay close attention to all traffic signs.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I’m having my 4th road test tomorrow. I had zero confident after failing 3 times. Your blog gave me some confidence for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

    • I don’t think you will pass if you clearly have no idea how to park whatsoever but if you park and it’s kinda Ok then you might pass the rest if the rest is good…. if that makes sense.

  4. Thank you so much for your articles! I used to teach driving in the 80-s and 90-s, cars, motorcycles and buses. Much has changed (not so much in actual driving, of course, but licensing and testing)! Now my son is working on his license (yes, with the help of a good driving school) – and your blog is helping both of us tremendously!

  5. Any tips for backing up? I got noted on road test papers saying unsafe grip, if thats only For backing up, does it mean that 10 and 2 positions is not right? Bacause i hold the steering wheel 10-2 for the whole time and 12 for backing up.

  6. Hi there! Going for my class 4 in a few days… wondering if it is possible to bring in some blank paper and a pen and when I start my pre-trip to write everything down from memory and then begin? It is just easier for me to write information down than to verbally remember it. Plus, I’ll be using a checklist in the real world anyway. Any thoughts?

    • Hi, i am not sure but I know that you will be timed, 20 min I believe? You can ask the examiner before the test or phone or ask ICBC prior to the test, i am not sure If they have rules about that.

  7. Hello a few quick questions

    Will I fail for not shifting down into first on my exam? I normally shift down into second, and throw it into neutral as I sit to wait. Should I be shifting all the way into first and holding the clutch in at a red light or a stop sign?

    Can you shift in an intersection?

    Will you fail for too high RPM shifts?

    Thank you!!!

    • Hi
      Sorry I didn’t see this message for a while.
      No you do not have to shift down into first gear necessarily. In fact it’s better for the life of your clutch to just stop in whatever gear you are in. (Depending on the weather , road , and other conditions of course)

      Yes you can shift in an intersection. You kind of have to when the intersection is very large. I don’t know if you can fail for the RPM being too high but it will make it look like you don’t know what you’re doing if you do that.

      The only place it is illegal to change gears is while driving over train tracks. Which also makes no sense these days and was a law written a very long time ago when cars were different. Not sure how the police would notice or care about that these days anyway.

      I think It is fine being in neutral when stopped at red light. That’s my opinion, may want to double check with ICBC as I can’t remember if they have a different opinion.


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