Tips from a Student Driver & Road Test Experience – Part 2

These Tips from a Student Driver were Submitted by ‘KK’ – Thank you!

I had my test today in Surrey. It was my first try but unfortunately I didn’t make it.

I did great on the things I was scared of messing up in but screwed up on the most obvious thing which ended up costing me the entire test because it was a “dangerous action” (which is considered an automatic fail).

Tips from a student driver – I was at a stop sign waiting to turn left

It was a very quiet area with lotssss of trees that were making it hard to see the on coming cars, especially from the right side.

I was waiting to turn and my left side was clear of cars and I checked my right side, which was also clear but with a car that seemed pretty far (or so I thought it was far).

Anyways, I went ahead and turned left and the car coming from the right was a lot closer than I thought and my examiner was saying stop stop and right then and there I knew I had failed.

Tips from a student driver – The trees blocked my vision

I thought the car was far-ish but it turned out to be a lot closer.  My examiner was the nicest guy ever.

When everything cleared up he was like you okay? and stuff. He was so so so open and understanding and yes they let you pull over to breathe if you’re really nervous.

Just ask them right in the beginning if you’ll be allowed to do that and they’ll reassure you!

That’s nice to hear.

Anyways, I never ever thought I would have messed up on a simple turn.

Please be careful and slowly creep up if you can’t see that traffic properly, especially if there’s lots of trees/hazards around!

They take points off if you wait TOO long as well and miss too many gaps where you could have went.. that makes you seem like a driver that isn’t confident.

About the stop sign: Perhaps 2 things happened.

  • The car may have been far away when you looked, but it may have been traveling faster than you thought
  • Or, you may have turned too slowly or thought about it for too long.

It is tricky dealing with stop signs actually, especially when you have poor visibility. Don’t be afraid to slowly inch forward until you have a sufficient view to make a good decision.

It is true if you have a lot of “missed opportunities” where you could have gone but didn’t, this will be considered as a gap and as a sign of lack of skills or confidence or both.

If you have this problem, just keep practicing! 

And, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better for you to make this mistake on the road test while someone can still intervene, rather than when you’re driving alone.

Driving alone, the consequences of that error may be much worse than simply flunking the road test. (It seems like you get this).

1) I was freaking out about the speed

Because I thought that even if I went 52 on a 50 zone, it would take a point off but it turns out that it’s fine. He said as long as you stay under 55 it should be okay. Try your best to be at 50.. but staying exactly 50 is hard.

Some examiners are more strict than others.

Technically if you’re doing 51 km/hr then you are in violation of the law, remember that. Having said that, has anyone ever heard of someone getting a speeding ticket for going 51km/hr?

Most of the time you won’t attract the attention of the police unless you are going more than 10 km over (I’m not saying you should, though.)

True you do not want to be staring at your speedometer instead of looking where you’re going and such, but you do need to show that you know what the speed limit is and can control it with ease while driving.

2) I thought that you had to scan the intersection every time you passed through one but my examiner said that I only had to do it every time I was the first car waiting at a red light

Throughout my whole test, I kept doing the scans even if I wasn’t the first car.

This was a little confusing to me because my instructor who taught me to drive, said I should do scans every time but my examiner said to only do them if you’re the first car in the lane.

But I guess the examiners would know better since they’re the ones marking you.

Hmm, what do you think? Why is it that we have to do all of those scans, anyway?

It might be a more obvious place to do it if you’re the first car at an intersection when the light goes green, but any intersection could be dangerous, as we are always looking out for people doing things they shouldn’t.

Some drivers drive straight through stop signs and red lights without slowing down at all…

  • Emergency vehicles suddenly wanting to go across
  • Unexpected pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Children
  • Or even animals
  • Or any other reason in which you would have to take action in order to avoid a collision or a problem, regardless of whose fault it might be

The examiner can not grant a license to someone who drives down the road in a straight line as if they are wearing a blindfold or who has a crazy sense of tunnel vision.

However, you do not have to go out of your way to scan every intersection and perhaps you were slowing down in order to do the scans when you should have kept the same speed?

I think it is important to scan every intersection that you reasonably can, but legally, you are allowed to assume that if the vehicles on the side-street perpendicular to you are facing a stop sign or a red light, that they are supposed to be yielding to you, and that you have the right to keep driving without stopping and checking.

We can not reasonably stop and check every intersection, even though in reality, we could be T-boned at any intersection from anyone who decides to drive through it without stopping (for whatever the reason may be).

So, do scan, but don’t be totally paranoid; I guess that’s what I’m trying to suggest. And yes, when the light goes green, that is the most likely time where there may be vehicles still crossing the intersection that shouldn’t be; so for sure, do that scan every time (Left to right).

We are also scanning every intersections for pedestrians who might want to cross, right?

Since pretty much every intersection is a legal place to cross the road, it is your job to notice pedestrians and stop accordingly.

If you’re looking very far up the road as you should be and keeping your eyes moving, it should be easy to scan almost all intersections without the need to slow down or to do exaggerated head movements.

You don’t have to do fancy head movements; the examiner will be able to tell what you can see by the way that you drive, right?

Although, it is good not to be too subtle, as well, as they are watching you with the corner of their eye while watching the road and traffic around you, too. 

3) Don’t forget to turn your wheels based on if you’re uphill/downhill when you park.

The examiners don’t say to you, “All right, let’s go to a hill and do some hill parking!” They’ll just guide you somewhere, ask you to pull over and park the car.

It is your job to figure out if it’s a hill and which way to turn the wheels. Remember your parking brake!

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Tips from a student driver – SHOULDER CHECKS.. super super important

Both on left and right turns. Don’t just look back because you’re “suppose” to and then turn, look back and ACTUALLY look and see if there is someone walking or a cyclist.. do them like a second before your turn and when you see no one there, turn.

When turning left, shoulder check to the left. And when turning right, shoulder check to the right.

I might argue that left shoulder checks are not always necessary. But perhaps that is a long story for a different day.

5) Every time you’re about to reverse, full 360 checks.

And while reversing, make sure you’re always looking back. A two second glance at the side mirrors shouldddd be okay!

Yes., that’s why cars have mirrors, for you to use!!

[Pro Tip: Grab some mini blind spot mirrors or a convex rear-view mirror from Amazon or somewhere else. These can literally be your extra eyes, and help you to see so much more.]

I have to look at them or I start thinking i’m about to hit a curb or something lol but 99% of the time always look back while reversing because you don’t know who could just come out of no where behind you.

Excellent point.

6) The examiner will tell you to pull over when safe and name some hazards.

This’ll happen in a neighborhood-y area. You have to name 5ish things. I said – hidden driveways, kids playing around that I might not see, pedestrians, the area had large trees and so I was like “large trees can be hazards because they might be covering important road signs”, and stuff like that.

Read more: Hazard Perception Ideas – Epic Road Test Prep

By the way, they’ll never be like “pull over”, instead they’ll be like “pull over when it’s safe”. Don’t pull over directly in front of people’s driveways!

I find examiners to be very calm and kind. And yes, it is illegal to park blocking a driveway, even if it’s your own driveway.

7) Tips from a student driver – SCHOOL ZONES DON’T MATTER IN THE SUMMER!

Unless it says “summer school in session” or something like that underneath a school sign. But playgrounds do matter even in the summer break so make sure you slow down on those.

You can fail if you don’t slow down.

I think it’s considered a dangerous action. I was so happy because school zones was one less thing I had to worry about on today’s test but my next road test will probably be when school starts and so I have to make sure to watch out for those as well along with playground zones. I’m just so bad with speed haha

I’m not sure they “don’t matter” 

But yes, they are not technically 30 km/hr unless posted a summer school zone sign. Use your discretion and always go the appropriate speed based on the particular situation you encounter.

Speed limits are maximum limits for ideal conditions, it’s up to YOU to decide what the actual speed of your vehicle will be.

8) Make sure you know how to drive around a cul-de-sac as well

(I got a little confused there because I hadn’t practiced those much and so I wasn’t sure where to look/shoulder check.

I just did this awkward drive in a circle trying to look around like I knew what I was watching out for haha). He corrected me on that in the end, but it wasn’t like a huge failing factor, just lost a point there I think.

9) Make sure you actually STOP at stop signs

For about 2 seconds and than slowly move forward to see the traffic. Even when turning right on red lights. STOP first and then slowly move forward if you can’t see traffic.

10) I know I’m making this so long and probably repeating so much that’s already written on this extremely great and helpful page.

My examiner said I was doing pretty good and that I might just have passed if it wasn’t for that one dangerous action. Oh well, I learned from my mistake.

When you reach the ICBC place you’re probably going to be feeling so nervous. I couldn’t even wait in my chair because my stomach felt so sick and I was just a nervous wreck.. but honestly, there’s NOTHING to be nervous about.

Being nervous will make you mess up on silly things. I was so nervous at the beginning that I almost forgot to simply signal at a turn!

The examiners all seemed very nice

Once I got in the car, I started feeling pretty comfortable. Remember.. it’s totally totally totally okay if you fail! (I keep repeating this to myself as well). It’s not the end of the world and you can have as many second third and fourth etc chances.

Everyone makes mistakes and you will get your N when you are meant to get it even if it takes like 10 tries. It’s all good. :) sorry I typed so much! Please correct me if I gave out any wrong info.

That’s great advice. You’re right; it’s just a road test. Everyone is nervous, and examiners know this. Once upon a time, they also went for their road test.

If you fail, they will just let you know that you did not make it, hand you your learner’s back so that you can keep practicing, and let you know some advice for what to work on. Then, life will go on!! So try to relax, if at all possible.

Thanks for sharing your road test experience.

Read more:

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

2 thoughts on “Tips from a Student Driver & Road Test Experience – Part 2

  • Taylor

    Apart from the hazards listed above what else could there be on a residential street? I was sure I listed 5 that I thought was reasonable but apparently I got one right. Is there stock answers that examiners want to hear?

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