while getting a driver's license is a right of passage for so many young adults, it is also a huge responsibility. For residents in rural areas, a driver's license can also be a necessity.
So how do you know you are ready for the road test? In this blog we will go over the skills necessary for NY State Permit holders to master before they even think of taking the test.
It's been more than a minute since I have had my driver's license but I can still recall reading the NY State Driver's manual and picturing myself navigating the roads with no fear and perfect clarity. Get behind the wheel? It was like I was a different person. I was constantly second guessing myself , am I too far in the right of my lane? Am I looking far enough ahead? Do I have the right of way ? Did that person just honk at me?
Bottom line, no one gets behind the wheel and just knows what to do. Driving takes time and practice, constant repetition to be sure you are prepared in a variety of situations with traffic and pedestrians. On average, a driver should have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised driving before scheduling the road test.
In order to pass a NY State road test, you will be given a series of commands by a NY State DMV examiner. You will start with 0 points and accumulate points every time you had an error. The points are in increments of 5, 10 or 15. You could also have an automatic fail.
The overall skills necessary are:
Observation- don't just go through the motions. Being a good driver means you are constantly looking for obstacles or problems that may arise. Look as far ahead in the center of where you want to be. Constantly glancing left, center, right and rearview mirror
Control- You need to have spatial awareness, know where you are in the lane and don't hit anything! If you are not sure where you are in your lane, a great way to be sure is to pretend you have a laser pointer and point it in the center of where you want your car to go as far ahead as possible. Practice making right turns on narrow roads and being certain that you do not cross over to the other lane. Also important, when making a left turn, one of the more common mistakes is turning too soon. When making a left turn, keep your wheel straight until you are about to enter the lane you are turning in. Another control tip, before you parallel park , angle your passenger mirror down (some cars do this automatically when the car is in reverse) By angling the mirror down, you will get a better view of the tire and the curb. If it looks like you are going to hit the curb, Stop! and fix it. If you hit a curb, you will fail the test.
3. Signaling- Don't expect anyone to be able to read your mind. Drivers need to know when you are entering the road way, if you are slowing down to make a turn and if you are attempting to park or do a three point turn. Not signaling while at a curb will cost you 5 points every time and not signaling while on the road will cost you 10 points. What if you are not sure? Use it! You wont get points off for using it when you didnt need it .
4. Rules of the Road- This may sound obvious but seriously, you need to know the rules and who has the right of way. Don't just follow what other drivers do, if half of the drivers out there were to re take a test, they would probably fail. That being said, dont just follow the rules if another driver is taking your right away, let them have it.
Take some time to review the rules periodically while you are not behind the wheel.
Watch this video from the 5 Hour Pre license class : https://youtu.be/nhZm-peBiFc
5. Good judgement Overall, the examiner needs to see that you are confident and competent behind the wheel. There are some things that may come up on your test that are unexpected and require you to make the best decision , that's why there is no substitute for practice and time.
I hope these tips helps, we talk about the road test and more in the mandatory 5 hour pre license class.
and remember there is no such thing as too much practice!