So you passed your written test over a year ago and you think you’re ready to be on the road.
Your G2 road test is coming up and you need some last-minute pointers. Here are some tips for passing your Driver’s test, based on Ontario’s graduated licensing test.
G2 DRIVING CONDITIONS (ONCE YOU PASS!)
- Zero blood alcohol
- Each person in the car must wear a working seatbelt
- You can drive on your own on any Ontario road
- If you are under the age of 20:
- Passengers under 20 years of age are limited late at night
- Within the first 6 months of getting your G2, you may only carry 1 passenger under 20 years old between 12 midnight-5 AM.
- After 6 months until full G license or after you turn 20 years old, you may carry up to 3 passengers under 20 years old between 12 midnight-5 AM
- These new restrictions don’t apply if a fully licensed driver with 4+ years of G-licensed driving experience is in the front seat
- If you are 20 years of age or over, you can drive any time of day.
APPROACHING YOUR TEST
- Practise, practise, practise (parking lots are your best friend)
- Be comfortable in the car you’re using for your test
- Bring eyeglasses if you need them
- Bring your Driver’s License
- Adjust your mirrors
- Get to the DMV early
- Remain calm
- You want to prove you’re a safe and confident driver
- Drive as smooth as possible so everyone feels comfortable and safe
- Over exaggerate your actions (move your head, not only your eyes)
WHAT YOU’LL BE TESTED ON
- Stops* (stops, emergency stop, 4-way stop)
- Turns* (left turn, right turn, U-turn, 3-point turn)
- Parking* (front park, reverse park, parallel park, uphill/downhill park with or without curb)
*You may be tested on some or all of these
STARTING YOUR TEST
- Expect there to be a lot of people at the DMV
- After you get checked in for your test, they’ll give you an approximate test time and tell you to wait in your car
- You could wait by or in your car
- You could use this time to adjust your mirrors
- Your examiner will come by your car and check if everything is working
- They will ask you to do the following: turn your lights on, signal left, signal right, hold the foot brakes (to check your brake lights), and honk
- They’ll go through what you’ll be doing today and that you could ask any questions if you’re unsure of anything
Your hands should be placed at 9 and 3 (o’clock) or 10 and 2. However, the first option is preferred due to air bag safety. If you get into an accident and your airbags deploy, your hands will not get into the way of the airbag.
Your hands should be on the wheel at all times when driving. It’s important not to let go of the wheel even when you’re at a red light. This is to ensure you are ready and paying attention.
When driving, stay in the right lane unless stated otherwise. Your examiner will tell you if you should stay in another lane.
It’s good to pretend you have a full cup of water in your cup holder. The goal is to not spill the water, so drive as carefully and comfortably as possible.
Maintain your speed at the speed limit. Always glance at your dashboard every now and then to watch your speed. Feathering the gas helps to maintain your speed. Usually, city/town/village roads are 60km/h, residential roads are 50km/h, and school zones are 40km/h. If no signs are posted within city limits, it is 50km/h.
Turn your head when checking the blind spot. When doing a blind spot check, keep in mind, “mirror-signal-blind spot-mirror.” When driving, mirror checks should be done a couple times every block or every 5-10 seconds. When passing an intersection, glance both ways to make sure the coast is clear.
At a stop (with a stop sign), fully-stop for 3 seconds. Do not roll. When you’re at a 4-way stop, remember “first come first serve” and “right of way.” Whoever stops first gets to go first; if more than one car gets to the stop first, the car most to the right has the right of way. Then, the following car beside it (that stopped at the same time) going clockwise may go next. Stops should be gradual, learn to work your pedals to make you and your passengers comfortable when you hit the brakes.
When approaching an amber light, it’s a safe bet to slow down and stop. You may come across as aggressive if you rev up to catch the light and you may be penalized.
If you could clearly see the pedestrian countdown lights (thank goodness we have these at all stops), use the countdown as markers to determine if you should keep coasting or slow down to anticipate a stop.
Do not come to a full stop unless it’s absolutely necessary. You should slow down and make sure there is no oncoming traffic or pedestrians.
When turning, your hands should always cross over (and not be “milking a cow”).
When making a right turn at a red light, come to full stop. If you’re the first one at the intersection, make sure you’re behind the solid white line. Slow down, curve the wheel to the right, come to a full stop behind the white line. Look both ways to make sure there are no cars or pedestrians approaching. Slowly proceed if the coast is clear.
When making a right turn at a green light, you don’t need to come to a full stop if the coast is clear. Always make sure there are no pedestrians or cars approaching.
When making a left turn at a green light and you’re the first person at the intersection, creep up while doing an “S” approach (move your wheel to the left as you creep up, then straighten the wheel up). Doing this prevents you from going into oncoming traffic if you get rear-ended. “S” approaches are not necessary if there are no islands in the middle of the intersection (observe if there is room to do an “S” turn). When the coast is clear from oncoming traffic and pedestrians, make the turn.
When making a left turn at a green light and you’re behind the first car at the intersection, it’s advised not to creep up yet. You should be behind the white solid line, then creep up when the car makes the turn. No one does this, but it’s important to do this on your test.
When performing a U-turn or 3-point turn, your mirrors are your best friend. Always make sure the coast is clear at the front, back, left and right. Always move your head, do blind spot checks, and signal every time you change directions.
Take your time when parking. There is no rush.
When doing an emergency stop, if you need to change lanes to the right, safely do a lane change (mirror-signal-blind spot-mirror), slow down, hazards on, park.
I won’t tell you how to do front parking because this is all just practise and being one-with-the-car. What I could tell you is to always check your mirrors.
For reverse parking, make sure you’re not diagonal (45degrees) approaching the parking spot, or else you’re disrupting oncoming traffic. You should be perpendicular to the parking spot, and then back up. The parking lines can be used as guidelines.
- Find the spot you want to park in. It’s easier to park on the right.
- Creep up two spots ahead of the spot you want to park in
- Align your side mirror with the 3rd line/furthest line two spots ahead**
- Put the car in reverse
- Slowly take your foot off the brake while turning the wheel the way you’re heading
- Check your mirrors
- Gas a bit if you need to
**Adjust this based on the size of your car
As always, use your mirrors and turn your head to check the coast is clear. Always look for the corner of cars (if you’re backing up beside/in between cars) and the lines. If you have a rear camera, try your best not to use this on your test. You should be relying on your mirrors.
Parallel parking seems to be the most methodical parking:
- Line up your car beside the car you want to park behind, you should be about 2-3 feet (or arm’s length) beside it. If that car is around the same size as yours, line up your side mirrors with theirs. If not, line up your back bumpers with theirs.
- Put your gear into reverse, hold in the brake, turn your wheel 360 degrees clockwise (or one full turn to right).
- Slowly let go of the brake. Your car should be turning at a 45 degree angle.
- Once you see the license plate (rear bumper) of the car beside you, start straightening your wheel all the way to the left (locking your wheel) while you are in motion.
- Look at your right mirror to see how close you are to the curb.
- When you’re done, put the gear into park.
Moving in one fluid motion helps, but there are people who stop every time they turn the wheel. You should do whatever method works for you.
You should always be observing, looking at your mirrors, and turning your head when you need to. It’s important to be as close to the curb as possible without getting onto the curb.
- When your examiner tells you to go, put the car into reverse, reverse out (while looking at your mirrors, turn your head to look behind you. Putting your arm around the passenger seat helps to give you more neck-motion to view behind you).
- Put it into drive, mirror-signal-blind spot-mirror, go.
Uphill/downhill parking is always to the right unless it’s uphill with a curb. I turn my wheel while I’m still in drive (holding down the brake), turning all the way then putting it into park. If your mind comes to a blank during your test, remember “up, up and away [from the curb].”
In all honestly, practise makes perfect and empty parking lots are your best friend.
These tips are solely based on my experience. I’ve been driving for about 2.5 years now, took a full driving course (in-class and on-road lessons), and passed each graduated test using these tips and knowledge.