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Passing Your Test

Many people take their driver license road tests without sufficient preparation. It is either they haven't practiced long enough or haven't practiced the correct standards set by DMV. Others simply become nervous because of overwhelming rules to remember or just simply not ready.

It is natural to feel nervous about taking your driving test.  Everyone feels nervous to some degree, but if you are concerned that your nerves will affect your performance, there are different measures to take to try and help you relax, have confidence, and pass your driving test smoothly.  Taking your lessons with an instructor who specialises in helping nervous driver is advisable, as they can work with you to calm your nerves from day one right up to the test.

A little nervousness can kick start your adrenalin and help you stay focused and aware.  When driving, you should always be more alert than during normal activity.  Excessive nerves however can demonstrate themselves as:Increased Breathing and Heartbeat Clammy Palms Trembling Feeling Sick or Stomach Ache Dry Mouth General Feelings of Panic

Nerves are a way for your body to prepare itself; you just have to stop them taking over and instead make them work for you.  Remember, there is nothing wrong in feeling nervous.  The examiner will understand and try to put you at ease.  After all, they were once a learner too.


Don’t take your driving test until you are ready.  Rushing it so that you can get a car or avoid paying for any more lessons will only be counter-productive.  Ensure that you are well prepared and have had plenty of practice so that you feel more confident when it comes to the test.

Try and get an early morning appointment for your test.  You will feel more alert and fresh, and the roads may be clearer.  It also means that you won’t spend all day worrying about it and getting in a panic.

Check your dates.  Try not to book the test at the same time as anything else that might cause stress, i.e. exams or moving house.

Getting the right location can be equally helpful.  If you are used to driving in a certain area it will help your confidence if you can book your test there.  Obviously you should be able to drive on any NY road, but to take pressure off your exam nerves it is best to stick to what you know.

Once booked, don’t tell everyone.  However helpful they may try to be, discussing it with friends and even family can make you nervous and feel pressured to live up to expectations.

Drivers who are fully informed and prepared are more likely to pass their driver license road test, but many others are not quite ready to take the test.

This presents basic information about knowing and understanding how to drive safely. You can use it to help prepare for your road test, and to preview what the test will be like. Also, be sure to practice each driving maneuver described in the DMV Driver's Manual.

When you pass your road test, you have shown you can meet certain minimum standards for safe driving. In your everyday driving, you will deal with situations and problems you may not have encountered while practicing for or taking your road test. You can learn how to handle these situations by using the same driving habits and responsible attitudes you demonstrated during the road test. GET ENOUGH PRACTICE.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles recommends at least 30 hours of driving practice, with at least 10 hours in moderately heavy traffic. If you received your permit after September 1, 2003, are under 18 years old, and have not completed driver education training and received a Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285), you are required by law to have 20 hours of properly supervised practice driving: To take your road test, you must give the license examiner a completed "Certificate of 20 Hours of Driving Experience" (MV- 262), available from the DMV Internet Office, by request from a DMV Call Center, and at any motor vehicle office.

Important: It is illegal to practice driving in a designated Road Test Area.


Give the examiner your photo learner permit.  If you have an interim or temporary learner permit without a photo, you must also show a NYS photo driver license or non-driver photo ID card.  You also must give the examiner your five-hour pre-licensing course completion certificate (MV278) or your Student Certificate of Completion (MV285). If you received your permit after September 1, 2003, are under 18 years old, and have not completed driver education training and received a Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285), you must give the license examiner a completed "Certificate of 20 Hours of Driving Experience" (MV-262). You must provide the vehicle you will drive during the road test. You also must bring an accompanying driver who is at least 18 years old and holds a license valid for operating the test vehicle. Motorcycle applicants must also bring a car or truck and an accompanying licensed driver to transport the license examiner during the test. Each accompanying driver must be prepared to show his or her license to the examiner. The test vehicle and any accompanying vehicle must be properly registered, inspected, insured and in good working condition. The test vehicle's front seat belts and doors must be present and in working order, or, for the motorcycle test, in the accompanying vehicle. The passenger side seat belt must be readily available and clean for use by the license examiner. BE ON TIME

Your accompanying driver should drive your vehicle to the road test site and park it behind the last vehicle in line. He or she should leave enough room to pullout and around in case you are tested before the driver ahead of you.

Move to the driver's seat when the license examiner indicates to do so. Make sure your driver's seat and mirrors are adjusted properly, and don't forget to buckle your seat belt.

Before the test begins, the license examiner will explain how the test is conducted and give you a chance to ask questions.DURING THE ROAD TEST

The passenger car road test usually takes about 15 minutes. It will test your ability to make basic maneuvers needed in everyday driving. You will have to make left and right turns, stop at intersections controlled by stop signs and traffic lights, and to parallel park. You also will be asked to turn your vehicle around in a narrow street (three-point turn) and to drive in fairly heavy traffic. The motorcycle test is slightly different from the passenger car test. For example, instead of parallel parking, you will be required to make figure-eights in a small area such as a narrow street and to make left and right circles.

Follow the examiner's instructions. The license examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate basic driving skills and your knowledge of traffic laws. He or she is not there to trick you into making mistakes or committing traffic violations. During your test, the examiner will point out mistakes you make and will give you information that will help you correct them. Relax, and listen to what the examiner tells you. He or she may have you repeat a maneuver to see if you can correct a mistake you made earlier.

Safe driving tips to help pass your road test:

STEERING - Steer smoothly whether you are driving straight ahead, turning or backing up.

ACCELERATION - Accelerate smoothly and moderately. Don't race the engine or cause it to stall.

BRAKING - Bring the vehicle to a stop gently. Start braking well before your stopping position to avoid "jerky" stops. Make sure you stop your vehicle in the proper position of the lane.

CLUTCH/GEAR - Always be sure your vehicle is in the correct gear. With either an automatic or a manual transmission, shift into the proper gear at the right time without "grinding" the gears.

SPEED - Obey the posted speed limit, of course, but also adjust your speed properly due to weather, road, visibility and traffic conditions.

FOLLOWING DISTANCE -  Keep an adequate space "cushion" between your vehicle and those you are following. Use the "two second rule" described in the Driver's Manual. Be sure to increase your following distance in poor weather or visibility.

TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES - Know what signs, signals and pavement markings mean, and obey them consistently.

STOPPING POSITION - If a stop is required, stop your vehicle before it reaches an intersecting street. If stop lines or crosswalks are present, stop before crossing them. If your view is blocked after stopping behind the crosswalk, move up until you can clearly see your way, then stop again if necessary.

LANE SELECTION AND POSITION -  Keep your vehicle in the proper traffic lane, especially when preparing to make turns. Don't allow room for another vehicle to pass you on the side toward which you are turning.

COMMUNICATION - Let other drivers and pedestrians know which way you want to go. Use your directional signals or horn consistently and at the proper times.

OBSERVATION - Look for and identify potential problems or hazards in the traffic around you not just straight ahead, but behind you and on either side. Check your mirrors frequently, but be sure to look over your shoulder behind you when changing lanes or backing up.

ANTICIPATE & REACT TO OTHERS - Anticipate possible driving errors by others and be ready to react safely to make up for their mistakes.TEST RESULTS

Most drivers pass their road test on their first or second try. The amount of practice driving can make a positive difference on the road test for just about every driver.

During the test, the examiner must assess a "negative" score for important safe driving mistakes. To pass, you must not accumulate more than 30 negative points. Automatic disqualification can result from making a dangerous driving action or a serious violation of traffic laws, or becoming involved in an accident.

When you qualify for a non-commercial license Class C, D, DJ, E, M, or MJ, the examiner will issue you a printed receipt - this receipt plus your photo learner permit together will serve as a temporary license valid for 90 days. Your new photo-license will arrive in the postal mail within two to three weeks.

NOTE TO MOTORCYCLISTS: If you are adding an M or MJ endorsement to an existing license previously issued by New York State, you must go, in person, to any state or county motor vehicle office and amend your previous license. Wait at least five business days after passing the road test before you request the amendment. If you did not have a previous NYS driver license, your new Class M or MJ license will arrive in the postal mail within two to three weeks.

Your Class D or DJ permit, or other permit for a non-commercial license, is valid for up to two road tests. If you do not pass your second road test, you may continue to practice driving until the date the permit expires. Before you schedule another road test, you must return to a motor vehicle office and pay a $10 fee for two additional road tests.

Until September 1, 2006, when you qualify for a Commercial Driver License (CDL Class A, B, or C) or a Non-CDL C, the examiner will validate your Road Test Evaluation Form (CDL-200) - this validated evaluation form will be a temporary license valid for 10 days. To activate your permanent license, you must amend your original license, in person, at any state or county motor vehicle office. Wait at least five business days after passing the road test before you make the amendment.

On or after September 1, 2006, the NYSDMV cannot issue a 10-day temporary CDL when you pass a CDL skills (road) test.

Federal regulations require the NYSDMV to check both the National Driver Register and the Commercial Driver License Information System before the NYSDMV can issue a CDL.

If you pass your CDL skills test on or after September 1, 2006, you must wait at least seven days after the skills test, then go to a DMV office to amend your driver license to a CDL. Until your CDL is issued, you continue to hold only a CDL permit, and must comply with all restrictions and limitations of the permit.

If you did not pass your CDL road test, you may continue to practice driving until the date the permit expires. There is a fee of $40 for each additional road test.