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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Prepare for the Behind the Wheel Drivers License Test

Internet question and answer forums seem to be filled with nervous young people asking how to best prepare for the driving test. As a former driver's license examiner for the state of Florida, I can only answer for the Florida exam but I believe that the driving test is probably similar in most states.

Written Tests - The questions your friend had on the test won’t necessarily be the same on your test.

You will have to take both a written Road Rules exam and a Road Signs exam. Most state exams are similar in that they use a computerized exam system. The tests normally consist of anywhere from 20 to 30 multiple choice questions. If you should fail the exam, don't count on the questions being the same the next time you take the test. Each test is made up of questions drawn at random from a large data base of questions, so no one will ever see exactly the same test twice.

The best way to prepare for the written exam is to study and become thoroughly familiar with your state's driving manual and to take online DMV practice exam test.

Road Test – Once you have passed your written and vision exams, you will be assigned to a driver’s license examiner for the road test. Each examiner will have a check list of things they will look for during the test.

One thing to remember here is that there are NO TRICK QUESTIONS! There will be no hidden meanings in the tasks he gives you to perform. Driving is tricky enough as it is and the examiner understands that you are nervous so he doesn’t have to ask any trick questions. Believe the examiner when he or she tells you to perform the tasks exactly as you are directed. Just follow their directions as they are given and make sure you completely understand their directions by asking questions, if you have to.

Is The Car Safe? – The examiner will check the vehicle’s registration to see if it is current and will ask to see proof of current insurance on the vehicle. Then the examiner will conduct a quick safety check on the vehicle looking at tires and the overall condition of the car. The examiner will then ask you to start the vehicle and will conduct an inspection to make sure that the head and tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals are all in working order.

Turn Signals – Remember to use your turn signals any time your vehicle is changing direction. That includes backing in and out of a parking space and pulling over to the curb. Signal for the direction that you will be turning.

Parking – The examiner will ask you to park the car; in many states that means demonstrating your ability to parallel park. In most states however, the need to parallel park is rare so it is not included in the exam. Instead, the examiner will ask you to pull into a standard parking space such as those you will commonly see in any parking lot. Often there will be traffic cones on either side of the space and you will have to pull in and back out without hitting either of the cones.

The best way to practice this is by looking at where you want to put the car. As you pull into a parking space, don’t look at the hazards on either side of the car. Look at where you want to put the car by looking squarely at the center of the parking space and steering the car toward that spot. If you look at the hazards on either side, you won’t be able to steer toward the center of the parking space.

The Road – Once you have successfully completed the parking phase, the examiner will take you out on the road. The examiner will be looking to see if you obey the speed limit and pay attention to all signs, especially stop signs.

Intersections - If you come to a stop sign, slow gradually and stop before the stop line. Before proceeding into the intersection look to the left, to the right, then left again for one final check. Be especially watchful for small vehicles such as motorcycles or bicycles that are hard to see and can come up quickly. Take your time and make sure there is enough clear space in traffic before entering the intersection. If there is no stop sign for your direction of travel, don’t stop. Just use caution as you enter the intersection and check for someone who may be running the stop sign in the other direction. If there is a yield sign, slow and be prepared to stop but don’t stop unless there are pedestrians or vehicles crossing your direction of travel.

Backing Up – At some point in the exam, the examiner may ask you to stop and then back up the vehicle until you are told to stop. The examiner will be checking to see if you follow the correct procedures to make sure the way behind you is clear and that you can back up in a straight line without veering all over the place. Don't depend on your mirrors! Keeping one hand on the wheel, turn your body so that you can look directly behind the vehicle and then back up slowly.

Three-Point-Turn – The examiner may ask you to pull over to the right curb on a narrow street. Then he will direct you to conduct a three-point-turn. Signal that you will be turning left, then back up and turn the vehicle so that you are facing in the opposite direction. You will have to do this without hitting the curb on either side of the street.

It is all really simple and straightforward. Just remember THERE ARE NO TRICK QUESTIONS and follow the examiner's directions exactly as they are given. Good luck!

You can practice for your drivers license with a learners permit practice test at offered 100% online.

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