When it comes to passing the road test in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the natural response is to feel nervous and get scared. If not for lacking the right driving skills, but the possibility that something somewhere can turn out differently than we might be ready for. What if a kid runs out infront of my car and I don’t see them coming? what if there’s a bus driving infront of me? or what if there will be construction?
These are all perfectly normal questions to ask oneself and to wonder about, but why are we really nervous? the answer: because someone we don’t know, a stranger, who we imagine can be quite strict and unfriendly, frowning and judging our every minute driving error, as we sweat and struggle to keep our composure as we put out a half decent performance, just so we can pass the road-test and we never have to think about it again.
“I need to pass my road test the first time!” – common student outcry
One of the most common student utterances, while we are preparing for the road-test often is: “I don’t want to fail.” or ” if I fail it will be so embarrassing, because my friends were able to get their license on the first try.” or ” I will have to wait a long time, before I can re-do the road-tests.”
while all of the above is somewhat valid and true, at least on some level. Our goal is to focus on training, performance and good driving, despite what the big bad wolf will think of our driving. I often remind my students to think of the examiner as a friendly neighbour or relative, who is simply going for the ride. Also, while accumulating enough points on the test, can ultimately cost you the test, you can make a number of errors and still pass the road-test just fine. So please, try to stay focused on your driving performance and being a safe driver, rather than how many points you have gotten so far, every time the examiner goes to write something down. For all we know, they’re just drawing little doodles on a separate piece of paper, while you’re sweating and worrying.
So let’s go over some mistakes that you may be making…
Now, I will go over some common mistakes that end up costing most students the road-test and how to avoid them, when it comes judgment day for you!
- Speed – I often remind my students that “speed kills” and it can very quickly kill your test. So practice staying UNDER the speed limit at all times. Practice recognizing the speed signs and where they change, road/weather conditions, hills/turns, and different environments requiring different speed considerations such as the highway. We go through many exercises to help our students to manage and control their speed, so they can be more aware of the speed on the speedometer and kinesthetically, developing a feel for each speed level – after all, we don’t want to keep staring at the speedometer, and miss out on something important on the road ahead.
- Observations. You are driving through a crosswalk, where there’s a person approaching from one side to cross, and the examiner already knows you’re not going to make it. You’re about to make a turn or do a park, and you forget a check over your shoulder. There are numerous and specific other situations where checking/observing and seeing very critical things are CRUCIAL. When it comes to the test, it all comes down to the fact of whether you have the right HABITS in place by the time you’re being evaluated. I’m not talking about remembering or thinking of a shoulder check, but the muscle memory required to do what you need to do, in time, without thinking about it. That’s where a good instructor would have reminded you over and over of things to remember, to the point that you are doing things, without thinking about it – we call this phenomena as “unconscious competence.”
- Parking – Learn the simple method to curb park and reverse park with a professional instructor. Go through the process many times, and in different conditions. Can you park between 2 cars? well you have to know how to do that, because you may very well HAVE TO park between 2 cars, reversing, on your test. Can you park near the curb, without hitting curb or parking in the middle of road? there’s precise techniques that allow you to gain the right gauge on how to do this over and over again, just the same, without fail – make sure you learn that and practice it in the car you will be using for your road-test. Different size cars can be slightly different when it comes to parking them – think of a sedan vs a SUV vehicle.
- Practice turns! I really can’t say enough about turns and the importance of them. In a way, every part of driving confidently and successfully can be summarized in how you manage turns. There are so many points related to turns such as your speed, how you use the wheel, your signals (when to use it for example), how your turns land such as wide/short, right of way rules and how you manage driving in reference to other cars being present, and so on and so forth.
- Lane management – novice students have difficulty staying inside their lanes and often end up riding the white line or the dotted line, endangering themselves or the other cars around them. How we fix that is by looking at the right spot or aiming correctly. The expression we often use is ” look where you want the car to go.” and like magic, it works everytime. If that doesn’t make sense to you yet, you haven’t yet seen the miracle unfold before your eyes, so let a professional instructor guide you in trusting the process.
“…but what about the cost of the course. Is it a lot?”
There are so many other things to be aware of that can cost us points on the road-test, so check out youtube videos, go train with a professional instructor, even if money seems to be tight. If this is a current concern for you, please consider the following:
- Remember your safety and the safety of your loved ones above all else are more important than any amount of money.
- You only have to learn to drive properly, develop the right habits and get your license in Canada once!
- Do a full program because you will save a lot of money that you won’t unnecessary pay to the insurance companies, I’m talking up to 6000$ in 3 years time.
- You’re better off spending your money on education once than having to re-do the test and paying 53$ for a test, everytime you have to retake it.
Last but not least, please check out our services page or one of our programs in the upcoming days. If you have any questions about the programs we offer, please don’t hesitate to ask at the contact us page. We have the most educated, caring instructors who are eager to help and share their experience. We’d love to help as many people as we can, become confident, skilled drivers so you can feel safe driving in any weather, road condition or country for the rest of your life.