To get ready for your skills test you should use that 50 hours of practice to practice the stuff that the licensing examiner is going to be looking for. This test is no different than any other test you prepare for in school. Just like you go over the exact material that will be on the test you want to spend your time practicing the things they are going to have you doing. Just driving around is good practice but don’t spend your entire 50 hours just driving.
Practice things like at the beginning of the test you need to adjust your seat and mirrors. That will be the very first thing you do when the examiner enters the vehicle. Practice getting in and out of parking spaces. Find out what kind of parking spaces are at the BMV you will take your test at. Are they straight in spaces or angled? You can look that up on Google Maps if it is not nearby. If it is nearby then practice right in the BMV parking lot. Then do your driving practice in that local area driving around the roads.
You’re not going to drive on the highway during a test so spend a little of the 50 hours learning to properly merge. And to properly merge you shouldn’t be putting on the brakes to get in traffic. If you need to then you needed to adjust your speed better approaching traffic. You should just blend in. Don’t ignore highway driving but your time should be spent learning the skills you need to pass the test.
The road test is simply driving through the parking lot at the BMV and out on to public roads, driving on those roads while obeying all the traffic laws and the license examiner’s instructions, then returning to the BMV office parking lot and properly parking in a space and turning off the vehicle. It sounds simple and is if you practice this while doing your 50 hours of driving practice. Here are the steps you can not miss.
When the license test examiner approaches the vehicle they will want to make sure the directionals/blinkers are working properly. DO NOT START THE CAR if they do not tell you to. Do exactly what you are told, no more, no less. Just turn the key so the accessories are on just before you turn it all the way to start it. As they instruct you turn on the designated blinker on the side they told you. Some will want to check your brake lights as well. Once they are satisfied that the equipment works they will get in the car. They may start right in with giving you instructions or they may give it a second or two for you to adjust yourself.
ALWAYS CHECK THE ADJUSTMENTS ON EVERYTHING IN FRONT OF THE LICENSE TEST EXAMINER. That means:
While you are driving make sure to stop on the lines for stop signs. Even if you need to creep forward to see clearly stop on the line first. Come to a complete stop, not a rolling stop. Sit for a full second with the car completely stopped before you edge forward to see traffic. This is one of the things you should practice.
The examiner isn’t going to try and trick you. They are going to give you very specific instructions. “Turn right at the next intersection”. They will give you enough time to change lanes if you need to and turn on your directional. Make sure to turn on the directional about when you are half way on the block you want to turn. Only turn it on after you pass any other possible turns on that side so that drivers behind you are not confused about when you’re going to turn. Do it on the block you want to turn.
Look carefully and see the traffic. Do not pull out if you need to pull out quickly. Wait until it is safe. Just because you CAN pull into traffic doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Wait until it is safe.
Use directionals (Blinkers) for every turn. Look both ways and reconfirm by looking again before you pull out in traffic. Make sure all moves you make are safe. When returning to the BMV parking lot the test is not over until the vehicle is parked and turned off.
Ah the dreaded maneuverability test. I’ve found that a lot of people fail this part of the test and this shouldn’t be happening if you are practicing it during your 50 hours of practice time. There are some important cues that you can use in any vehicle to make doing the maneuverability test a piece of cake.
First, use the car you are going to take you test in for your practice if at all possible. Get used to what it looks like behind the wheel in the drivers position where you need to be in order for the bumper to line up with the cones. Set up the cones and stop where you think it should be then put the car in park and get out of the car and look at what you did. Understand where the corners of the car are at. You can do this several times to make sure you really know exactly where you are stopping the car. Do this with both the front bumper and the rear. You should be able to stop with it directly in line with the cone. This is what your practice is for. To take the time to learn these things.
OK so now you know how to stop so how do you keep from messing up and hitting cones? It’s easy, there are physical cues that you use. When you are starting out you don’t intuitively know when to turn, that comes with time and experience so here is the trick to passing your maneuverability test.
When you are doing the first part and driving forward you will drive through the first set of cones and approach the second set. When your side view mirror is at the second set of cones turn the wheel 180 degrees (half a revolution) the direction the examiner instructs you. Drive slowly with the wheel turned but do not change the amount of turn.
As you are now passing the single cone when it lines up with the side view mirror you then turn the wheel 360 degrees. That means turn back that half turn you just did and then another half turn so the wheels are going the other direction to get the car back in line. Do not come to a complete stop when doing this. Keep the vehicle moving forward slowly. Once your vehicle is parallel with the course you should be very close to your back bumper being in line with the single cone. When it is, stop.
Leave the steering wheel turned. When it is time to do it in reverse you’re already set to go. You don’t need to turn the wheel. Just put the car in reverse and when the side view mirror is in line with the single cone turn it the opposite direction 180 degrees, a half turn. So you will turn it a half turn back and the wheels will be straight so you are pointing the back of the car to go down between the sets of cones.
Simply back up out of the box to the line with the front bumper.
If you would like to see exactly what an Ohio driving test looks like this young lady recorded her test at the Hilliard, Ohio BMV.