6 Tips for Getting Ready for a Driver's Test

By following these six tips, new drivers can feel confident in their ability to do whatever skill the examiner asks them to perform on the road.

Getting a G2 licence is a major accomplishment for new Ontario drivers. The ability to drive yourself anywhere you want to go is the ultimate in personal freedom and self-sufficiency. However, there are two important hurdles every Ontario driver must jump before enjoying the independence of being a licensed driver: the written test and the road test. For most drivers, the most challenging and nerve-racking of the two is the G1 exit test or road test.

1. Prepare by the book

Ontario’s Official Driver Handbook should be your best friend while preparing for the G1 exit test. This informative guide includes all the rules of the road you will need to follow during the road test. Knowing with confidence what all the street signs mean as well as the laws about right of way will help you feel less nervous when your driving instructor has you driving in traffic on unfamiliar roads.

2. Enroll in an MTO-approved course

Gaining hands-on driving experience is one of the biggest benefits of taking an MTO-approved Beginner Driver Education (BDE) course. The driving instructors at MTO-approved driving schools are ministry-licenced and provide such extensive education that new drivers can get a four-month reduction off the 12-month minimum G1 licencing period.

In particular, driving school will teach you safe driving techniques, how to drive in poor weather conditions, and strategies for driving at night. When selecting a driving school, look for one that has successfully been in business for a number of years, has strong customer referrals, and provides at least 20 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours in-vehicle training, and 10 hours of flexible training including computer-based learning, driving simulations or additional classroom or road training.

3. Get highway experience

To pass your road test, you will need to show proficiency in expressway driving. Specifically, on the  Declaration of Driving Experience form, you will be required to indicate the number of time in the preceding three months you drove on a highway with a speed limit of at least 80 km/hr along with how long the highway driving lasted.

Ontario’s Official Driver Handbook is an excellent resource for learning how to safely enter and exit the expressway.

4. Sharpen your parallel park skills

Many experienced drivers who have had their G2 licence for years still struggle with parallel parking. So, new drivers will want to practice this skill several times to feel comfortable executing it during the road test. Keep these steps in mind to perfect your technique:

  • Check your mirrors for traffic behind you before slowing the vehicle.

  • Alert other drivers you are about to park by turning on your signal before reducing your speed.

  • Stop next to the vehicle parked in front of the empty parking space. Be sure to keep 60 cm between your car and the parked one.

  • Once traffic is clear, start reversing into the space and turn the steering wheel toward the curb. After your car is halfway in the parking space, turn the steering wheel to bring the car in line with the curb.

  • Make sure the care is aligned by moving forward or backward as necessary

  • Shift into park and engage the parking brake

  • When leaving the parking space, remember to release the parking brake and check your mirrors and blind spots.

5. Practice getting in driving position

Make it a habit to always fasten your seatbelt and properly adjust your mirrors and driver’s seat before you turn on the vehicle.

A good test to determine if your seat is in the right position is to sit up straight and place both feet flat on the floor beneath your brake pedal. If you can do this comfortably, your seat is in the right place. Remember, your driving examiner will be grading you on the behaviours you exhibit before you start the car so start forming good habits long before you get to test day.

6. Stay aware while you drive

When you take your road test, the driving examiner will pay careful attention to your awareness as a driver. In particular, they will look at how frequently you use your mirrors and check your blind spots. They will also note how well you pay attention to traffic signs, pavement markings, and potential hazards. Get as much behind-the-wheel experience as possible so you can improve your observation skills and pass this part of the exam with flying colours.

In addition to keeping these six tips in mind, make sure the car you plan to drive for the test is in tip-top shape. Also if you wear glasses, don’t forget to bring them with you.

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