Getting your driver’s license is an exciting and life-changing experience! There is a sense of freedom and independence in having it. But, to get your driver’s license, you need to take and pass a written test and a driving test. Taking your driving test can be a little nerve-wracking, but there are ways to prepare for it!
Before Scheduling Your Driving Test
Prior to scheduling your test, you should practice as much as possible. If you have a learner’s permit, take full advantage of it and get your practice in. Feeling comfortable behind the wheel is one of the best ways to prepare for your test. If possible, practice driving in the car you will use for the test. That way you will be as comfortable and familiar with the vehicle as possible.
It’s a good idea to practice driving with someone in the car – like your parent, friend, or even driving instructor if you have one. Make sure they are a licensed driver in your state and meet your state’s age requirement to drive with you. You can check in about this by calling your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or visiting their website. Ask your codriver to test and grade your driving so you can know what you need to work on.
Typically, during a driver’s test there are specific skills you may be asked to do. They include:
- Parallel parking
- Stopping and braking
- Observing traffic
- Approaching intersections
- Using signals
- Understanding road signs and speed limits
- Checking your mirrors often for any cars or pedestrians
Pro Tip: Empty parking lots are great locations to practice your driving. You can go to a school parking lot after hours, an office parking lot on the weekend, or the parking lot of the driving office you’ll be taking your test at to practice when they are closed.
The only way to master these specific skills is through practice. Practice makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice!
Once you feel confident in your skills, schedule your driving test.
The Week Before Your Driving Test
A week before your driver’s test, make sure your car is ready to be driven on the big day. Now that you’re physically prepared, your car should be too! Be sure that:
- The lights of your car – headlights, brake lights, and blinkers – work
- Basic features – AC, wipers, defrost, horn, emergency brake, and hazard lights – work, and you know how to use them
- The tires are in good condition
- The windshield is clean, and there are no cracks
- The mirrors and driver’s seat are adjusted to fit you
Pro Tip: Do a practice driving run the day before your test to feel even more ready. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep so you can be well-rested and energized for it.
In addition to making sure your car is good to go, you should review your hand signals and practice them until you feel confident. Also, gather your test paperwork, permit (if you have one), proof of registration, and insurance for your car. You will be asked for them, so be sure to have them ready to go and in a place you won’t forget on your test day!
The Day of Your Driving Test
When the day of your test finally comes, don’t be nervous or overthink anything! We know it is easier said than done, so we have some relaxation techniques for you, including mountain meditation and mindfulness meditation. If you feel anxious, consider putting these into practice a half an hour before your test.
Before you leave for the driving office, make sure that you have everything on you, like your paperwork and additional documents (insurance and proof of registration). If you wear corrective lenses or glasses, have them on you. Because the driving office will likely be busy with other people who are also taking their driving test, renewing their license, or with other services, it would be unlikely that you would be able to take your test at another time on the same day if you forgot any of these important items.
Throughout the test, you will be assessed on the skills mentioned above. Preparing for your driving test takes hard work, but it will all be worth it. Once you pass, you can enjoy the life of being a licensed driver who is ready to take on the world! And the roads.
For more information about driving, check out these resources:
Author: Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.