So the big day has finally arrived. Your teen has come of age and now faces a rite of passage: the dreaded driver’s license test. How do the both of you go about ensuring success on this day of days?
In most states, your teen will have already passed a driver’s education course that has acquainted her with the rules of the road and familiarized her with the basic maneuvers that the test examiners at the Directorate of Motor vehicles will make her execute. Thus she has passed the first hurdle and qualified to take the test. But how well does she know those rules and how well she can execute those maneuvers?
Over the last decade many states require not only the completion of a certified driver’s education course, but also a minimum number of practice hours which the student performs under parental supervision. During these hours most parents just have their teen drive around town on shopping trips, or to school or to the movies. This is all well and good. The kid learns how to interact with other drivers and handle driving emergencies in a familiar setting. These little trips are valuable experience. Just don’t forget to practice the dog and pony show moves that the DMV will require on test day.
Yes, repetition is the mother of learning, and you not only have to teach your teen to drive safely – you must also train for the test. This means finding out what events are tested and then practicing them until your student can perform them in his sleep. There’s nothing like going into that test station in a confident frame of mind. It puts both your teen and the test examiner at ease. A relaxed teen performs better and a relaxed test examiner is more disposed to take it easy on the teen.
How do you find out what maneuvers are tested? Just go to your states driving manual or rules of the road and look them up. They are no secret.
Timing is everything. If you take your teen to the test station on a busy day like Saturday, the DMV personnel will less time to scrutinize her as they have to rush through huge numbers of applicants. The less time they have to examine, the fewer deficiencies they will find. The more time they have to test means more chances for the teen to fail the test. I have found that a lot of examiners are looking for ways to keep that license out of teenage hands. Limit your teen’s exposure to them if you want to go home with the prize.
Go to the test site with all the proper documentation. Again, read your state’s rules of the road to find out what you need. At a minimum your teen should be carrying his learner’s permit, social security card, and birth certificate. Also stick around the DMV while your teen is waiting to take the test. You never know when a last minute signature from mom or dad will be needed.
Make sure your car meets your state’s safety standards. Is the horn working? Are all the turn signals in operating order? Do the windshield wipers wipe? How about the brake lights? These are the first things that test examiner will look at before taking your teen out on the road. If there are any problems with car, the test is over before it begins.
Finally make sure your teen gets a good night’s sleep before the test. Fatigue will degrade his performance. You want him bright eyed and bushy tailed for this operation. A good breakfast wouldn’t hurt either. You don’t want her dopey from hunger for this test.
Put your teen at ease. Let him know that it won’t be the end of the world if he doesn’t pass the test the first time out. There’s always another day. I’ve known teens to fail the test in the morning and then come back in the afternoon to pass.
A newly licensed driver will be coming home on test day if you follow these steps and take the time to prepare.