In her 14 years as a driver examiner, Ginette Shewchuk says she’s never met anyone without some level of test anxiety. “It’s natural to feel nervous before taking the test,” notes AMA’s chief examiner. “But the readier you are, the more confident you will feel.”
A road test is a means of evaluating both knowledge and ability to be an independent, licensed driver. The test includes time for pre-drive instruction, a skills assessment and post-test summary of the results.
We asked Shewchuk to share some advice for would-be drivers to ensure they’re set up for success.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO PREPARE FOR A ROAD TEST?
In addition to your driver education course, make sure you have 50 to 60 additional hours of driving. This gives you seat time in various weather conditions, practising key driving skills, such as parallel parking and merging, for example. Make sure you’re also well-versed in the rules of the road. Test-takers commonly lose points for poor demonstration of driving manoeuvres like parking, but also incomplete stops, poor lane positioning, failing to yield right of way and not checking blindspots. Visit ama.ab.ca/Driving-School for articles, animations and diagrams to brush up for your test. You can also pick up a Learner’s Licence Prep Kit of flashcards from any AMA centre and re-take the Learner’s Licence Practice Exam online.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE IT?
Whenever you feel ready, plain and simple. You might want to consider hourly traffic conditions in your area. But if that’s the time you plan to drive normally, it’s best to be prepared for that time of day.
WHAT VEHICLE SHOULD YOU USE?
Although you can use any vehicle that meets the legal requirements, we definitely suggest using the one you’re most familiar with. The examiner may ask you to identify and show that you can operate the vehicle controls, including windshield wipers, defrost and hazard signal, so familiarity is key. And make sure the vehicle is road-ready. Road tests can be cancelled before they even begin if things like brake lights aren’t in good working condition. Ensure you have all your paperwork in order as well. You’ll need your existing Class 7 learner’s licence, and proof that the vehicle you’re using is registered and insured.
ANY OTHER TIPS TO CALM NERVOUS TEST-TAKERS?
Arrive at the AMA centre 30 minutes prior to your appointment for check-in and to sort out any unexpected situa-tions that might arise. Being early will prevent undue stress before the test and allow some extra time to relax. Most of all: Trust yourself. With a solid understanding of the rules of the road, along with hours of practice behind the wheel, you’ve got this!
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Learn the benefits of becoming an AMA driving instructor.