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Here are ICBC’s top 5 tips to pass your road test

With demand for road tests heating up this summer, the agency is encouraging people to prepare and pass on their first try 🚗✔️

The summer season is also road test season, which means many of you new drivers out there are trying your hand at getting licensed to get behind the wheel on your own.

Many of you won't pass. According to ICBC, nearly half fail on their first try.

Booking a re-take doesn’t just suck for you – road test demand was up 30 per cent last year over 2019, and is expected to rise similarly this year – it's also a drag for ICBC. The agency said additional tests put pressure on the system and reduce appointment availability for others looking to get licensed.

So ICBC licensing office manager Peter Wong suggests being ready the first time around.

“By being fully prepared for your test, you set yourself up for success behind the wheel and have a much greater chance of passing,” he said in a statement.

Here are 5 tips from ICBC to pass your road test:

  1. Be ready. Driving experience and training are important. Drive as often as you can. Take some lessons with an ICBC-approved driving school if possible. Even one or two lessons can make a difference in passing your road test.

    Instructors can help you refine your skills, teach you safe driving practices and let you know what to expect on the test. Download the agency’s new app, Street Sense, which helps you gain experience in recognizing and avoiding potential hazards on the road. Check out other resources on from the Learn to Drive Smart app to the Tuning Up for Drivers guide.
  2. Examine your vehicle. Bring a safe, reliable vehicle for your road test. Your examiner will inspect your vehicle to make sure it’s safe before the road test. If it isn't safe (for example, it has a flat tire, the brake or signal lights aren’t working, a seat belt isn’t working, there’s a cracked windshield) or doesn't meet legal requirements, your test could be cancelled. See: 10 most common reasons a vehicle might not be accepted for a road test.
  3. Calm yourself. Do some last-minute practice on more challenging maneuvers like parallel and reverse-stall parking. Practicing at your exam location can be a big confidence booster. Get to your test location at least 15 minutes before your appointment. Leaving it too late can raise your stress, which isn’t the best frame of mind for a road test.
  4. Heighten your awareness. Observe your surroundings and be aware of posted speed limits. A lack of awareness on the road has led to many road test failures. Speed limits can change suddenly when entering school, playground and construction zones. Also, remember to shoulder check when changing lanes, scan when making a turn and conduct a 360-degree check before parallel and reverse-stall parking. Examiners also look for good vehicle control when making a turn on the road.
  5. Ask questions. If you are unsure about test requirements, ask your examiner before the test begins. Come prepared with questions, and if you can, print and complete the ready for your road test card and hand it to your examiner. It helps your examiner understand your individual needs and allows you to get your questions answered before you start.

    Remember, an examiner will not instruct or teach during a road test, but you can always ask them to repeat their directions or clarify what they mean.

For a bonus tip, Wong said to take it one block at a time.

"While you’re driving down the road, you’re scanning at least a block ahead," he said. That way, you can identify anything unexpected or upcoming obstacles.

Wong added that it's so important to stay calm, especially in the first 5-10 minutes of the test, which typically lasts around half an hour.

From January to the end of June this year, the agency has completed:

  • nearly 103,000 road tests in the Lower Mainland,
  • over 18,000 road tests on Vancouver Island,
  • over 16,000 road tests in the Southern Interior, and
  • Nearly 8,000 road tests in the Northern Interior.