What's important before a road test?
July 12, 2009 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Road test in Toronto (G1 exit for those familiar with Ontario's graduated permits). I've never taken a road test before and want to know what specific little details they look for that people commonly forget.

Mrs Normshow again. I'm taking my road test on an automatic car, in a few weeks. I'm in my late 20s and took driver's ed when I originally got my learner's permit as a teen. I don't remember any of their road test advice. I never took a road test. My parents were nervous teachers and I was an extremely nervous driver, and I quickly gave up.

Lots of recent driving practice with my partner and I'm feeling like a reasonably competent driver. Can you offer any advice on the things they look for that aren't most people's everyday practice (for example, turning the wheels towards/away from the curb when parking on a hill)? And when/how many times do you signal during a three point turn?

Specific Toronto driving test advice would be spectacular!
posted by thenormshow to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
although i didn't take any of my road tests in Toronto, i did my G1 exit test in Orangeville and my G2 exit test in Hamilton and found the examiners looked for the same things.

re: three point turns
signal when you're about to start the turn, signal when you reverse, and signal again when you're finishing up.

when i did my G1 exit test, i was so nervous about going over the speed limit (even a few km/h) that i went 5 km/h or so under the speed limit. i lost marks for that. when i did my G2 exit test, i stayed at the speed limit, or above by 5-7 km/h, and my examiner said that's the right way. they'd rather you go over a few km/h than impede traffic by driving so slowly everyone has to pass you.
posted by gursky at 6:08 PM on July 12, 2009

It's not as easy to fail as most people think. You'll fail if you do something dangerous (failure to yield and running a stop sign are big ones), or if you accumulate enough small infractions. I've yet to hear anyone fail for this second reason, though I'm sure it does happen.

Parallel parking is the hardest thing you'll have to do - and it's behind a car, not between two cars. Remember, you can ask the examiner if you can correct your vehicle placement if it's off. Pull the parking brake and turn the wheels appropriately (or answer a question about it). If you screw something up, it's not a big deal - I was 30 degrees to the curb and hit it with my back wheel and I still passed. All I got was a checkmark for "incorrect vehicle position". YMMV, though.

Don't impede traffic. Apparently if another car honks at you because of something you've done or failed to do, it's an automatic fail - though I can't confirm this.

Three-point turns are G2 exit material.

Keep both hands on the wheel, at 9 and 3. Don't speed or straddle two lanes. The right lane is the driving lane unless you plan to turn. Turn into the lane closest to you, and then move over. Signal whenever you plan to move. Know your car. Remain calm.

Also: BLIND SPOTS AND MIRRORS. CHECK THEM, CONSTANTLY. Make sure to turn your head and not just your eyes to check mirrors. And whatever you do, don't use your rearview mirror to back up!

Good luck!
posted by wsp at 6:30 PM on July 12, 2009

They asked me what kind of road signs I drove past--specifically, which ones were on my right when they knew I was looking left.

Both times I did a test (motorcycle and car), they made me turn on to a one way street. I'd look that one up if I were you.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:10 PM on July 12, 2009

One key thing would be to make it very obvious where you're looking: When you go through an intersection, don't just flick your eyes across to check for oncoming traffic, fully rotate your head and exaggerate scanning.

Also, your mileage may vary, but I'd recommend doing it somewhere outside of Toronto, if at all possible. I've had multiple experiences with vindictive testers failing me instantly for, e.g. getting too close to the car behind me while parking. I failed my G1 exit thrice (two times with the same (rather nasty) tester) and my G2 exit once, before taking them elsewhere (Orillia and Ottawa, respectively).

With respect to gursky's comment, it really depends on your examiner...while s/he says that the examiner they had said it was right to be slightly over the limit, I failed my G2 exit for precisely that reason.

Good luck!
posted by james.nvc at 7:40 PM on July 12, 2009

It might help if we know where your wife is taking her test so that we could maybe speak to the areas that she might be driving in. For example, the Brampton course is all enclosed (except for the highway part, presumably); you'd have to deal with lots of one-way streets in Oakville; etc etc.
posted by pised at 8:56 PM on July 12, 2009

i'm taking it in toronto, proper. downsview.
posted by thenormshow at 9:22 PM on July 12, 2009

Show confidence while driving. That way when someone else pulls a bonehead move you'll have the instructor on your side.

Advice from a friend: If the driving centre has traffic lights out of the parking lot, pay attention to those traffic lights and don't fail before you even get out there! Stop before the sidewalk if it's red and they don't have a stop bar marked.
posted by cathoo at 3:46 AM on July 13, 2009

when i did my G1 exit test, i was so nervous about going over the speed limit (even a few km/h) that i went 5 km/h or so under the speed limit. i lost marks for that

This happened to me too - I was nervous, and figured there was nothing wrong with playing it safe and going a little slow. Wrong.

You'll fail if you do something dangerous (failure to yield and running a stop sign are big ones), or if you accumulate enough small infractions. I've yet to hear anyone fail for this second reason, though I'm sure it does happen.

I failed through small infractions. I can't remember them all now (one of them being driving too slowly). My main problem was that I was terrified - try to drive confidently.
posted by iona at 4:52 AM on July 13, 2009

Only thing I remember (and it may have been for the second test), was having to perform an emergency stop, which I think meant using the four-ways signalling to the right and pulling over slowly and applying my parking brake. Other than that it wasn't so bad. Just make full stops, drive on the right, and try and hit the mark speed limit wise.

Good luck.
posted by backwards guitar at 5:56 AM on July 13, 2009

Can you afford to take a single driving lesson? All the local driving schools will have a very good idea of what the local driving test's typical route looks like, and you don't have to take a whole package of lessons -- just ask them to run you through the exam and point out likely problem areas. It'll cost relatively little and might offer you a lot of peace of mind.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:43 AM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I got my G2 a couple weeks ago, so the test is pretty fresh in my mind, so first, the things you mention.

Both hill parking and three point turns were on my test. The hill parking was fake, as in, "do what you would do if you were parking uphill with a curb." Three points aren't bad, but you do have to signal appropriately at each step and make sure you're looking everywhere you need to be looking.

Now other stuff and little details. There's a possibility that you may have to reverse into a parking space instead of parallel parking. Make sure you know where the front of your car is, so that you can stop with it fully behind stop lines, crosswalks, etc. If you don't get back into the right lane immediately, they'll ding you for that too.

Communicate with the examiner. You can ask them if you can adjust your parking job, or change lanes, or tell them you're gonna wait for a car to pass by before doing something. Other than that, practise! A couple hours of exercise in stuff you don't do every day (three point turns, parallel parking, reverse parking, roadside stop), and getting a better feeling for where your car begins and ends will go a long way toward making you more comfortable on the road test.

Good luck!
posted by benign at 8:15 AM on July 13, 2009

The big one most people don't remember is the 'emergency stop'. Pull to the side of the road, stop the vehicle. Shift into park, turn on the four-way signals, and apply the parking brake.

Signal everything, even leaving a parking spot at the examination centre.

Make a slight show of checking your mirrors as you drive. When I'm driving, I tend to just glance, but when I took the test I made sure I moved my head a bit when looking over to the mirrors.
posted by smitt at 8:30 AM on July 13, 2009

The thing most people miss about the emergency stop is that you slow down first, and then pull off the road. This is easy to forget when you're simulating an emergency and thinking about getting off the road, but it makes sense that you don't want to try to veer onto the shoulder with a blown tire at highway speeds.

A friend of mine (deservedly) failed a G2 road test in Ottawa a year ago. Here's what did him in:

-Didn't slow down before pulling off during emergency stop.
-Didn't check his mirrors often enough while cruising.
-Rolled past stop lines before coming to a complete stop.
-Turned right in a must-turn lane instead of leaving the lane. The examiner hadn't told him to turn, so he expected my friend to change lanes instead.

The last one seems a little idiosyncratic to me, but maybe they all expect that.

And yes, move your head when you mirror-check.
posted by hayvac at 9:29 AM on July 13, 2009

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