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Keeping Up-To-Date On Traffic Laws With I Drive Smart
June 06, 2012 · 3 Comments

A wise man once wrote that "no one can complete an education, for of necessity education is a continuing process". We see this proverb in action every day of our lives. Our best teachers are those that never seem to stop learning, and our doctors are required to attend continuing education classes throughout their careers. Likewise, we at I Drive Smart believe that driver education is not a one-time event. Instead, we hope that our students will work throughout their lives to become safer and more responsible drivers, and our instructors strive to instill that attitude in our students. One of the most important pieces to successfully continuing your driver education is to keep up-to-date on often-changing traffic laws.

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3 CommentsTags: Driver Education · Driver Licensing Test · Driving Tips

Ace Your Driving Test With I Drive Smart!
May 30, 2012 · 1 Comment

Those of us that have our driver's license often like to pretend that we were born good drivers, that driver education came naturally to us, and that we passed our licensing test flawlessly. Well, for most of us, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Taking a driving test can be one of the most stressful events of a teenager's young life, and a number of us have failed driving tests as proof of that. Apart from normal anxiety, perhaps a young driver is not typically a great test taker, or perhaps they fear what others might say if they fail the test. Suffice it to say that there are a million reasons that a teen may be overly nervous and fail to perform optimally on their driving test. Don't let that happen to you!

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1 CommentTags: Driver Education · Driver Licensing Test · Maryland Driver Licensing

Getting a permit means putting in the hours
July 14, 2011 · No Comments

In our previous blog entry, we talked about how driving for teens offers freedom, but that responsibility comes with it too.

Teens in New York State, and in several other states across the country, are now faced with the requirement of completing 50 hours of supervised driving, up from the previous 18 required (with 15 of those hours mandated to occur after sunset).

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No CommentsTags: Driver Education · Driver Licensing Test · Driving Safety · Driving Tips · Maryland Driver Licensing

Maryland Driver's Licensing Test Part 4
October 20, 2010 · 2 Comments

Some final points to consider while preparing for the Maryland State Driver's Licensing Test.  Braking: During the public road test be sure to brake smoothly using steady pressure.  Jerking to a stop could cause a point deduction.  Come to a complete stop at all traffic signals and stop signs.  No rolling stops and be sure to stay behind all stop lines and pavement markings at intersections!  These manuvers are a violation of the law and will result in an immediate failure.  Steering: Keep both hands gripped on the outside of the steering wheel at all times unless using other controls.  You may not use the open palm of your hand to turn the wheel.  Lane Usage: Do not make contact with or climb curbs with your vehicle, cross sidewalks or straddle lane markings for an extended period of time.  Complete turns in the proper lane on all multiple lane roads and never change lanes at intersections.  Head and Traffic Checks: Always check your surroundings to ensure it is safe to proceed.  Check traffic and mirrors regularly, especially navigating through intersections, while making turns and changing lanes.  Watch for hazards by searching left and right at intersections, driveways, parking lot entrances, railroad tracks and other locations where traffic intersects.  Scan ahead, observe traffic and look for pedestrians in high volume areas where pedestrians are expected to be present.  Monitor "blind spots" during merges, lane changing and other cross traffic manuvers.  It is very important to fully stop and show due caution at all stop signs, yields signs and intersections. Be sure to brake before entering a curve as not appear unsafe. 

The following "Dangerous Acts" will terminate your driving test immediately or any other not listed "unsafe actions":

*Failure to wear glasses or contact lenses, if required

*Failure to fasten safety belt (shoulder and lap belt, if equipped with both)

*Exceeding three minutes to complete either of the closed course exercises

*Moving a cone or flag

*Failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign

*Failure to obey signs, signals, or any other traffic law

*If you are involved in an avoidable crash or if your vehicle makes contact with other vehicles, objects or pedestrians

*If you commit any unsafe act or if another driver is forced to take evasive action in order to prevent a crash

*If you put the vehicle over sidewalks or curbs

*If you do not follow the examiner's verbal instructions

*If you impede the flow of traffic unnecessarily

*If you remove both hands from the steering wheel while the vehicle is in motion

*If the examiner is forced to intervene; either physically or verbally to avoid a collision or unsafe act

*A test will also be terminated when there is an accumulation of basic driving errors   

2 CommentsTags: Driver Licensing Test

Maryland Driver's Licensing Test Part 3
August 28, 2010 · 2 Comments

During the portion of the public road test, the vehicle must be operated in a safe manner at all times.  For instance, you may not use your left foot on the brake pedal and you may not palm the steering wheel.  If you test is terminated for any reason, you will be asked to pul over to a safe location, and the examiner will drive you vehicle back to the MVA. 

General Driving Practices - You will be evaluated on general driving practices in order to determine your ability to safely operate the vehicle.  Whether on the closed course or on the public road, you must obey all traffic laws and signs.  NOTE: It is important for the student to make sure that all signs are read and understood as some examiners are asking students what signs that have just passed.  Inability to correctly recall a sign that was just pass will result in a penalty.  Below are some tips to assist you with safe driving practices. 

Turns - (1) You must use the correct turn signal when preparing to make a turn or to enter or exit a designated area.  (2) As you approach a turn, check traffic in all directions and activate the correct turn signal at the appropriate time.  (3) Brake smoothly, evenly and safely when necessary, to get into the correct lane needed for the turn.  (4) If you must stop before making a turn because of traffic, signals and signs, smoothly come to ao complete stop behind the stop line, crosswalk, or stop sign.  If stopping behind another vehicle, leave a safe gap that allows you to be able to see the rear tires of the vehicle ahead of you touching the ground.  Be sure to keep your front wheels straight each time you come to a stop.  (5) When ready to turn, check traffic in all directions.  Both hands should remain on the steering wheel during all turns.  Maintain smooth, even acceleration and yield to pedestrians and other traffic.  Keep your vehicle in the proper lane and do not make contact with the curb.  Contact with the curb may result in a dramatic penalty.  Make sure you finish completeing the turn in the correct lane and that your turn signal has cancelled.  Accelerate to the speed of traffic and move into the right lane when safe to do so if not already there.  NOTE: Be sure to avoid getting too close to curbs when making turns or performing an exercise.  All tires must maintain contact with the roadway.   



2 CommentsTags: Driver Licensing Test

Maryland Driver's Licensing Test Part 2
August 20, 2010 · 2 Comments

Once the driver (student) has made it passed the pre-trip/test inspection, the second phase of the test begins which is the Closed Course Maneuvers

Closed Course Maneuvers - A test of your basic control skills will be conducted on a closed course before your public road test.  It will assess your general driving ability along with the following two exercises: The Reverse Two-Point Turnabout and the Right-Side Parallel Park

Reverse Two-Point Turnabout - This is a timed exercise with a maximum time allowance of 3 minutes.  You will be asked to drive past an area that represents a driveway or alley.  You will be required to back your vehicle into the designated area on your right until the front of your vehicle clears the front set of cones. Again, you will have 3 minutes to complete this exercise.  You will than be asked to exit the area to the right.  You will be evaluated on your backing skills, visual skills, judgment of space, use of mirrors and turn signals, steering, braking, acceleration and general driving skills.

Right-Side Parallel Park - This as well is a timed exercise with a maximum time allowance of 3 minutes.  You will be asked to park between flags/cones in a parking space parallel to a curb that will be on your right.  You should drive past the parking space, than back your vehicle into the space.  You must park your vehicle completely within the parking space, 12 inches or closer to the curb.  Again, you will have a maximum of 3 minutes to complete this exercise.  This exercise is designed to assess the skills necessary to safely maneuver a vehicle in a confined area.  You will also be evaluated on visual skills, judgment of space, use of mirrors and turn signals, steering, braking, acceleration control and general driving skills.         

After successful completion of the closed course manuvers, you will drive on a pre-determined public road route that will have a variety of traffic situations.  We will cover that in Part III. 


2 CommentsTags: Driver Licensing Test

Maryland Driver's Licensing Test Part 1
August 19, 2010 · 2 Comments

The Maryland Driver's Licensing Test, after remaining unchanged for years, has been modified for 2010.  This new test was piloted at a number of full service MVA locations in 2009 and is now being fully implemented through out this year.  From our experience in taking students to test, conversations with examiners and discussions with successful and unsuccessful students, the test remains quite a "moving target."  We are unable to officially confirm this but have been informed by various official and unofficial sources that the new test has a very high failure rate. 

In an effort to clarify and inform our clients about the new testing process, I Drive Smart will be posting a series of blog articles concerning the preparation and testing process.  It is important to note that the information found here about the test and the testing process is intended to only assist each student with their preparation.  The test is new and the MVA Examiners continue to add and identify test protocols and other surprises not included previous.

Test Overview - The official name of the test to acquire a standard driver's licence is the Maryland Noncommercial Class C Driver's Test.  A portion of this noncommercial driving test is conducted on a closed course to test a student's basic control of the vehicle.  A second portion is conducted on a public road to further evaluate a student's driving skills.  A student must first pass the closed portion of the test before being permitted to continue with the public portion of the road test.  If you do not pass any portion of the test, you will need to make another appointment to take the entire test again.  Partial credit is not given even though the test is separated into two parts. 

Pre-test Inspection - Even before the car is moved, the test begins with an inspection of the vehicle.  This is done because the MVA wants to be sure that the vehicle is road ready, insured and that the driver (student) is able to manage the instrumentation of the vehicle.  Be sure to include in your test preparation the following: (1) Make sure your car has a half tank of gas or more.  (2) Bring with you current proof of up to date automobile insurance (original policy card or FR-19).  (3) Inspect all your lights, signals, etc to insure that they are operable.  (4) Inspect your windshield that there are no cracks or chips.  (5) The driver (student) should be prepared to demonstrate the ability to activate and manage the instrumentation of the vehicle.  For example, you should know how to turn on the lights, the wipers, high beams, turn signals, heat and A/C as well as the defroster.  Once the vehicle and the driver (student) have been inspected and are deemed prepared, the closed course portion of the test begins.  We will cover that in Part II.   


2 CommentsTags: Driver Licensing Test