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.
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.
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.
I Drive Smart has launched this blog to help our client families and those in the communities we serve better navigate the driver education process. Please join our distribution list to receive up to date and relevant driving tips, news and valuable information that will help make you and your family and friends smart drivers. The driver education process can be a complicated and confusing process for both parents and students, and with the ever changing laws and regulations, I Drive Smart is here to provide sound guidance through our extensive experience.