teen girl with her first driver's license
By Jana Rhodes / Posted July 15, 2015

Set Your Teen up for a Successful Driving Test

After many hours of training and coaching your teen, it is finally time to schedule a drivers test. You might be just as nervous about the test as your young driver. Even if you are confident that you have covered all of the necessary skills, you want to do everything you can to make sure your teen is comfortable and confident on the day of the test. There are several things that you can do beyond skill training to set your teen up for a successful driving test.

Use the same vehicle for practice and testing.

Many drivers fail their road test because they test in an unfamiliar car. Things like parking brakes, lights, and wipers can be located in different places. Brakes can have different levels of sensitivity from car to car. This can cause unnecessary stress during a test. Your teen will have the best chance for success in a familiar and comfortable car.

Make sure everything is in working order.

Don’t let your teen fail because of a faulty light bulb. Check all lights, including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and reverse lights to make sure they are working properly. You should also check the tire pressure. If the tire even looks flat, your teen might not be allowed to take the vehicle on the road.

Arrive on time with proper documents

Set out all required paperwork the night before the test. This usually includes an appointment document, your teen’s drivers permit, your drivers license, your car’s registration, and your insurance card. Leave early to allow plenty of time for delays and to reduce anxiety.

Keep your teen’s cell phone

Even if your teen does not use a cell phone during the test, the mere presence of a distraction, such as an incoming call, could hurt the test score. Make sure the phone stays with you so that full attention can be given to the test.

Help to overcome nervous feelings

Talk to your teen about fears and concerns. Remind him that you have watched him drive and you are confident in his abilities. Teach him to breathe deeply to calm anxiety and refocus.

Finally, there are a couple of things you should NOT do. Don’t tell your teen to drive slower than usual. Driving more than 10 miles under the speed limit is a critical error on the driving test. You also shouldn’t suggest being over cautious. Actions like waiting for a road to be completely empty instead of clear or passing on a turn at a four way stop can cost your teen points. Now is the time for encouraging and instilling confidence, not second-guessing actions. If you take all of these steps, you will give your teen the best possible chance to have a successful driving test.

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