I’ve been driving for over 16 years, so when it came to taking a driving test all over again, I was (safe to say) terrified. I’ve broken down all the steps you need to pass the test, and explained what they’re looking for at each spot. With this, you’re sure to pass!
I took my test and went through the whole process of getting my learners permit, but keep in mind that I’m not actually a professional driver or instructor, or attached to the courses I mention below. Everyone’s experience might be slightly different!
It’s also important to note that even if you have a valid foreign license, you can’t just keep driving around on that one, once you become a resident of the state you live in. Confused? I’ve written all about it here, don’t worry.
Things you need before you take the driving test
Well, first, you need to do the full written test in New York. I’ve written this whole process up here, with some tips and tricks for passing the written test on your first shot!
Secondly, you need to sit through the 5-hour driver training course, and yes, it’s not a fun 5 hours. You do need this certificate in addition to your learner’s permit in order to sit the driving test though.
Once you hold both these things, you can move to the next step!
Planning before you do the test
Most importantly, I would recommend taking the planning stage of getting your license a tiny bit seriously.
Long story short, the test isn’t hard, but it’s also relatively easy to fail if you aren’t paying it the attention it deserves. Driving a car is a privilege and a dangerous one at that, so make sure you’ve taken the time to brush up on your skills before you head into taking the test.
Where possible, try and log some driving time so that you are familiar with driving on the right-hand side of the road, and understand what signs look like, how traffic flows, and you get comfortable and familiar. Many people rent cars, or get a ZipCar, in order to do this. Just make sure that you are driving legally with your new learner’s permit, and ideally with a licensed driver in the car too to cover all your bases.
I would also recommend that you get a lesson before you sit the test. Now, before you say “But I’ve been driving for years, why would I take a lesson?”, I need you to know that I thought that too. Here’s my answer: When I had the lesson, I wasn’t being taught how to drive, I was being taught how to pass the test. They’re two very different things.
Driving experience generally makes you a better driver, but in this scenario, you are being tested on a particular checklist and many of the items on the checklist aren’t related to how “good” a driver you are, but how much you overtly pay attention (more on that below).
My personal recommendation, and who I had a great experience with, DriveRite. They explain it best on their site about foreign drivers (like me):
Foreign drivers that have been on the road for many years in other countries may assume that they are ready to pass the road test in New York. Upon applying for a permit, however, they learn that they must go through the entire process and that can be frustrating. Trust us, going through the process isn’t something bad. Drivers accumulate bad habits over the years, and they may not realize that they can potentially fail the test with maneuvers that they think are okay. Do not risk failing your road exam and taking it more than once; we offer packages with foreign drivers in mind. With a combination of your experience and our expertise, we will help you pass the test on your very first try.
I signed up for the 5-hour course, one lesson, a test, and a car, all as part of the “Brush Up”, “Rush”, and “Super Rush” plans available on their website.
Things to remember during the test
Here is my top list of things to remember to pass the test, that I had somewhat forgotten in my years of driving. Sure, some of them seem obvious, but you should really make a big effort to remember all of them.
First, here’s what you’re being tested on, and then I’ve broken it down, below!
You are allowed to lose up to 29 points, with 30 points failing the test.
Broken down, you can see exactly how many points you can lose per violation.
- Leaving Curb – This will happen at least twice (once when you start, and once when you drive off from after your parallel park):
- Fails to observe – 10 points – Don’t pull out in front of any traffic!
- Fails to signal – 5 points – Leave your indicator on for a few extra seconds where you can to make sure the instructor sees it
- Uses mirror only/fails to check blind spot – 5 points – Make a huge effort to look over your shoulder and make it super obvious that you’re looking. This applies to the whole test too, just keep looking around and make it obvious that you’re checking everything.
- Turning & Intersections – There’ll be lots of these
- Poor judgment approaching or at an intersection(s?) – 10 points each
- Speed – Keep it slow when you turn
- Turning – Make sure to turn in your lane
- Stopping – Stop well behind the line when you get to an intersection
- Observing – Check for pedestrians, don’t take off if there’s any traffic
- Signal – Use that indicator!
- Fails to stop near the center of the intersection when waiting to make a left turn – 10 points – When you’re turning left, you’re meant to roll out into the middle of the intersection, don’t stop and wait to enter! Also don’t roll over into oncoming traffic before it’s free to do so, and aim for the middle, don’t over-shoot!
- Turns wide – short right – 5 points – This is referring to a right turn when you want to make sure that you turn into the closest lane possible, and don’t cross over the lines to the next lane. This applies if the next lane is oncoming traffic or traffic in the same direction, you must keep in the close lane. If there’s an obstruction (e.g. a truck in the way), you’re meant to turn into the close lane, then indicate to change lane (follow all the rules for changing lanes), and then change lanes around the obstruction. You can’t just swing wide as you would probably do with experience.
- Turns wide – short left – 5 points – Same thing, but turning into a one-way street with possibly multiple lanes, don’t drift!
- Inattentive to traffic – 10 points each – These ones, again, seem obvious, but they can happen quickly if you’re not overtly showing how attentive you are
- Signs – Don’t ignore those signs
- Signals – Traffic lights, other cars, pay attention!
- Lane markings – Don’t wander about the street, pay attention to where you’re stopping at stop signs, and be aware of when you can and can’t change lanes (solid line vs. dashed)
- Poor judgment approaching or at an intersection(s?) – 10 points each
- Parking, backing, and u-turn – This is the one that catches lots of people
- Fails to signal – 5 points – Just make sure you do it, with lots of notice, and leave it on for the count of 3 at least before you start doing anything else
- Fails to adequately observe/use caution – 10 points – When you start the process, be sure to have your head on a swivel and look behind before moving backward. If there is traffic or people, don’t go!
- Unable to park properly – 15 points – Golly, this one is a big one, I assume it means that you just really can’t do it at all.
For those of you who are a bit scared of the reverse parallel, here’s my big tip for passing the parallel park test:
- Pull your car up to the one parked in front of your spot, and line up your front mirrors, about 2 feet apart.
- Rotate the wheel 2 full rotations to the right, and then roll backward. You want to get your car to a 45-degree angle with the side of the road, and you’ll know you’ve done this because, in your side mirror on your right, you will see that your door handle is touching the curb (and my teacher explained that you’ll see a wedge of street pizza – this makes more sense when you see it).
- When you’re at 45, stop.
- Now rotate the wheel back to straight (2 to the left). Now you want to roll back far enough that the front of your car clears the back of the car next to you. This is really the only bit that requires you to use some instinct, but it’s not too far. Then stop.
- Now rotate the wheel one rotation to the left, and roll back, this will slowly line your car up with the curb. When you think you’re straight, stop.
- Rotate your wheel back to straight (one to the right) and then roll forward a tiny bit.
- You should be perfect.
- Unable to make a 3-point turn – 15 points – Another big one. The three-point turn should really be very easy but a few things to note: Don’t do a u-turn, even if you can make it, this fails the 3-point turn. Before going backward, be sure to look and check over your shoulder. And do each step slowly and thoughtfully.
- Excessive space for parking/too far from the curb – 5 points – Ok, here’s the biggest tip for passing this test, and I’m going to repeat it below, parking too far away is much better than hitting the curb. Hitting the curb is an instant fail. Even slowly, and even if you just slightly glance it while getting the perfect park nice and close. Don’t do it. Sacrifice these 5 points, and park far away from the curb instead. You will pass.
- Excessive maneuvers in – 5 points each –
- 3-point turn – This basically just means that your 3 point turn became a 4 point turn
- Parking – So you needed to slightly adjust yourself after you reverse paralleled? Not a huge sacrifice if you need to do it! Just don’t hit the curb!
- Driving in Traffic – This is the bulk of the test!
- Fails to keep right – 10 points – They drive on the right in the USA, so don’t go wandering into the left lane. You should make sure of this even when on un-laned roads, and on a one-way single-lane street you should try and aim for the center and maybe SLIGHTLY to the right, but not all the way over.
- Improper lane of traffic – 10 points – Again, drive in the correct lane!
- Follows too closely – 10 points – The tip for this is to make sure that you can always see the wheels of the vehicle in front, even if you’re stopped. Never ever get closer than that, and realistically, just give yourself plenty of space for the test, it’s only 10 minutes of driving like Nanna.
- Speed excessive for conditions – 15 points each – My driving teacher told me to stick to around 20-25 mph for the whole test. You shouldn’t be asked to drive anywhere faster than that, and you want to be well below the speed limit, not right at it.
- Traffic – Lots of traffic? Slow down.
- Weather – Lots of weather? Slow down.
- Road – Road has holes? Slow down.
- Too slow/impedes traffic flow – 15 points – As above, this isn’t about driving safely slightly below the speed limit, this is doing 5 mph in traffic. Don’t worry too much about this one.
- Fails to yield right-of-way to – 15 points each
- Pedestrian – Don’t hit pedestrians, this should be a no-brainer. They ALWAYS have right of way. So if they walk out, even if the rules say they shouldn’t have, give them plenty of space and time.
- Other – At a 4-way stop, you must start driving in the order that you arrived, and if two arrive at the same time, give way to your right. If you are driving straight, you generally have right of way over cars turning. If you are at a yield sign, yield. If you’re at a stop sign, and the other lanes don’t have stop signs, yield.
- Poor judgment in traffic – 10 points – This is really just about making sure you’re looking around and you’re aware of how traffic is behaving. If you drive safely, you’re fine.
- When changing lanes, fails to – 10 points each –
- Observe – Head. On. Swivel.
- Signal – Do it first, and do it for at least a handful of blinks before doing anything else.
- Use caution – Don’t turn into other cars, and you should be fine!
- Fails to anticipate actions of – 10 points each – Seems you have to embrace your inner Yoda for this one!
- Pedestrians – Honestly, if you see pedestrians, just give them plenty of space, and plenty of time to completely get out of your way.
- Others – People are crazy, assume they’re going to do something crazy, let them do it, and leave lots of space.
- Fails to anticipate potential hazards – 10 points – Again, this seems a little Jedi, but basically, if you see something up ahead, feel free to talk it through with the person testing you. Don’t ask for help, but explain what you’re doing! e.g. “I can see there’s a truck up ahead so I’m just going to slow for it and move around it when safe”. Throughout the test, you won’t do much by your own choice because you’ll be told to “Turn left, turn right, straight on, park here” so explaining why you’re breaking from this can’t hurt!
- Vehicle Control
- Repeated stalling – 10 points – If you’ve stalled your automatic car, then maybe you shouldn’t be driving.
- Poor engine control/acceleration – 10 points – The benefit of using a company like DriveRite (above) is that you get to try out their cars in practices before the test. This will mean you get to feel the pedals and how the car reacts. I think you’d have to be constantly jerking along to lose these points, so don’t worry at the very beginning
- Poor steering control – 15 points each –
- Turning – Make your turns precise, and use hand over hand to turn.
- Straight driving – Drive. Straight. Keep both hands on the wheel at all times at 10 and 2. This one is easy to forget if you’ve been driving for a while!
- Maneuvers – Again, make them clear, defined, and without wobbly bits.
- Delayed braking/abrupt braking – 10 points – Brake slowly and evenly wherever possible. If you’re approaching an intersection, coast and slowly brake, don’t give your instructor a chance to use their brake because that will fail you immediately.
- Poor use of gears – 10 points – If you’re failing this in an automatic, well, I don’t know what you’re doing.
- Poor clutch control – 5 points – Again, stop going for the clutch, it’s an auto
- Poor reactions to emergencies – 10 points – You’d have to be really unlucky to get this one, but do be sure to look out for emergency vehicles and pull over safely if you can get out of their way. Don’t obstruct them or you’ll fail right away.
The number one thing to remember when doing the NY driving test (especially if you’re an experienced driver)
You will instantly fail the test if you hit the curb doing your reverse parallel park.
Don’t hit the curb.
Lose 5 or 10 points by putting yourself much further away from the curb instead.
This will pass the test (easily) and even if it feels weird to be 2 feet away from the curb, you’ll be happy not to have to sit the test again.
How to pass my driving test 2022? ›
- Anticipate and plan well ahead.
- Avoid the common driving test mistakes.
- Answer the show me question carefully.
- Don't worry if you make a mistake.
- Don't panic if you take the wrong turn.
- Ask your examiner to repeat the instruction.
- Use the MSM routine.
- Drive Defensively.
The road test is not hard as long as you get enough practice and follow your examiner's instructions. The examiner will focus on finding out if you can demonstrate basic driving knowledge and skills and your knowledge of the New York traffic laws.What are instant fails on driving test NY? ›
Other factors that may disqualify you include poor clutch control, excessive acceleration, stalling the car engine, excessive steering, getting too close to a parked car, using the footbrake harshly, failure to complete within two car lengths, finishing too far away from the left-hand curb and more.What is the easiest road test site in NY? ›
- Riverhead, Long Island. ...
- Kissena Park, Queens. ...
- Seaview, Brooklyn. ...
- Wantagh, NY.
- Be on time. ...
- Have a lesson beforehand. ...
- Check you have everything you need. ...
- Use your instructor's car. ...
- Take your instructor along for reassurance. ...
- Ask your examiner to repeat, if you need. ...
- Don't assume you've failed. ...
- Choose where you want to take your test.
The best day is one that's convenient for you – when you're not too busy and can concentrate on the task in hand. It's possible to arrange your driving test for the weekend instead of a weekday, if that's better for you. Perhaps you work full-time or you're at college or university during the week.Can you fail parallel parking and still pass in NY? ›
Can You Fail Parallel Parking And Still Pass In NY? Yes, you can fail parallel parking and still pass your driving test in New York.How do I pass my NYS road test first time? ›
- Speed – Keep it slow when you turn.
- Turning – Make sure to turn in your lane.
- Stopping – Stop well behind the line when you get to an intersection.
- Observing – Check for pedestrians, don't take off if there's any traffic.
- Signal – Use that indicator!
In fact, two of the top three most difficult tasks to master involved parking:
- Parallel parking (72% of drivers)
- Driving near pedestrians, cyclists and/or motorcyclists (42%)
- Reverse parking (41%)
- Obey all traffic signs and signals. ...
- Signal right turns by extending your right arm OR upturning your left arm.
- Signal left turns by extending your left arm straight out to the left.
- Signal stopping or slowing by extending your left arm straight down with your palm facing rearward.
What is the most common fail in a driving test? ›
- Rolling Stops. One of the most common mistakes to avoid during your DMV road test is making incomplete stops. ...
- Improper Lane Changing. ...
- Lack of Steering Control. ...
- Distracted Driving. ...
- Confusion at Four-Way Stops. ...
- Improper Freeway Merging. ...
- Driving Too Slowly. ...
- Driving Too Fast for Conditions.
- Using the handbrake incorrectly. ...
- Crossing hands over on the wheel. ...
- Driving too slowly. ...
- Failing the sight test.
As you can see, the score sheet has 31 possible mistakes that people can make during a driving test and the points they accumulate per mistake. For every mistake, you may accumulate 5, 10, or 15 points. If you accumulate over 30 points, that's a fail. However, if you get 30 points or less, that's a pass.What makes you fail a road test in NYS? ›
Fails to maintain proper speed, impeding flow of traffic. This includes wipers, defrosters, lights, windows. Fails to observe traffic, use mirrors, or check blind spots while performing maneuvers.How many road tests can you fail NY? ›
If You Fail
You can schedule another road test, but you must pay additional fees if you failed your first two road tests. You will need to wait at least one day to take the test again. 1.
The examiner will look at how the candidate positions their vehicle on the road, including lane discipline, passing parked cars and negotiating roundabouts. The candidate should be driving in the most appropriate lane for the direction of travel and giving adequate space to other road users.What should you not do before your driving test? ›
- DON'T adjust the seat or mirrors after the test has started. ...
- DON'T get angry at other drivers or pedestrians. ...
- DON'T dispute any directions given. ...
- DON'T turn the radio on. ...
- DON'T crack jokes with your examiner. ...
- DON'T try and complete errands. ...
- DON'T bring food with you.
- Find the right instructor for you. ...
- Always look for learning opportunities. ...
- 'Show me, Tell me' questions. ...
- Driving test routes. ...
- Practice, practice and practice some more. ...
- Revisit your theory. ...
- Mock theory test. ...
- Stay calm and don't panic.
- THE APOLOGY SIGNAL. Cut someone off or pull out in front of a car at the last minute? ...
- SLOW DOWN, DANGER AHEAD. ...
- LANE COURTESY (PLEASE YIELD LEFT LANE) ...
- PULL OVER FOR PROBLEM. ...
- LIGHT PROBLEM (CHECK YOUR LIGHTS) ...
- NEED ASSISTANCE/TIME OUT SIGN. ...
- I UNDERSTAND (THANK YOU, I UNDERSTAND)
- Tell yourself you're ready. ...
- Keep it a secret. ...
- Don't skip meals. ...
- Pretend it's a mock. ...
- Arrive at the test centre in good time and make sure your diary is free. ...
- Don't do too much on test day. ...
- Stay off the caffeine. ...
- Go to the lavatory.
Can you drive as soon as you pass your test? ›
Can I drive straight away after passing my test? Yes.Can you use backup camera driving test NY? ›
Can I use a backup camera for my driver's test? You can use a backup camera for your driver's test. You just CAN'T use it as your primary line of site. You check the backup camera as you would check your mirrors before reversing.How do you do a 3 point turn on a road test in NY? ›
- Signal with your right turn signal, then pull over to the right and stop. ...
- Turn left, go across the road so you come to a stop while you face the left curb or edge of the road.
- Look again for traffic.
After you get your driving permit in New York, you can schedule a road test for your driver's license. While the road test can be intimidating, it's only about 15 minutes long and it will be easier if you take time to practice.What happens if you fail NY road test? ›
If you fail the road test, you must wait at least two weeks before retaking it. If you fail more than twice, the MVC may ask you to wait 6 months before your next attempt.How many hours do you need to take your road test in NY? ›
Wait at least six months from the date you received your learner permit to schedule your road test. Have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving that includes at least 15 hours of driving after sunset.What are automatic fails? ›
Violation of traffic laws can automatically fail you. These violations include speeding, failure to obey a traffic sign, making an illegal turn, failing to give space for an emergency vehicle, running a red light, etc. If you drive safely and stay focused, you'll surely pass.Which state has easiest driving test? ›
South Dakota has the easiest driving test of any state, followed by Ohio and New York, the study found. A look at the states with the hardest and easiest driving tests to pass. Maryland was No.What is the lowest passing score for drivers test? ›
To pass the DMV written test in order to get your instruction permit, you need to achieve an 83% passing score by answering 38 questions correctly out of the 46 questions on the test if you are under 18.Do you signal when doing a 3 point turn? ›
While looking over your shoulder, back it up to the opposite side of the road, stopping just before the curb. Don't forget to use your right and left turn signals while completing your turn.
How many people pass driving test first time? ›
The average pass rate for a practical driving test in Great Britain is 51.6%.Is hitting a curb a fail? ›
Hitting the kerb (or 'curb' as it's spelt in other areas) during a driving test is a concern for most learner drivers as it can result in a potential driving test failure.How long is a driving test? ›
You can expect to be at the test centre for about one hour. Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early, as you'll have a bit of paperwork to do before the test starts. The actual test takes around 50 minutes, and is broken down into five parts.Is hesitation a serious fault? ›
Hesitation can lead to serious accidents on the road. If you're stuck on a junction for a long amount of time, you could end up holding up traffic and causing other motorists to take drastic action (e.g., driving around you to emerge), which could lead to a potential collision.What does S and D mean on driving test report? ›
The S boxes stands for a serious fault and the D boxes stand for dangerous fault. Any faults here results in a fail. You are allowed up to 15 minor mistakes.How long do you have to wait if you fail your road test in NY? ›
If You Fail
You can schedule another road test, but you must pay additional fees if you failed your first two road tests. You will need to wait at least one day to take the test again.
Don't worry about parallel parking so much. It's only worth 4 points, but using your turn signal when you are supposed to is worth 36 points.What is a passing score on the NY driving test? ›
The New York DMV written test consists of 20 questions. You must answer 14 questions correctly to pass it.What percent of people pass NYS road test? ›
According to the Daily News, a measly 46 percent of the city's 181,196 test-takers are granted licenses, thanks to increasingly lean driver's ed programs and general ill-preparedness on the part of drivers.How long is a 2022 driving test? ›
The actual test takes around 50 minutes, and is broken down into five parts. Eyesight check: Your examiner will ask you to read a vehicle registration plate from about 20 metres away. If you can't read it, you'll fail automatically. So if you need glasses, make sure you bring them.
How to pass drivers test Indiana? ›
You must score 28 out of 34 questions correctly to pass the Indiana permit test. You must also answer 14 out of 16 road sign questions correctly to pass the test.Can you fail parallel parking and still pass in Washington? ›
It is fine to touch the curb, but don't roll over it. Even if you get points taken off for not successfully parallel parking your car, as long as you don't hit a car or the curb too forcefully, you should still pass your test.
The examiner will be looking for evidence of good driving habits, including good observations, control of the vehicle, following the road and traffic signs, appropriate positioning on the road, appropriate speed, independent driving, and effective use of signals.What are the 5 parts of a driving test? ›
- An eyesight test.
- The 'show me, tell me' questions.
- General driving ability.
- A reversing manoeuvre.
- Independent driving.
- Observation at junctions.
- Use of mirrors when changing direction.
- Lack of control when steering.
- Turning right at a junction.
- Moving off unsafely.
- Incorrect response to traffic lights.
- Lack of control when moving off.
- Incorrect positioning during normal driving.
- Practice is the key. ...
- Relax before the test. ...
- Always use common sense. ...
- Always keep both hands on wheel. ...
- Always look ahead. ...
- Don't be afraid to ask. ...
- Amend to driving conditions. ...
- Avoid bad habits and common mistakes.
2) Signal and Pull Beside the Vehicle in Front of the Spot
Using your turn signal light properly is one of the best driving tips in general, and it is especially important when you're parallel parking.