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 do I pass my 2022 driving test? ›
- 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.
As your driving test examiner will ask you to carry out one manoeuvre selected at random, it's important that you can effectively and with confidence show all 4 manoeuvres.What is the fastest way to pass your driving test? ›
- Practice driving a lot - then practice some more. ...
- Know what to expect in your driving test. ...
- Learn from other people's mistakes. ...
- Visit the driving test centre before your test. ...
- Prepare to the hilt. ...
- Breathe through your nerves.
The best time of day to take your test
Around two thirds (65%) of those taking evening tests pass. The worst time slot is between 11am and 1pm with a pass rate of 48%, while the early morning slot of 7am to 9am – when you would assume people would be at their most alert – returns a 50% pass rate.
Road tests in New York are quite challenging and require a lot of practice and the right documents. First, you must pass the DMV learner permit written test, then complete a 5-hour pre-licensing course before being tested on the road.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.How do I guarantee a driving test pass? ›
- 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.
Yes you can fail your driving test on a manoeuvre if you do something wrong, for example poor observations, speed, being in the wrong position or mounting the kerb.What is the hardest driving test maneuver? ›
- Reversing around a corner.
- Turn-in-the-road/three point turn.
- Driving forward into a parking bay.
- Reversing in a straight line.
- Parking close to the curb.
- Navigating a roundabout.
- Emergency stop.
- Pulling up on the right of the road.
What a driving examiner looks for. Driving examiners are mostly looking for natural and safe driving. Don't listen to anyone saying that you should drive a certain speed under the speed limit, all that's going to achieve is to annoy the examiner and perhaps even fail the driving test.
How can I pass my car in 2 hours? ›
- Tablets and Movies. I am a big believer in limiting my kids' screen time, except on road trips. ...
- The License Plate Game. ...
- Photo Journalists. ...
- Travel Journals. ...
- Video Games. ...
- The Official Map. ...
- Scavenger Hunt. ...
- The Deep Discussion.
Women have a theory pass rate of 49% and males fall behind at 45%.Can you pass a driving test in 3 days? ›
Yes, you can pass your driving test within a week, however, some people may require more time behind the wheel before taking their test.Can you drive immediately after passing your test? ›
Congratulations! You're ready to hit the road. You'll get your pass certificate straight away, and you'll have the option to hand in your provisional and order a full licence on the spot.How do you know you are ready for driving test? ›
You need to be dealing with every part of driving consistently, confidently and independently – without any prompting from your driving instructor. You'll be getting ready for your test when you're able to adapt to situations and see why perfecting your skills makes you safer and more fuel-efficient.Is driving too slow a fail in driving test? ›
You might be driving slowly to ensure that you pass your test, but this is misguided, since where you drive hesitantly your examiner will see a lack of skill. Believe it or not, slow driving is likely to be marked as a fail-worthy driving fault, in the same category as stalling the engine or mounting the pavement.What is the hardest part of a driving test? ›
The Hardest Part Of Passing A Driving Test Is…
It's hard to focus on obeying road rules, following the speed limit, and making good decisions while you're nervous, and even experienced learner drivers fail because they made a simple mistake due to nerves.
The night before the driving test
Get plenty of sleep the night before, if you can. This'll help you focus during the test. If you're tired, you run the risk of your reactions being slower than usual. So get those ZZZs in!
Indeed, Cha Sa-soon, age 69, estimated that it cost her well over $10,000 to finally pass the South Korea drivers' test. Of course, she took it 960 times before finally passing in 2010 and now holds the world's record for most failed attempts.Where is the easiest road test in NY? ›
- Riverhead, Long Island. ...
- Kissena Park, Queens. ...
- Seaview, Brooklyn. ...
- Wantagh, NY.
How do I fail my road test in NY? ›
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.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.What are automatic fails? ›
Automatic Fails on the Driving Test in California
You can miss up to 15 points before you automatically fail. However, there are some things that will result in an automatic fail on the driving test. In general, this refers to things that could cause a fatal crash or force the examiner to intervene.
So if you don't pass on the first attempt, you can try a second time at no extra cost. And if you don't pass on the second try, you can pay another $10 fee to get two more tries. This fee is non-refundable. So even if you don't need a fourth try because you pass on your third try, you won't receive a partial refund.How do you pass driving test if you keep failing? ›
- Change driving instructors. ...
- Take an intensive course. ...
- Go automatic. ...
- Take driving lessons when it's most busy. ...
- Choose a quiet time for your test. ...
- Take a mock driving test. ...
- Get more familiar with local roads. ...
- Get driving practice as well as having lessons.
It is also, however, fairly common for drivers to pick up a serious fault on such manoeuvres. A complete misjudgement or significant loss of control will count as a serious fault and a test fail. So make sure you're comfortable with parallel parking before booking in your test.Is automatic driving test easier? ›
Because there's less to master in an automatic car, some learners may find it quicker to pass their test. And the quicker you pass your test, the less money you'll spend on driving lessons. But lessons in an automatic car might be more expensive than learning to drive in a manual.Can you fail driving test for not checking mirrors? ›
If you're unsure if you should be checking your mirrors, check them just in case. Failing to use your mirrors before pulling away is one of those reasons for failing a driving test that will really leave you kicking yourself.What are the 4 maneuvers in driving? ›
You may be a confident driver preparing to take your test, however, even some of the best drivers struggle with the basic driving manoeuvres, including bay parking, reverse bay parking, parallel parking and an emergency stop.Is parallel park the hardest? ›
Most drivers would attest that parallel parking is possibly one of the hardest parts that they would have to learn in driving. Even experienced drivers would agree that this kind of move actually still brings some sweat out.
How can I impress my examiner? ›
- Be confident but err on the side of caution.
- Don't let other road users influence you.
- Stick to what you know.
- Bring your instructor with you.
Talk with your examiner if it'll help with your nerves, but do not let it distract you. The examiner will gently let you know if you need to pipe down and focus more on the test. If you want to be quiet and just concentrate on your driving, that's fine too. The examiner will understand and will not think you're rude.Can I ask my driving examiner for directions? ›
Signs of trouble
If you're unsure where you're supposed to be going, then it's OK to ask them to repeat the place name. Remember, though: the examiner can only tell you where you need to head to; they cannot tell you how to get there. It's up to you to follow the signs.
Well, the smartest of drivers might pass the test in first attempt. But they are only a handful. A huge number of aspiring drivers pass the test in 2nd or 3rd attempt. However, most of the standard drivers are able to pass within 5th attempt.What percentage do you need to pass your theory test 2022? ›
The Theory Test pass mark is 86%, so you'll need to answer 43 out of 50 multiple choice questions correctly to pass. The questions will cover topics that include alertness, attitude, safety, road signs, and much more. There are over 700 questions in the official question bank so you must have a wide range of knowledge!Why is the driving test so hard? ›
You will face many potentially dangerous obstacles during the test, so with a combination of anxiety, nerves and stress (all while you're sitting next to the examiner) it's certainly not easy for anyone. People fail for a multitude of reasons, and passing requires experience and practice, hard work and determination.How long is a 2022 driving test? ›
During the walk or in the car, the examiner will ask if you'd like them to explain a little bit about the test before starting. If you agree, they'll say "The test will last about 38 to 40 minutes and will include about 20 minutes of independent driving and various road and traffic conditions.Is parallel parking on the driving test? ›
Do I have to do parallel parking during my test? You might not have to – but there's a 33.3% chance you will. During your test, the examiner will ask you to do one of these reversing exercises: Parallel parking.Do most people pass driving test first? ›
Males are 50% likely to pass their practical, whereas females are more likely to fail with a pass rate of only 43%.What percentage of drivers pass test first time? ›
When it comes to pass rates, we've noticed a significant variation between males and females, with males having a 53.4 per cent average between April 2020 to March 2021 per-attempt pass rate compared to 48.6 per cent for females.
What are the chances of passing your driving test second time? ›
You're not alone
If you fail your first test, it's really easy to let it knock your confidence going forward. But you should remember, you're not alone in this. In fact, 47.6% of learner drivers pass on their second attempt, so you've got nothing to worry about.
The pass rate is answering 35 out of 40 questions correctly. For the truck and bus test there's 100 questions of which you must get 74 correct. You have 100 minutes to complete this test.What does S and D mean on driving test report? ›
You are allowed up to 4 minor faults in one particular area. Anything more than that will usually result in a serious/dangerous fault. As you can see, the marking sheet has an 'S' and 'D' section. Just 1 mark in this area will result in you failing the whole test.Will I pass my theory test without revising? ›
The theory test is split into two sections: multiple choice questions and hazard perception clips. You need to pass both sections in order to get your theory test pass certificate. So, don't count on being able to put all your eggs in one basket here: you'll need to revise both sections to perform well on the test!