This is How I'm Getting My Driver's License in 2021
Written by: Vanessa Leung, 1st Year Business Student
When I passed my G1 written test shortly after I turned 16, I felt invigorated, motivated, and ready to begin my journey into adulthood. After all, all adults drive, right? Well, it's nearly two years later, and I have yet to pass my G1 road test. Why? Driving is terrifying. But, after listening to "drivers license" on repeat, coupled with the fact that my actual driver’s license will expire soon, I'm determined to pass my G1 road test in 2021. In this blog, I detail strategies you can use to pass your road test!
1. Plan, Plan, Plan Away!
If your parents drive to work every day, you’re left with a few days out of the week when you can actually practice driving. Furthermore, as a new driver in Ontario, you must be accompanied by someone who's been a fully licensed driver for four years or more. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, for most people, this means being accompanied by a parent or an older sibling.For the few days of the week that you’re able to drive, create a schedule for when you will practice driving. “Why is this necessary?” you might ask. Even when opportunities to drive are available, they are often pushed aside in favour of finishing an assignment, working on extracurriculars, or binging Bridgerton, etc. A schedule highlighting the specific hours of the day you will dedicate to driving will help keep yourself accountable as well as notify other people in your family when they have to accompany you driving.
2. Actually Read the Handbook!
From my own personal experience, the worst advice anyone can give you—thanks sis—is to not read Ontario's Official Driver Handbook to prepare for your G1 written test and just do practice tests instead. Although this may work in the short-term, this will have detrimental effects when you practice driving and realize that you don't know the rules of the road! So please, read the handbook.
3. Master and Move Away from Parking Lots
As a risk-averse person, I prefer to practice driving in parking lots to avoid potential collisions on the road. Parking lots are great to master basic skills such as parking and turning. However, none of the simulations you create in a parking lot will equate to what you will encounter on the road. Ultimately, you must experience risk to overcome fears that you might have about driving.
During my first lesson with my driving instructor, I was instructed to drive on the road, and I was petrified. I had never actually driven on the road before; not even to get out of the garage. I was forced to actually apply driving skills (e.g., scanning, ground view, staggering, clearing blind spots) while reacting and responding to other cars on the road. At the end of the lesson, I had mastered hand-over-hand turning, parking in reverse, and determining the point of no return. In summary, I’ve progressed by leaps and bounds when practicing on the road than I ever have in a parking lot.
4. Put Your Accompanying Driver on Mute
If your accompanying driver has a tendency to overreact, provide too much guidance, occasionally scream, etc., and it's impairing your ability to drive, it's important to set boundaries. For example, let your accompanying driver know that you're there to learn but that you don't want to be coddled like a newborn baby. Although guidance is helpful, it's important for your progression as a driver that you're given the opportunity to apply driving skills without assistance. Hopefully, after several sessions, your accompanying driver will become more trusting of your driving abilities and be less hostile in the car.
This is an exercise you can use to help build trust with your accompanying driver:
5. Check Off Your Checklist!
During your road test, the examiner will test you on several skills that you must pass to earn your permit. A list of the required skills for your specific road test can be found online. I recommend that you create a checklist of all the skills you need to know. You can also add additional columns to indicate your mastery of a certain skill (e.g., not learned, in progress, mastered). I also recommend that you set monthly goals to keep yourself accountable as you work your way through the list.
6. Simulate the Road Test
After you've booked your road test, bring an empty copy of your checklist and simulate the road test with your accompanying driver. Have them assess your competency in completing each required skill as you drive. To best prepare yourself for the actual road test, remind your accompanying driver that they should not help you in any way (unless you're in a dire situation of course!). Advise them to only speak to you when instructing you to complete a certain skill (e.g., shifting lanes, parking in reverse) and to grade you objectively. Hopefully, this strategy will give you a general overview of your driving abilities so that you can improve accordingly in preparation for your road test!
Here are some resources to guide you on your driving journey!
Get a G driver’s licence: new drivers: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-g-drivers-licence-new-drivers
Ontario’s Official Driver Handbook: https://www.ontario.ca/document/official-mto-drivers-handbook