Driver examiners have heard all kinds of stories and myths about road tests over the years. They’ve compiled some of the frequently heard ones and provided official responses to set the record straight, and to hopefully help calm your nerves before your road test.
If you have any other stories to share or questions to ask, please text or email firstname.lastname@example.org and a driver examiner will respond.
SGI pays jaywalkers to walk in front of road testers.
No, they do it for free! Kidding, they’re doing that on their own. If you do come across a jaywalker on your road test, tell the examiner you see them but do not wave them on or encourage them to cross in front of you because that could cause confusion to drivers behind you or in the lane next to you. If a jaywalker runs in front of you, slow down or stop for them - don’t hit them just because they’re not supposed to be there! Part of being a skilled driver is being a defensive driver.
What is a jaywalker, anyway?
A jaywalker is someone who crosses the road illegally. Pedestrians are required to cross the street in a crosswalk at an intersection. The crosswalk can be painted on the road or, when unmarked, is considered to be an extension of the sidewalk.
If the examiner drops their pen, does that mean you’ve failed?
Where do people come up with these!? Examiners are real people just like you, they can be clumsy. This is definitely not code for you fail!
Driver examiners will ask you to do something illegal to test you.
Absolutely not. They will never ask you to do anything illegal. They will not ask you to turn the wrong way onto a 1-way street. If they ask you to turn right at the next intersection but the light is red, it is up to you to do so when safe - stop 1st then proceed if there are no vehicles or pedestrians.
If the driver examiner asks you to park behind the building, it means you’ve failed.
No - the test offices get busy so they’re just asking you to park behind the building because parking isn’t available in the front.
Examiners have a quota of fails to fill per day.
There’s actually a race each day to see who gets 5 fails 1st. The winner gets to go home early. We’re kidding! We would actually love it if everyone passed because that would mean everyone is driving safely - and nothing would make us happier than 100% all-safe all-the-time!
SGI fails people so they can make more money on re-tests.
Another big fat no. Road test fees do not generate a profit but rather the focus is solely on cost recovery.
Driver examiners like failing people.
Nobody likes giving bad news, especially to an eager face full of excitement and hope or someone needing a licence for their job. We would prefer if everyone passed, but a licence must be earned. If you are unsuccessful on your road test, it’s because you’re not ready to be on your own and we want you to develop more skill and be safe. Practice lots and it’s win-win for everyone!
SGI hires someone to walk behind your car in the parking lot so we can fail you when you back up.
Another 1 for the nope pile! We do not hire anyone to do anything to try to make your road test unsuccessful. We want you to pass because that means you're a safe driver. However, when backing up it's important to make sure there aren't pedestrians in your path.
Nobody passes the 1st time.
Untrue - about 50% of people pass on their 1st road test and over 60% pass on their 2nd road test. Whether you pass or fail depends on you - if you practice, if you come prepared, if you pay attention to what’s going on around you and make good decisions, you will pass.
You can’t wear sunglasses, talk or turn on the radio.
We hear these all the time! If you’re a talker, talk. If the sun is in your eyes, wear your shades. If music makes you calm, turn it on, just not too loud.
Top 10 mistakes made on a road test relate to these 10 areas
- Traffic signals
- Red means stop. When approaching a red light, you must stop and remain stopped until the light changes. If you want to turn right, you may do so (unless there is a sign restricting this), but only after stopping and yielding the right of way to pedestrians and to any vehicles travelling through the intersection.
- Yellow means caution. When approaching a yellow light at an intersection, you must stop before entering the crosswalk. If you have already entered the intersection, or cannot stop safely, proceed with caution. The yellow light is not a reason to speed through the intersection to avoid stopping. You can often predict the appearance of a yellow light by taking note of how long the light has been green and by watching for the Don't Walk light, especially if it is flashing or has a number count-down.
- Green means go. When approaching a green light at an intersection, you may turn left, right or drive straight through the intersection unless a sign prohibits any of these movements. If you want to turn left you can enter the intersection on a green light, but you must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. If traffic is heavy, you may be forced to complete your turn on an amber or red light. Running yellow and red lights make it difficult for drivers already in the intersection to turn left, which could result in traffic jams. Think about how your actions affect other road users.
- Stop signs and stopping positions
- So, where do you stop? At the stop sign? At the crosswalk? Sometimes stop signs are conveniently erected on a tree or post that’s already at the intersection and this placement may not be a good place to stop. Your stopping position is determined by markings on the road - at the nearest crosswalk, whether marked or not, or at a clearly marked stop line. If there is no stop line, sidewalk or crosswalk, you must stop within 3 m of the intersection in an urban area or within 10 m of the intersection in a rural area.
- Forfeiting the right of way
- If you have the right of way - take it! You may think you’re being polite by waving on another driver or pedestrian, but doing so could confuse other road users and cause them to swerve or stop suddenly, putting others at risk.
- Right of way
- If others have the right of way - give it!
- If you approach an uncontrolled intersection at the same time as another driver, the driver on the right has the right of way (this includes T-intersections).
- If you and an oncoming car approach the intersection close to the same time, the person going straight-through has the right of way over the person turning left.
- Pedestrians and crosswalks
- When approaching an intersection, you must stop for pedestrians who are crossing the street.
- You must stop your vehicle before the crosswalk, which will either be painted on the road or is considered an extension of the sidewalk.
- If a traffic light changes while a pedestrian is in the crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way.
- Intersections (Controlled and Uncontrolled)
- Nearly 40% of crashes happen at intersections.
- When turning left at a green light, the 1st car can enter the intersection and wait in the middle of the intersection for a safe time to complete the turn - but, don’t pile multiple cars in the intersection. That could cause a messy traffic jam when the green light turns red.
- It’s 1st come, 1st served at 3- and 4-way stops. Vehicles should go in the order that they stopped. Then proceed when safe - waiting excessively could cause confusion to other drivers.
- Right and left turns
- Make sure you’re turning out of and into the correct lane.
- Turn left from the left-most lane available for your direction of travel.
- Turn right from the right curb lane or right edge of the road.
- Your fellow road users do not have ESP so use your signal lights and look out for pedestrians and other vehicles.
- Parallel parking
- Many people ask us why this is even on the test - the answer is that parallel parking is a good way to test your reversing skills.
- The test reveals how skilled you are at backing up. Do you know which way to turn your steering wheel when in reverse? Many new drivers don’t. Turn your head and look behind you - don’t just rely on using your mirrors and be mindful of other road users and stationary objects.
- It should be common sense - do not speed on your road test. Pay attention to school zones, work zones or a change in speed when entering or exiting a community. If there are a lot of pedestrians around, slow down.
- The speed limit means the fastest you can drive under ideal conditions - if it’s raining, snowing or foggy, you may need to slow down so you can see clearly and maintain control of your vehicle. Adjust your speed for current conditions.
- But - don’t drive too slow. Blocking or impeding traffic can be dangerous. Try to go with the flow, without speeding.
- Shoulder checks