Everything You Need to Know to Pass the Driving Test

FunnyDriversTestSheetMost teens are eager to get their driver’s license. So eager, in fact, that the Princeton Review is considering publishing a driving-test booklet for the written test.*

*That’s probably not true. If it is true, I’ll probably get sued for revealing trade secrets. (“The Princeton Review: Cracking the Circuit Court, 2013 Edition.”)

Unfortunately, the state governments have created a number of obstacles to getting your license, mostly to appease the ultra-powerful common sense lobby. Some of these obstacles are straightforward, like speed bumps—originally created to make driving less comfortable for teens, although this backfired after teens interpreted them as jump ramps—while others are more obscure, like the law that says any car given to a teen has to have at least three dents, with at least one of them coming from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Nonetheless, teens still manage to obtain licenses as soon as possible, often earning them on their 16th or 17th birthday. Of course, to do so, one must pass both the written test and driving test. (A few very talented teens have actually passed both at the same time, with the help of a steering-wheel desk). And, while we’ve previously told you how to cruise right through that written test, we have not yet touched upon the driving test.

At some point, you’ve probably asked yourself: why do you do this? Why do you reveal the secrets to tests created to keep people safe on the road?

Well, to that I have two answers. The first is that you’re a better driver than many already on the road, so it’s not like you’re making it that much less safe. After all, neither 80-year-old drivers nor NASCAR professionals drive the speed limit. (One theory is that the 80-year-olds are trying to somehow compensate for all of the people speeding. It’s worked fairly well, too: if you’re going 25mph on the freeway, it’s easy to avoid the NASCAR racer driving at a 90-degree angle on the vertical cement divider.)

The second answer is that I’m here to help you, of course. And by you, I mean me, sort of how most people usually mean “me” when they say “you.” (For example: “I love you.”). If you pass the driving tests without too much studying, you’re more likely to read this blog in all that extra spare time.

So, without further ado, just how are you going to pass the driving test?

The First Impression

You’ll be nervous. If you normally sweat, don’t drink anything for three weeks before the driving test. You know what they say: dead men don’t sweat.

After all, to establish a good rapport with your evaluator, you’re going to want to shake their hand as soon as they get in your car. To establish a really good rapport, slide out of the handshake, slap back-and-forth with your hand, and then fist-bump-explode out. (This is not recommended for evaluators over the age of 30).

You should also make sure that your car is clean, especially concerning the dead bodies in your back seat. If you can’t move them on your own, then it’s generally acceptable to just put them in a nice suit and tie. This also involves removing anything that’s on your dashboard or hanging from your mirror, such as dice.

Hanging dice from mirrors has a lot in common with 90% of all teen fashion, in that nobody knows why others think it is a good idea. I mean, are you playing Parcheesi with other drivers at a red light? If you can’t wait until you get home to do that, I think you should see an addiction specialist.

The Stop Signs

As a general rule, you need to emphasize that you can drive safely, correctly, and with your eyes open.

Most teens have trouble with stop signs. This is because many people have incorrectly assumed that these red, octagonal signs are a massive federally funded anti-smoking campaign, and that they are strategically placed at busy intersections where people are most likely to see them. So, when you stop, it will feel like an eternity compared to the drivers around you, who often speed up through stop signs to demonstrate their true level of nonchalance.

And why do people hate stopping? Because it takes time. Since you have to stop during the driving test, however, you might as well not let that time go to waste. So, bring your English novel and read a chapter at every stop sign. If your driving evaluator starts to look impatient, that’s just ‘cause they don’t want to be excluded from the story. This is solved by reading aloud to them, unless it is Wuthering Heights, in which case, they will be required by law to automatically fail you.

The Lane Merging

Merging is something not covered in most written tests, because when written, it seems simple: turn on your signal and pull into a gap in the adjacent lane.

This simplistic description, however, doesn’t take into account the fact that there are no gaps in the adjacent lane, and all of the cars and drivers in the adjacent lane are devoted to ensuring that no gaps appear. In fact, even if a brick wall suddenly appeared in the lane, one study found that 90% of drivers will attempt to drive through it to prevent any gaps in the lane from forming*.

*Unsurprisingly, this study took place in San Francisco.

Now, on any normal route, most teen drivers think ahead as to what lane they need to be in. If necessary, we’ll track that lane up to 50 miles opposite direction until we can find where it starts, just to avoid any lane changes. On the driving test, though, the state wants to see if you can change lanes at a moment’s notice, I guess to add some excitement to the driving evaluators’ otherwise dull jobs of spending 10 hours a day in a car with someone who learned to drive yesterday.

While there are many terrific strategies to merging quickly—such as merging and then signaling, or finding a VW Bug and just bumping it out of the lane—on the driving test, you’re bound by the law. This means that other drivers will be aware that you’re trying to merge, and compensate adequately by making faces at you as they speed up to close any lane gaps to within an inch.

To add to that stress, most driving tests involve a lane change when the lane ends, meaning you’re going to have a limited amount of time to merge before you hit the concrete wall that people think it’s a good idea to end lanes with.

So, the merging advice is simple. You need to find the toughest bumper stickers you can and place them on your car. “If you don’t eat jalapenos peppers before your morning coffee, you’re not alive!” or “Yeah, I lost an arm fighting off a pack of rabid wolves, but at least I didn’t lose my compass.” You’d be an idiot to not to allow these sort of people to merge, and a gap in the lane will appear for you.

The “Awareness”

One of the other things you’re evaluated on is how “aware” of your surroundings you appear to be. The key word there is “appear.”

Obviously, you don’t want to wear sunglasses, obscuring your eyes and making it impossible for the evaluator to tell if you check your mirrors. In fact, most people suggest wearing a baseball hat so that it is obvious when you turn your head to check mirrors. To make that an even better idea, you should wear one of those jester hats with the bells. Now, not only is it visually obvious that you’re turning your head, it’s also audibly obvious. Plus, if you take the exam sometime in the Christmas season, the driving instructor won’t even think you’re a total freak—just slightly deranged.

The other thing you can do to appear more aware is to offer commentary on your surroundings. For example, when you check your left side mirror, you might say something like: “Wow, that blue van behind me has a major dent on its left side and some metal stuck in its front left tire. It must have hit an inexperienced merging driver a few minutes ago. Hey, look! You can even see the driver who was trying to merge; he’s clinging to the back bumper.”

Conclusion

I’ll confess that I haven’t told you everything you need to know to pass the driving test. I didn’t mention the whole part about taking yellow lights at mach 3, or braking hard before sharp turns to get that cool movie-style screech. I did hit on the major points, however, and that’s all you need. After all, if the DMV says you only need an 80% on the driving test to pass, that’s good enough for me. Even if that 20% failed includes things such as knocking down mailboxes—although, really, you probably just saved them from some college mail anyways.

Yeah, I’m still here. Trust me, I’ll let you know if I ever plan to stop posting. Otherwise, just assume that the next post, as always, will be coming as soon as my junior-year-is-crazy schedule allows. If you’ve liked the blog, you can stay more up-to-date, as I’ll try to post on the Facebook page about any kinks in the posting schedule. (To make up for that long gap, this post is longer than usual.)

And, of course, there’s always the archives to browse if you get impatient. Which brings me to not one, but two terrific posts published in March last year. The first consists of some hilarious summaries of some “classic” English novels, and is one of my personal favorites. The second is some outstanding backpack fashion advice, entitled “6 Awesome Ways to Wear Your Backpack.”

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  1. Haha loved it!

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