Benefits of Taking California Behind-the-Wheel Training
It's time to take your California behind-the-wheel test, but before you book your appointment, be sure that you've done everything you can to prepare for the exam. Here is a list of mistakes to avoid when it comes to taking the California driving test:
1. Not Scheduling Your Appointment Ahead of Time
California's online scheduling system allows you to book appoints at the DMV up to 90 days in advance. On testing day, be sure to bring your learners permit and proof of insurance for the vehicle you'll be driving during the exam.
2. Not Practicing Enough or Practicing Incorrectly
Taking your California behind-the-wheel test can be intimidating, but practicing and knowing what to expect on the exam can help quell any fear you have on exam day. All teen drivers are required to get at least 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice before they can get their license, but the more practice, the better.
The test lasts about 20 minutes and you'll be expected to demonstrate your safe-driving skills with a DMV employee riding in the front seat. During the test, your examiner will watch to make sure you:
- Steer and accelerate smoothly
- Stop the vehicle safely and gently
- Drive in the correct gear
- Follow all posted speed limits and obey all traffic signals
- Trail the driver in front of you by at least three seconds
- Use your mirrors and turn signals properly
- Drive in the correct lane
If you implement the aforementioned skills while practicing, they'll come naturally during your California behind-the-wheel test.
3. Not Studying the California Driver Handbook
In addition to demonstrating your road skills, your test administrator will make sure that you understand the state's traffic laws and highway signs. For this reason, it's a good idea to brush up on the state's Driver Handbook before taking your California behind-the-wheel test.
4. Not Knowing Your Vehicle
The first portion of the test includes a vehicle inspection. Your examiner will check your car to make sure it has all the necessary safety features. These include:
- Working turn signals and break lights
- A functional parking brake
- Working seat belts
- An unobstructed view through the windshield
- Two rear-view mirrors
- A working driver's-side window
- Two license plates and up-to-date registration
Practice using your lights, horn and windshield wipers before your exam so that you'll know how to operate them when and if your instructor asks.
5. Not Learning the Necessary Maneuvers
In addition to making sure that you understand the rules of the road and defensive driving behaviors, the DMV employee who administers your exam may also ask you to demonstrate the following maneuvers:
- Starting your vehicle and checking your mirrors
- Making safe turns and merging into traffic
- Reversing your vehicle
- Parking and parallel parking
- Making a U-turn or three-point turn
- Pulling over your vehicle and turning it off
Though preparing for the California behind-the-wheel exam may sound like a big undertaking, it's really all about practice. If you log plenty of safe-driving hours, you'll be well on your way to getting your license!