Driving is one of those tasks that simply reading about won’t teach you as effectively as the real thing.
The reverse is also true: learning the mechanics of how a vehicle performs and how to make it run well still won’t always prepare drivers for all the fundamentals and any local laws of the road.
This is why most of the driver’s education programs in the country require a certain number of hours to be spent in the classroom, along with a certain amount of time behind the wheel. It’s also why most states require prospective license-seekers to pass not only a driving performance test but a written exam which measures their knowledge of common terms and definitions.
Better teachers will tell you that understanding the foundation of any activity can be a perfect starting place to learning something new, even if it’s the top Halloween costumes for people who love driving… but especially before you start the hands-on learning.
For instance, prospective airline pilots are required to attend “ground school” before they ever get inside a cockpit, where they’ll learn the theories of everything from the physics of flight to all the different pieces of machinery required to launch planes and keep them aloft.
Once you think you’ve mastered the theory along with the driving part, it’s time to prepare for the exam. Try these strategies to nail it or at least have a passable score, either of which are a good thing.
- Get adequate sleep the night before. This is always good advice for anything in life, as more and more studies show that fewer people are getting good rest regularly or consistently. Individual sleep time varies by individual, but most adults need seven to nine hours. What does this have to do with driving? More sleep equals better performance at skilled physical and mental tasks such as driving and better general alertness, both of which are important for drivers. Likewise, poor sleep could cause slower responses or forgetting certain steps that the tester may be looking for in the exam.
- Practice, practice, practice. Even if you successfully completed a Driver’s Ed program or another defensive driving class, all areas can always be improved with more training, and certain areas may need even more greater emphasis. Parents also may ask that certain areas to receive extra attention. Reversing? Parallel parking? Freeway driving?
- Take an unofficial pre-test. Your local Department of Motor Vehicles may not offer anything specifically of this nature, but a parent or friend with a license can create a test course in the approximate neighborhood or geographic areas where the tests typically take place, and requiring mastery of the same skills. Even if they don’t know the exact grading criteria, they can still ask the driver to demonstrate certain skills, such as parking or stopping. The tester can also look at other driving habits such as checking the mirror properly – something the official tester will look at even more closely.
- Memorize the driver’s guide. Some states may require specific answers, such as the exact number of feet before you must dim your bright headlights when a car approaches from the other direction. Other states may test conceptual questions, like when it’s OK to pass other vehicles and when it’s not OK to pass. A friend or supporter can also quiz you throughout the day, much like preparing for an important school test.
Finally, don’t forget that some people who fail the test the first time still consider it a learning experience, since it’s their only exposure to actual testing conditions.