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Driving tests are all about the checking

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, March 16th 2018

Driving examiners in B.C. can ask candidates to perform a wide variety of manoeuvres, but they will always involve a signal, mirror and shoulder check, Steve Wallace writes.


The modern driving test is all about checking.
Yes, checking. The provincial driving examiner will be checking to make sure the person taking a driving test is checking.
The driving task is a demonstration of care and control of the vehicle, but is not the only factor being assessed by examiners on the typical road test.

If a candidate for a driving licence seems unable to drive in a safe fashion, the examiner will likely discontinue the dangerous endeavour, for the safety of everyone involved.
There are very few instances of this situation, because most everyone knows the B.C. driving test is the most comprehensive in North America and has often adopted the international scouting motto: “Be Prepared.”

Examiners will ask the drivers being tested to do various manoeuvres.
Regardless of the request, it will always involve a signal, mirror and shoulder check.
Leaving the curb or beginning from any parked position will also require a 360-degree check, followed by the signal, mirror and shoulder check in the intended direction of travel.

This must be done several times throughout the road test.

It is necessary to do these checks in a timely manner, not too early or late, as mistimed checks are counted no-check on the driving road test.

The triple check must be done in advance of the hill park, parallel park, reverse stall park and every time a driver is asked to pull over to the side of the road, whether to demonstrate opening the door, hazard identification, a three-point, reverse turn or Uturn.
All backing actions must be preceded by a 360-degree check.
Depending on the test route’s degree of difficulty, three indiscretions of the same type on the less difficult road tests and four on the more difficult routes will result in a failure on the road test.
There are times when an automatic failure will occur on the road test.
Examiners will be checking to see that drivers being tested make complete stops at red lights and stop signs.

The California stop is not acceptable. There must be complete stops to qualify on the road test.
Many drivers, making a right turn on a red light, do not come to a complete stop before proceeding.
This mistake is responsible for many unsuccessful performances.

Speeding will result in another automatic failure on the road test.
There is an allowance for going slightly above the limit, but a failure will most definitely happen when drivers are seen to be more than 10 per cent above the speed limit in school and playground zones.

There is a greater tolerance for proceeding above the posted speed limit on regular arterial and residential streets.
There is no tolerance for repeatedly driving a few kilometres over the limit throughout the test duration.
The examiners have an eye mirror that attaches to the windshield.

This allows them to check the eye movement of the persons while they are driving on the road test.
It makes it easy to see if the driver is scanning at intersections and other important locations on the road test.
Drivers must demonstrate a familiarity with all relevant vehicle controls prior to the beginning of the road test.

A debrief will immediately follow the road test.
Examiners do an average of eight driving tests a day.
That’s 40 a week, and about 160 a month.

t doesn’t take long for them to get good at what they do for a living.

Everyone makes mistakes.

An appeal of the test result, to a supervisor or manager, is permitted.
It should be done immediately upon receiving the unsuccessful result.

The seniors’ road test is different, and the stuff of a future column.






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