What Do DMV Examiners Look For?

February 13, 2021

You failed the driving test because, well, you made many mistakes the DMV examiner could not overlook.

The examiner tried to be friendly and generous with you, so he/she overlooked some of your shortcomings, but then, at the end of it, the flaws were simply overwhelming.

The whole aim of the DMV road examination or road test is to assess your ability to confidently and safely drive a vehicle according to the driving laws.

There are driving laws that only apply within a particular state, while other traffic laws cut across the road, regardless of the state you are in.

The DMV examiner has a checklist he/she uses to evaluate your driving skills. You will be put through different situations and expected to demonstrate your maneuvering skills.

Understanding the examiner’s mind might tremendously help you pass the test because you get to prepare with these expectations in mind.

Of course, the DMV examiner is not out to trick you into making many mistakes so that you can fail the test. It’s easy to blame the examiner at times when things go awry. Okay, some of them may have a not-so-friendly attitude, which could affect the outcome.

While you cannot control an examiner’s attitude towards you, at least you can demonstrate that you can be a good driver. That’s what you must focus on no matter what.

The following are the primary driving skills the DMV will be looking for during the road test:

1. Self Confidence

When you arrive at the DMV offices ready to go for the road test, the examiner will be there preparing your documents.

Don’t wait for them to tell you what to do. Instead, take the initiative and start the vehicle the right way. Don’t make them spot a possible hard time you may be having.

2. Knowledge of the Surrounding

It’s crucial that you display your observation skills during the road test. Be sure to look around when pulling over, driving in traffic, or driving from a parking lot. Don’t do anything without first, checking the environment.

3. Make the Examiner Feel Comfortable

Most examiners will start by initiating a little conversation with you on the way to the car. Use this to your advantage and strike a little conversation with your examiner.

That said, ensure the car is up the required standard, arrive on time, and keep up with the other motorists who should be keeping the recommended speed limit. Just drive naturally and don’t give the examiner a reason to start looking for mistakes.

Here’s a video summarizing the above points:

Additional Things Examiners Are Looking for:

4. Your Knowledge of the Vehicle Parts

You need to demonstrate that you understand the significant parts of the vehicle. The examiner may start by pointing this and that part and asking you about its name and functions.

Hence, it would help if you had the names on your fingertips. Some of them include:

  • Arm signals.
  • Emergency flashers.
  • Windshield wipers.
  • Turn signals.
  • Foot brake.
  • Headlights.
  • Headlight switches
  • Windshield Defroster Button.
  • Horn.
  • Parking brake.

5. Pre-Drive Mental Checklist

Again, the examiner expects you to have a mental checklist before you start driving. In the checklist, ensure that:

  • Your window is open. That is the driver’s window.
  • The windshield is unobstructed.
  • The mirrors are correctly positioned for clear visibility. You should especially check the rear-view mirror if only to impress the examiner.
  • The turn signals are operational.
  • The passenger door opens and closes properly.
  • You and the passenger (the examiner, in this case) have buckled up, that is, are wearing the seat/safety belts.
  • The horn is functional and loud enough.
  • The brakes and the brake lights are operational.

Note that if any of these parts are found to be faulty, your driving test will have to be rescheduled due to what is called “mechanical failure”.

That’s why you should not assume everything goes. Showing that the vehicle isn’t roadworthy could be part of the test.

6. Driving to and from the Parking Lot

The DMV examiner would also want to assess your ability to leave the parking lot. This could be the first part of the actual driving.

Needless to say, it involves reversing and making reverse turns. You need to show that you can maneuver without knocking on other parked cars.

At the same time, you have to demonstrate that you can safely return the car to the parking lot and park it.

Therefore, before the examination day, practice driving to and from the parking. Learn how to use the parking brake.

7. The Intersections

Most crashes occur around the intersections, so an intersection is a very sensitive area.

The examiner would very much want to see how you respond to the intersection rules. Do you understand the right of way concept? Do you know when you should give the right of way to other road users and when you should not?

The examiner will check your level of courtesy, confidence, patience, common sense, and self-discipline. This is one area you can end up confused about even if you had practiced, so you need to be calm and self-assured

There are up to eight intersections. Some are equipped with traffic lights and signs of controlling you, then there are the uncontrolled intersections.

The examiner would watch your speed towards the intersection, braking point, traffic checks, etc.

8. Changing Lanes

The rules of changing lanes go beyond New York City; they apply even on the interstate highway.

The examiner wants to assess your ability to reduce speed, activate the turn signals, check the mirrors, check your blind spot, and turn to the other lane.

On a four-way lane, you should avoid driving in the left for too long once you have overtaken the slow-moving vehicle ahead.

If an emergency vehicle is in sight, the examiner would like to see if you surrender the left lane, as you should.

You should avoid changing lanes now and then because the examiner might penalize you. Hence, pick the right lane to avoid having to keep changing them. You can cause accidents when changing lanes.

9. Making Turns

You have to demonstrate that you understand the turning guidelines, whether it’s a left or right turn. Slow turn and stop properly.

Wrap Up

Before the test, try to make good first impressions. These examiners are humans, so they catch the flu just like anyone else. Show your examiner that you care about safe driving and you want to pass the test.

If you create the impression that you don’t give a damn, the examiner will return the courtesy.

When you are called forth, have your provisional license and photo card at hand. Don’t start searching for them deep in your bag after you are asked to produce them. It’ll create a wrong impression.

Some examiners are reserved and less chatty, while others are more interactive, but most of them will go out of their way to calm you down for the test. You should just reciprocate the goodwill. Put a smile.

At the Pierre Paul Driving School, we teach you about safe driving skills and then the tricks you need to impress the DMV examiner.

Contact us today and learn with us more to double and triple your chances of passing the test.