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If you have read the "Road Skills Test Study Guide" you know what you will be asked to demonstrate on your third party road examination. However most new drivers make the same kinds of mistakes during the test and perhaps the following information will help you. Be sure to read page 23, "Hazard Awareness".

If you have not been given a "Road Skills Study Guide" by your Segment II class instructor, ask the Secretary of State Branch Office for one and then read it through. The road skills test will include the following performance maneuvers.

Left turns, right turns: Check traffic in all directions, including your rearview mirror and check your blind spot if a lane change is required. Use the appropriate turn signal. Enter turn lanes at the designated openings. Do not speed through the turn. If making a left turn, keep your wheels straight until you can enter the turn. The last thing before making the turn is to make a traffic check in the opposite direction of your turn. When stopping behind another vehicle, stay far enough back so that the examiner can see pavement beneath the wheels of the vehicle in front of you.

Intersections: At ALL intersections, make a physical head turn to check traffic. It is very important that the examiner is able to see your head movement to know that you are searching for traffic in all directions. As approaching a green light make sure that you look both left and right before entering the interesection. Do the same for all through intersections, checking for traffic coming from the sides that may not see their stop or yield signs. The intersections may/will involve stop signs that you must stop for, intersections that you will drive straight through, stop lights and yield signs. All braking must be smooth and accelerating away from the intersection must be smooth. The examiner must be able to see your head turn as you search for traffic, prior to your entering the intersections. Any solid yellow light requires that you stop if you can do so safely. A flashing red light means a full and complete stop at all times. If you do not make a full and complete stop it will result in an automatic failure. You must yield to any traffic or pedestrians in the intersection If the intersection does not allow you to clearly see in all directions, stop first behind a stop lines, if there is not stop line then stop behind a marked crosswalk or sidewalks and if there are no pavement markings then stop at the stop sign, creep forward while searching in both directions, stop again and proceed when safe.

Curve: You will be judged on how well you stay in your lane while negotiating a curve. Remember to stay in the center of your lane. Be sure to look through the curve for oncoming traffic and continue to check your rear view mirror. If you must slow for the curve, do so before entering the curve. Do not brake while traveling the curve.

Railroad Crossings: At all railroad crossings, as you pass the crossbuck painted on the pavement, take your foot of the accelerator, check your rearview mirror, cover your brake and reduce your speed while you search both ways on the tracks BEFORE your vehicle is on the tracks. You must demonstrate to the examiner that you would be able to stop if a train were present, before you were in danger. Turning on/off a fan/radio while driving: This maneuver requires that you take your eyes off the road while following the instructions given. The test is to see that you can take your eyes off the road and are still able to keep the vehicle in the center of your lane of travel.

Residential and urban driving: Your searching must be constant and complete. You must move your head from side to side between intersections and at all intersections to make it evident that you are looking for pedestrian traffic, other vehicles and other dangers. The speed limit in a residential area is 25 mph whether or not it is marked with a speed limit sign. Speed limits begin and end at the sign, just as though there were a painted stripe on the road. If there are no crosswalks marked nor a stop line, stop at the stop sign, even at a blind intersection, then pull forward slowly until able to see oncoming traffic. If the examiner gives you any clues such as, "your next maneuver will be a right turn, but it is several blocks ahead" take advantage of this and make a lane chnge as soon as possible, DO NOT WAIT! If you wait you may not be able to complete the maneuver and quite likely will earn points for awareness, poor reacting and other things as well.

Other items that you will be judged on: Speed and brake control, safety cushions and traffic gaps, steering control, timing. All explained in detail in the "Road Skills Study Guide".

If there is no stop line or crosswalk, stop at the stop sign, then creep ahead and search if necessary. Remember to always use the first available lane. When approaching a left turn, check your blind spot before you enter the turn lane.

We cannot emphasize enough that traffic checks must be made constantly. Your search pattern must be full and complete. Blind spots must be checked when making lane changes or when entering a left turn lane. And, finally, watch your speed, especially in 25 mph zones. Four miles per hour over a speed limit will produce a warning. The second four mile an over speed violation is an automatic failure. Ten miles per hour over a speed limit is an automatic failure the first incident.

Do not forget to check your rear-view mirror. You search pattern must include your inside rear view mirror about every 7 to 10 seconds; and, before you put on your brakes, check your inside rear view mirror. This is part of your awareness. When driving in a residential area, move your head to indicate that you are checking from "porch to porch" looking for hidden driveways, pedestrians/children and animals. Turn your head to view any pedestrians that you may encounter, just to make the examiner aware that you do see them. In residential areas make sure that you check all intersections as you approach with a head turn left and right.

Advisory speed limits are to be obeyed. Be very careful not to overlook them. When exiting an expressway maintain your highway speed until you are fully in the deceleration lane, then brake down to the ramp or advisory speed.

Hands on the wheel: You may hold the wheel in any location between "10 and 2" and "8 and 4". Keep both hands on the wheel and when turning use either the push-pull method or the hand over hand method. Use both hands on the wheel when driving. Do not palm the wheel when turning.

No examiner wants you to fail your road skills test but you also only have a very short time to prove to the examiner that can safely operate a vehicle in our complex highway transportation system without being a danger to yourself or others. Each road test will involve 10-20 miles and 20-35 minutes. All routes are state approved for each examiner and do not vary from applicant to applicant. Make sure that you are well rested and alert with nothing physical or emotional distracting you.

State wide approximately 5-14% off all applicants fail the third party test on their first try. Study the book, practice and if you have questions call Quality Plus Driver Training for information.

Ask a Third Party Examiner at and receive a personal, immediate response. You may also schedule a Third Party Road Test by email. Send the date, time and location (Hillsdale or Coldwater) that you want to test and your phone number and you will receive a telephone confirmation.