The ultimate reason everyone takes Driver’s Ed is to get their license. It’s a rite of passage. It’s part of becoming an adult. It will open doors and make you more independent, but it can also stress you out and keep you up at night; tossing and turning and worrying about the embarrassment of failing and the inconvenience of having to take the test again.
Here at The Next Street, we want all of our students to pass the first time out. We want you to march into that test cool, calm, collected, and confident. Today we’ll talk about how to do that, and make sure you’re prepped and ready to pass.
What to Expect
The driver’s license test here in Connecticut is a simple thing, and will be over before you know it. Some folks, however, fail it before they even get in the car! To get around that whole mess, let’s go into the play-by-play of what to expect.
To begin, you’ll be taking the test in one of two flavors: either at the DMV, or at one of our locations. Either way is technically the same test, but here are the differences:
After waiting in line with everyone else using the DMV that day (which is never a short amount of time), getting your number, waiting for it to be called, going out to the car with the agent to inspect your vehicle (which it’ll have to pass in order to take the test in the first place), the test itself should take roughly a half hour from start to finish. Then it’s just a review of how well you performed, waiting to take your picture, and leaving with your new license! Many people are in an out of the DMV in 2 to 3 hours, but the time may vary depending on how busy the DMV is that day.
At The Next Street
You’ll arrive at one of our locations soon before you’re slated to be behind the wheel, waiting for only a little while alongside a handful of other hopefuls scheduled to test that day, avoiding the crush normally associated with the DMV. A knowledgeable member of our staff, usually an instructor, will be on-site to answer any last minute questions. After a short wait you’ll be all set to head outside and hop into one of our cars (which are inspected every morning to ensure they are in tip-top shape) to take your test.
15-19 minutes later, and you’ve passed!
Most folks opt to bring their own vehicle to the DMV to test in. The DMV does not have cars for you, so make sure the one you bring is in good shape.
What are they looking for? In short: everything that could be wrong! As long as your car is in working order, though, you should be fine. The shortlist of things agents are keeping an eye out for are tire pressure, if any lights on the dashboard are on (airbag, low oil, check engine light, etc.), if all of the lights work (headlights, taillights, brake lights, etc.), and if registration and insurance are up to date. All of these things should be sorted anyway, so as long as you’re not driving an unregistered rust-bucket that is falling apart and barely made it to the DMV in the first place, this step shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
That said, however, it isn’t just mechanical issues that can prevent someone from failing the test before they even get behind the wheel. Tinted windows can cause an individual to auto-fail if the agent is unsure of their legality.
We’ve personally seen an individual at the DMV (not our student) fail their test not because their windows were proven to be illegal, but because the agent was unsure and the owner could not provide any proof that they were, in fact, legal tints. There are devices that can test if they were, but those are usually the domain of law enforcement and not the DMV.
If you test with The Next Street, you’ll be in one of the vehicles from our fleet, so you can rest easy knowing that the car will pass the inspection.
It’s legal in the US to purchase aftermarket modifications that, if applied, would make a car un-roadworthy and illegal to drive. Many of these are for show cars, but others can be things that folks don’t think twice about, including tinted windows and undercarriage lights.
On the Road
Didn’t die of boredom waiting to test? Check.
Car passed inspection with flying colors? Check.
Now for the test!
You’ll be evaluated by an agent from the DMV regardless if you’re testing with them or with us (we’re just facilitators, it’s the government who gives you the license). Once you get into the car and they do as well, prep the vehicle for driving, and then go!
A concise list of how the test is given and graded can be found in our other blog post here.
Most of our students worry about having to perform the dreaded parallel park during their test. While an agent can always ask that you perform this maneuver, they usually won’t.
The most common park that is asked of our students is the back-in on the right. Need a refresher on how to do it? Watch our handy YouTube video on it! Remember, you could be asked to perform any of the parking maneuvers on your test, or even multiple maneuvers! Practice all of them and be prepared.
Why People Fail Their Tests
What’s the most common mistake we’ve heard of that causes people to fail their test? Well, there are some minor culprits including lack of adherence to the speed limit (it’s a limit, not a suggestion), and failure to yield at yield signs (careful on that one), but the biggest killer is well known:
“Blocking the Box” is illegal in Connecticut. Read up on the particulars in our other blog post here.
- RELAX! (No, really!)
- The agent doesn’t want you to fail.
- The DMV and driving schools are booking out late. Book early to ensure you get your license in a timely manner, but don’t book before you’re ready!
- Practice around the area where you are going to be testing. Get used to the speed limit, stop signs, yield signs, etc.
- STOP MEANS STOP. Stop for a full 3 seconds at stop signs looking left, right, and left again.
Check out some of our helpful videos about testing for your license:
Drive safe out there!
Ready to get your license? Enroll in one of our programs today and get on The Easiest Road to Your License!