Getting a driver’s license is a complicated process in Ontario (never mind nerve wracking for both parent and child). It takes approximately 2 years, a written test, and two road tests to receive a full, unrestricted license. At any point in the process a new driver can be sent back to the drawing board (or re-test, as it were), involving even more time and costs.
That’s why it’s so important to be prepared properly for their life on the road. And that includes making sure they’re ready to pass the tests.
It’s been nearly three years since my daughter, who turns 19 in May, started her driving adventures. She passed both her G1 (written) and G2 (one-year restricted independent driver) on the first try. But, life has gotten in the way and it’s been nearly two years and as of yet, she hasn’t gone and taken her G (full, unrestricted) license. She needs to do this, because her insurance, which is exorbitant, won’t go start to go down until she has done so.
The problem? It’s been two years since she had her last driving lesson. Or read a manual. She is nervous. About her skills, and taking a test.
That’s why I sent her for a refresher driving lesson with an instructor from Young Drivers of Canada. I wanted her to be prepared.
According to Suzanne Vukosavljevic (YD’s Director of Public Relations), there are several reasons to take a refresher lesson before attempting the G road test:
- A necessary evaluation of driving skills and some pointers and tips to identify and remove bad habits, and to strengthen the areas that may need improvement,
- Practice skills they may not be using, and gain important highway time. (According to a YDC instructor, the DriveTest Centres in Ontario will ask specifically how many times the driver has been on a highway trip of 15 kms or more, at speeds of 80 kms or higher.)
- They’ll get additional practice and coaching in areas that are often troublesome, such as three-point-turns and parallel parking (a tough one for suburban drivers)
- Highlighted practice on exactly what is observed on the G road test
Her driving instructor was fantastic. She took her out on the road, assessed what she could do, and helped her with what she couldn’t. They spent a significant amount of time on the highway, which is key for passing the G test (which I did not actually know.) The refresher lesson was definitely time well spent, and she will definitely reap the benefits when she takes her final road test in June (we were hoping she’d take it in April, but those plans were derailed by exams and a very exciting surprise trip which I will tell you about at another time.)
The instructor from Young Drivers also wanted to share these tips for a successful G road test (which my girl will be memorizing):
1) Check the mirror before braking. I usually suggest that a person look in the mirror with their head not just their eyes
2) Scan left, centre and right on approach to any intersection, no matter if it is in a quiet residential area or a major intersection.
3) Blind spot checks. Blind spots need to be checked before a lane change or turning a corner. I try to suggest that a person move their chin to shoulder only (this way the drive won’t move their body looking into the blind spot)
4) I usually tell a candidate to take a deep breath (when the examiner is heading for the car) and for them to do their best. That is all anyone can ask of a person going for any road test.
5) For anyone that is extremely nervous we can suggest doing a running commentary which means being aware of everything around them.
6) If the person doing the road test see the examiner writing on the test page this can result in a big distraction and anxiety. This is very difficult to do but the candidate needs to think about the task at hand and not about what is being written.
Some other helpful resources from Young Drivers Of Canada
How to parallel park (I’m watching this one over and over)
Overcoming driving test anxiety
Note: My daughter was provided a refresher driving class from Young Drivers of Canada. If she passes, it will be thanks to them, and her own incredible driving skills. All opinions are my own.