New york road test

How to Pass Your New York Road Test in 2021: The Ultimate Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Jun 28, 2021

Passing the New York State driver’s exam is a very proud moment for those who accomplish this feat. Whether the goal is to visit all New York City’s famous points of interest, or to utilize a vehicle as transportation to and from work or school, obtaining a driver’s license is extremely necessary. 

While the road exam is not intentionally hard, there are aspects of the exam that will prove to be more difficult than others. Additionally, new drivers are susceptible to making many of the same mistakes. To avoid falling into these traps, we’ll let you know all of the common areas drivers fail when taking the exam. 

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know leading up to and during your New York road test.

Start by Getting a Driver’s Permit

If you haven’t already, you will be required to attain a driver’s permit before sitting the road exam. You must be 16 years of age or older to apply for a learner’s permit, and you will be required to take an exam in-person at the DMV office. 

Requirements Before Taking the New York DMV Road Test

After obtaining your permit, you will be required to complete the following steps leading up to your road test.

1. Enroll in a State Approved Driver’s Education or Pre-Licensing Course

Many New York State high schools and colleges offer approved driver’s education courses for students looking towards obtaining their driver’s licenses. These are great options for students who are still in school, as these programs are usually free, or subsidized by tuition. Additionally, they can be easily worked into your daily schedule.

If you aren’t in school, the New York State DMV provides a list of state approved pre licensing courses. 

2. Additional Age Requirements

Before scheduling your road test, you will be subject to additional requirements based on your age.

If you’re under 18 years old:

  • Complete 50 hours of supervised driving with a parent, guardian, or driving instructor
  • Obey all learner’s permit restrictions
  • Wait six months from the date you received your permit

If you’re over 18 years old:

  • Complete supervised driving practice with a driving instructor (recommended)
  • Obey all permit restrictions

How to Schedule Your Road Test

Scheduling a driving exam in New York is fairly simple and straightforward. To do so, you will need to satisfy the following:

  • A valid New York State learner’s permit 
  • An original, unexpired Pre-Licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) or a Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285) 
  • The ZIP Code of where you choose to take the test (or your home ZIP Code)
  • At least 1 unused test available from when you applied for your license 

Once you have these confirmed, you can proceed to the New York State DMV website where you’ll be able to schedule your exam. Test appointments are usually available 3 weeks in advance, but may increase to as long as ten weeks during peak periods, such as the summer months. You are allowed to take your road test at any DMV location within New York State. 

On the Day of the New York Road Test

On test day, you’ll want to be sure your test is still scheduled and has not been canceled. Sometimes, bad weather or road construction can cause exams to be rescheduled to a later date. Luckily, the New York DMV tracks all office closings, delays, and cancellations, so you’ll be in the loop every step of the way.

After verifying your test is still set to take place, there are documents you’ll want to gather for a seamless experience at the DMV. 

What Documents to Bring

You will need to provide proof of social security, date of birth, name, and residency at the DMV.

1. Proof of Social Security

o   Social Security Card

o   Social Security ineligibility letter

o   Social Security number without card (number must be printed on MV-44)

2. Proof of Date of Birth

o   Birth Certificate (domestic or foreign)

o   Border crossing card

o   Passport (foreign or domestic)

o   Permanent resident card

o   United State Military ID

3. Proof of Name (2-3 examples)

o   Bank Statement

o   Credit Card

o   Debit Card

o   College ID and official transcript

o   Annual Social Security Statement (SSA-1099)

o   Foreign Driver’s license

o   IRS Tax Transcript

o   Life Insurance Policy Card

o   Medicaid Card

o   Domestic/Foreign Passport, etc.

4. Proof of New York Residency

o   Credit Card Statement

o   Homeowners Insurance policy 

o   High School ID with Report Card or Transcript

o   Income W-2

o   Jury Duty Notice

o   Mortgage statement

o   Unemployment Benefit Statement

o   Welfare Benefit Statement

o   Selective Service Card

o   Residential Lease 

What is Tested on the New York Road Test?

The road test covers basic driving concepts. These are things you will have to do every time you get behind the wheel, so it is important that you do them properly.

Here’s a list of what you can be tested on:

·      Steering

·      Speed

·      Clutch/Gears

·      Braking

·      Acceleration

·      Following distance

·      Traffic signs, signals, and markings

·      Stopping position

·      Lane selection and position

·      Communication

·      Anticipation and reactions

·      Observation 

NY Road Test Tips

Tip #1 – Always brake smoothly

You should never be in a rush to hit the brake pedal – braking should always be very smooth and controlled. To achieve this, begin gradually applying weight to the pedal about several hundred feet before your car must come to a full stop. As you get closer to your target stopping destination, continue to increase the brake pressure until you reach that point. 

Tip #2 – Perform a full stop at every stop sign

Failing to complete a full stop at a stop signs is a common way that students miss points on their driving exam. If you are caught running a stop sign, you could be fined $150 and have three points added to your driver’s license in the State of New York. Making sure you fully stop at every appropriate sign will not only help you on your driving exam – your wallet will thank you too!

Tip #3 – Signal and check blind spot when changing lanes

Driving test administrators will place a lot of emphasis on how you change lanes, as doing so safely is a vital part of proper driving. When changing lanes, be sure to first turn on your signal in the direction you’re looking to go. Then check your mirrors and your blind spots to ensure the lane is clear. If so, proceed to changing lanes. Do not forget to check your blind spot before changing lanes! Your test administrator will likely deduct points for this reason. 

Tip #4 – Keep your eyes forward

Your eyes and head should remain forward and focused on the road while driving. This way, you’re able to see everything ahead of you on the road and can limit surprise reactions. However, you should also check your mirrors occasionally to stay aware of all your surroundings on the road.

Tip #5 – Maintain your lane when turning

When making a right or left turn at an intersection, you always want to ensure you end up in the same lane you started at. When turning onto a one lane street, this is fairly simple. However, turning onto a street with multiple lanes can present a whole new situation. Always maintain your lane through the turn to avoid losing points on the New York road test. 

Tip #6 – Know your car

You will be required to provide a vehicle in mechanically sound condition for your driving exam. However, all cars are not built the same and thus, can operate in very different ways. Ideally, the car you bring with you to the road exam should be one you’ve practiced with for several months while learning to drive on a permit. If this is not possible for whatever reason, you’ll want to be sure you have at least a few days of practice with your test vehicle to make sure you can perform basic operations such as activating turn signals, using windshield wipers, turning on headlights, and adjusting side mirrors. 

Tip #7 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions

When taking the driving exam, don’t be afraid to ask questions! While you want to be prepared and give off the impression that you are fully ready for the exam, it never hurts to request clarification on a point. When you’re asked to perform a maneuver and you proceed to do so, your driving instructor will expect that you’ve fully heard and understood what he/she asked you to do. If you didn’t, it’s always in your best interest to ask for some sort of clarification before rushing into the maneuver. 

Tip #8 – Stay calm

The road test can be certainly nerve wracking, especially as it is seen as a rite of passage for many young adults. However, the exam is much easier than it made out to be! As long as you have practiced and studied these test tips, you will be in good hands leading up to your NYS road test. 

That’s it!

In this guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know for your New York driving exam. As you can tell, the process shouldn’t be difficult, but it does require a lot of focus, time, and organization. Additionally, you should be actively studying and practicing to improve your skills behind the wheel in order to avoid the common mistakes many new drivers make leading up to their exam. 

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