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 Road Test Tips
A Practice Guide 




Drivers who are fully informed and prepared are more likely to pass their driver license road test. This publication presents basic information about knowing and understanding how to drive safely. You can use it to help prepare for your road test, and to preview what the test will be like. Also, be sure to practice each driving maneuver described in the DMV Driver's Manual or, for motorcyclists, the DMV Motorcycle Manual.

To pass your road test, you show you can meet certain minimum standards for safe driving. After you are licensed, you will deal with situations and problems you may not have encountered before taking your road test. You can learn how to handle these situations by using the driving habits and responsible attitudes you demonstrated during the road test.




Most new drivers who fail their road tests were not adequately prepared. The DMV recommends that all learners have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving before they take their road tests, with at least 15 hours at night (after sunset). It is also recommended that at least 10 hours of supervised practice driving be in moderate to heavy traffic.

If you are under age 18 and have a Class DJ or Class MJ permit, make sure you read below about supervised practice driving hours required by law that must be certified by your parent or guardian.

A driver education course or driving lessons from a commercial driving school licensed by the DMV can also be helpful.

It is illegal to practice driving in a DMV road test area.

If you are 16 years old, or you are age 17 and have not completed driver education training and received a a form MV-285 driver education certificate, you are required by law to have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving, with at least 15 hours at night (after sunset).

To take your road test, you must give the license examiner a completed form MV-262 (Certification of Supervised Driving) signed by your parent or guardian that certifies you have had the required hours of practice driving.




  • Give the examiner your photo learner permit. You also must give the examiner your five-hour pre-licensing course completion certificate (MV-278) or your Student Certificate of Completion (MV-285).
  • If you are under 18 years old, and do not have a form MV-285 driver education certificate, you must give the license examiner a completed "Certificate of Supervised Driving" (MV-262).
  • You must bring a vehicle to drive during the road test. The vehicle must be properly registered, inspected, insured and equipped, and in good working order, including doors and seat belts. The passenger side seat belt must be readily available and clean for the examiner's use. If you drive to the road test site, you must also bring an accompanying driver who is at least 21 years old and holds a license valid for operating the vehicle you will drive during the road test. Motorcycle applicants must also bring a car or truck and an accompanying licensed driver to transport the license examiner during the test. Each accompanying driver must be prepared to show his or her license to the examiner.
  • The test vehicle and any accompanying vehicle must be properly registered, inspected, insured, and in good working condition.
  • The test vehicle's front seat belts and doors must be present and in working order, or, for the motorcycle test, in the accompanying vehicle. The passenger side seat belt must be readily available and clean for use by the license examiner.




If you cannot be at the road test site at the appointed time for a non-commercial driver license, you may request that your road test be cancelled. You MUST make this request at least 24 hours before the scheduled test date - call the road test appointment telephone number, 1-518-402-2100 or go to the on-line road test scheduling system to cancel your appointment, or contamt the county motor vehicle office where you made your original appointment.

A road test for a commercial driver license (CDL) will be rescheduled at your request only if you cancel your appointment at least three business days before the test date.

The DMV may cancel road tests due to poor weather. You may check the DMV web site list of cancellationN, closings, and delays, but you should also call the road test appointment telephone number 1-518-402-2100 or contamt your county motor vehicle office where you made your original appointment for announcements of road test cancellationN.




When you arrive at the road test site, park behind the last vehicle in line. Leave enough room to pull out and around in case you are tested before the driver ahead of you.

Move to the driver's seat when the license examiner indicates to do so. Make sure your driver's seat and mirrors are adjusted properly, and don't forget to buckle your seat belt. Before the test begins, the license examiner will explain how the test is conducted and give you a chance to ask questionN.




The passenger car road test usually takes about 15 minutes. It will test your ability to make basic maneuvers needed in everyday driving. You will have to make left and right turns, stop at intersections controlled by stop signs and traffic lights, and to parallel park. You also will be asked to turn your vehicle around in a narrow street (three-point turn) and to drive in fairly heavy traffic. The motorcycle test is slightly different from the passenger car test. For example, instead of parallel parking, you will be required to make figure-eights in a small area such as a narrow streets and to make left and right circles.

Follow the examiner's instructions. The license examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate basic driving skills and knowledge of traffic laws. He or she is not there to trick you into making mistakes or committing traffic violationN. During your test, the examiner will point out mistakes you make and will give you information that will help you correct them. Relax, and listen to what the examiner tells you. He or she may have you repeat a maneuver to see if you can correct a mistake you made earlier.

Safe driving tips to help pass your road test:

STEERING  Steer smoothly whether you are driving straight ahead, turning or backing up.

ACCELERATION  Accelerate smoothly and moderately. Don't race the engine or cause it to stall.

BRAKING  Bring the vehicle to a stop gently. Start braking well before your stopping position to avoid "jerky" stops. Make sure you stop your vehicle in the proper position of the lane.

CLUTCH/GEAR  Always be sure your vehicle is in the correct gear. With either an automatic or a manual transmission, shift into the proper gear at the right time without "grinding" the gears.

SPEED  Obey the posted speed limit, of course, but also adjust your speed properly due to weather, road, visibility and traffic conditions.

FOLLOWING DISTANCE  Keep an adequate space "cushion" between your vehicle and those you are following. Use the "two second rule" described in the Driver's Manual. Be sure to increase your following distance in poor weather or visibility.

TRAFFIC CONTROL DEVICES  Know the meanings of signs, signals and pavement markings, and obey them consistently.

STOPPING POSITION  If a stop is required, stop your vehicle before it reaches an intersecting street. If stop lines or crosswalks are present, stop before crossing them. If your view is blocked after stopping behind the crosswalk, move up until you can clearly see your way, then stop again if necessary.

LANE SELECTION AND POSITION  Keep your vehicle in the proper traffic lane, especially when preparing to make turns. Don't allow room for another vehicle to pass you on the side that you are turning toward.

COMMUNICATION  Let other drivers and pedestrians know which way you want to go. Use your directional signals or horn consistently and at the proper times.

OBSERVATION  Look for and identify potential problems or hazards in the traffic around you - not just straight ahead, but behind you and on either side. Check your mirrors frequently, but be sure to look over your shoulder behind you when changing lanes or backing up.

ANTICIPATE & REACT TO OTHERS  Anticipate possible driving errors by others and be ready to reamt safely to make up for their mistakes.




Most drivers pass their road test on their first or second try. The amount of practice driving can make a positive difference on the road test for just about every driver.

During the test, the examiner must assess a "negative" score for important safe driving mistakes. To pass, you must not accumulate more than 30 negative points. Automatic disqualification can result from making a dangerous driving action or a serious violation of traffic laws, or becoming involved in an accident.

When you qualify for a non-commercial license (Class D, DJ, E, M, or MJ), the examiner will issue you a printed receipt - this receipt plus your photo learner permit together will serve as a temporary license valid for 90 days. If the license examiner cannot confirm your eligibility for a driver license, the examiner gives you a receipt that you passed your road test, but the receipt is not a driver license. Your new photo-license will arrive in the postal mail in approximately two weeks.

If you are adding a motorcycle (Class M or MJ) endorsement to an existing license previously issued by New York State, you must go, in person, to any state or county motor vehicle office and amend your previous license. Wait at least seven business days after passing the road test before you request the amendment. If you did not have a previous NYS driver license, your new Class M or MJ license will arrive in the postal mail in approximately two weeks.

Your Class D or DJ permit, or other permit for a non-commercial license, is valid for up to two road tests. If you do not pass your second road test, you may continue to practice driving until the date the permit expires. Before you schedule another road test, you must return to a motor vehicle office and pay a $10 fee for two additional road tests.

After you qualify for a Commercial Driver License (Class A, B, or C) the examiner will return your Road Test Evaluation Form (CDL-200) to you as a receipt for passing. To activate your permanent license, you must amend your original license, in person, at any state or county motor vehicle office. Wait at least seven business days after passing the road test before you make the amendment.

If you did not pass your CDL road test, you may continue to practice driving until the date the permit expires. There is a fee of $40 for each additional road test.

C-28 (04/07)
Edited for the Internet 12/09

David A. Paterson, Governor 
David J. Swarts, Commissioner