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Getting your driver’s license is one of the most important milestones that you’ll achieve in life. That little piece of plastic with your glorious picture on it is a key to your freedom on the open road. But before you get to achieve this goal, you must first pass the behind-the-wheel exam. Here are seven tips to help you succeed.

1. Practice makes perfect

A new driver holding a new driver caution sign to display on her car after passing the driving test
A new driver holding a new driver caution sign to display on her car after passing the driving test. | Peter Titmuss/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While we can never be perfect when it comes to driving, practicing can at least get you ready for your test. Driving Tests suggests getting as much time behind the wheel as possible in order to not only learn the rules of the road but also to get familiar with the car. After all, there’s only so much that you can learn from reading or watching videos.

2. Get familiar with your car

It’s a good idea to take the driving test with the car that you have been practicing in. However, no matter which car you take the test in, make sure that you familiarize yourself with it first. This means knowing where all of the switches and levers are for the turn signal, windshield wipers, and emergency flashers. You may be tested on these features, so it’s important to know how to operate the car that you’re in.

3. Pay attention to driving when you’re on the road

A driver drives their car around with the sunroof open
A driver drives their car around with the sunroof open. | Unsplash

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how much and how often you can get distracted while driving. During the test, remember not to pay attention to the instructor and his note-taking as that will not only distract you, but could also make you nervous.

Driving Tests also recommends clearing your mind of any schoolwork or other obligations so that you can fully pay attention to the road ahead of you. Also, if your mind is elsewhere, there’s a chance you may not hear the instructions the examiner is giving you – pay attention!

4. Don’t rush to get to the DMV

A driver plays on their phone while driving.
A driver plays on their phone while driving. | Getty Images

On the day of the driving test, make sure to give yourself enough time to get to the DMV appointment without having to rush. By rushing, you end up becoming more anxious, which could result in you doing worse on the test. Instead, leave early and make sure to get there early to get acquainted with the area before the test.

5. Don’t forget the basics of driving

When reviewing everything before the test, remember all of the basics. This means checking your mirrors regularly while driving, ensuring that you use your turn signals when necessary, and being in the proper lane after making a turn. Most importantly, remember to keep your eyes on the road ahead.

6. Adapt to your environment

Let’s face it, you’re not only going to drive when the weather is clear and sunny, so it’s important to practice driving on rainy or cloudy days. The precipitation can be distracting, so it’s important to adapt to your environment and get comfortable in any driving situation. Also, get used to hearing and reacting to emergency vehicles and know when to pull over for them.

7. Remember to ask questions

A woman sits in her car after a driving test.
A woman sits in her car after a driving test. | MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP via Getty Images

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If you have any questions before taking the driving test, be sure to ask the test instructor any questions you may have. If you don’t, they may think that you heard their instructions clearly and may deduct points if you don’t do what they ask properly. If you need clarity on anything during or before the test, remember to ask questions.

If all else fails, remember to relax and pass your driving test

Ultimately, it’s best not to be tense during your driving test. Just relax, take a deep breath, and go over everything that you have practiced before taking the test. While getting your license is an important milestone, you can’t rush to achieve it. Remember to practice and you will pass your test just fine.