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Ontario’s Graduated Licensing Program allows new drivers enough time to practice before taking their road test. As you may already know, the minimum wait time between the G2 and G road tests is 12 months. This should be time spent practicing your driving skills and getting experience on expressways (a big part of your G test!). Even with 12 months of driving experience, half of all test takers fail the G road test on their first try; but there’s no need to be discouraged! With the right preparation, you’ll be able to pass the final step in the licensing process with ease.
1. When am I eligible to take the G road test?
After obtaining your G2 license, you need to wait a minimum of 12 months before taking the G road test. You must also have enough highway driving experience (at least 5 times within the past 3 months) before the test. Although driving school won’t reduce your 12-month wait time, it could help you sharpen your skills in preparation for the G road test. Since there’s a risk that you’ve developed some bad habits since your G2 test, taking a few lessons with a certified driving instructor might be worth it.
2. What does the road test include?
The G road test will last approximately 30 minutes, depending on the amount of traffic around you. Due to the pandemic backlog, the MTO has decided to remove some low-speed maneuvers from the test temporarily. These include parallel parking, roadside stops, 3-point turns, and driving in residential neighbourhoods. You can stay updated on any new changes to the road test by visiting the Ontario website’s driver’s license page. You can still expect the following skills to be tested on the G road test:
- Proper lane usage: Driving in the appropriate lane on roads and highways
- Tip – after completing a left-hand turn, merge into the middle or right lane when it’s safe to do so. The left lane is for passing!
- Maintaining space between vehicles: Keeping a safe distance between the vehicles around you.
- Tip – always keep at least a 2-3 second following distance behind the vehicle in front of you.
- Proper observation skills: Being aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Tip – keep your head on a swivel! Check your rearview and side mirrors often and remember to scan your blind spots before turns and lane changes.
- Driving through intersections: Scanning traffic and other road users (e.g., cyclists, pedestrians) to safely maneuver through intersections.
- Tip – always keep an eye out for cyclists and pedestrians at busy intersections; a close encounter could result in a failed road test!
- Highway/freeway driving: Merging on and off, maintaining speed, and responding to traffic appropriately on high-speed expressways.
- Tip – increase your speed gradually while entering the freeway so you can merge seamlessly with the traffic before the lane comes to an end.
3. The highway drive
Since the G road test is considered the “highway test”, you want to be prepared to enter smoothly, maintain appropriate speed, and exit the highway safely. Before the test, you’ll need to complete and sign a “Declaration of Highway Driving Experience” to ensure you are comfortable enough with expressway driving to complete this section of the road test. Any highways with speed limits of at least 80 km/hr, including a 400-series highway, qualify. This includes:
- 400, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 409, 410, 416, 417, 420, 427
- Gardiner Expressway
- Don Valley Parkway (DVP)
- Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW)
- E. C. Row Expressway
- Conestoga Parkway
You must have driven at least five times on any of these roadways in the past three months and be able to estimate the average length of each of those trips in kilometres. If you don’t have the required experience, the examiner will declare the road test “out-of-order” and cancel it immediately. As a result, you’ll lose 50% of your road test fee.
4. Good observation is the key to passing
Apart from highway driving, your examiner will be looking for acute observational skills. Examiners want you to identify possible hazards that you come across during your road test and proactively respond to them. For example, if a cyclist is in the lane ahead of you, make an early lane change to create space, and then change lanes back to the right once you’ve safely passed the cyclist.
Mirror checks are also important for the G road test. You should be checking your mirror every 5 to 10 seconds. When checking mirrors with just eye movement, it’s not always obvious to the examiner that you’ve done it. As a result, you’ll need to move your head slightly every time you check your mirrors to make it known. Finally, the driving examiner is looking for proper blind spot checks. These checks are required before making a lane change or completing a turn.
5. Stay focused on the driving task
During your test, the examiner will periodically make notes and check off items from the test sheet. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve made an error! New drivers can often get distracted by this and become more error-prone on the road. Do your best to ignore what examiners are physically doing in the vehicle and focus on following their instructions on the road.
Remembering everything you did to pass your G2 road test can be tough. Let a qualified driving instructor from Kruzee help you on your journey to becoming a fully licensed driver in Ontario!