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By Blair Qualey

New Car Dealers are staunch advocates for safe roads, and that starts right from the beginning — future drivers must be properly prepared to pass their road tests. Our highways are safer for everyone if we can ensure that every driver in British Columbia feels confident and capable behind the wheel and is properly schooled in how to be a responsible driver.

As the weather gets warmer, now is the time of year where many would-be drivers are gearing up for their road tests. Looking back at last year, the demand for road tests in British Columbia surged to unprecedented levels. In May of 2023, 25 per cent more road tests — nearly 26,000 — were conducted in the Lower Mainland compared to the monthly average of close to 21,000. Following this trend, Vancouver Island saw an increase of 22 per cent over the May monthly average, and northern parts of our province experienced a 25 per cent increase.

However, the findings also reveal that nearly half of all drivers attempting their road tests are failing on their initial attempt. This not only places additional strain on testers and driving instructors, but also highlights the importance of study and preparation.

The Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) have provided some valuable tips and insights to help aspiring drivers navigate the road to success and pass their road tests on the first try:

1. Start with the Right Mindset: Arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment, allowing ample time to familiarize yourself with the area and alleviate unnecessary stress. A lot of issues stem from navigating unfamiliar territory and knowing where potential hazards and areas of concern are located can really boost the confidence going into the test.

2. Boost Your Confidence: The more time spent behind the wheel, the more comfortable a new driver will feel. This is especially true when it comes to tricky maneuvers like parallel parking, reversing, and changing lanes.

3. Observe Your Surroundings: Pay close attention to your surroundings, ensuring thorough shoulder checks, utilizing the vehicle’s mirrors and sensors, and 360-degree observations during maneuvers.

4. Speed Maintenance is Key: Adhere to posted speed limits at all times, especially in variable zones such as school, playground, and construction areas. Familiarize yourself with signage and the different zones prior to getting behind the wheel.

5. Practice Practice Practice: A good teacher can make all the difference, and enrolling in lessons with an ICBC-approved driving school to refine skills and learn safe driving practices is a great way to prepare. Leverage resources such as the Street Sense and Learn to Drive Smart apps for that extra leg up — more knowledge is never a bad thing!

These tips, when combined with regular practice and a thorough knowledge of road rules and safety, can help pave the way for a successful road test experience. Driving experience and training are essential components of road test readiness. For more information and resources, I encourage new drivers to visit, there is a bounty of helpful resources available to help new drivers succeed – but more importantly, make our highways safer for all motorists.

Obtaining BC Drivers Licence. Woman in car holding up Licence.






Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. You can reach him at [email protected].