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Driving school or test. Beautiful young woman learning how to drive car together with her instructor

Road Test Tips for Autistic Drivers

  • September 15, 2022
  • Andrew Arboe

The last milestone to complete before you get your license is the road test. The road test consists of all the major techniques of driving, including being at a consistent speed, following road signs, parking, three-point turns, and lane changing. The test tends to take about fifteen minutes and the instructor/evaluator will determine the route for the test. It is important to note that not all techniques appear in these tests, as some instructors do not have a driver drive on the highway or parallel park for example. The unknowns within a road test can create quite a bit of anxiety for any driver, autistic or not. More so if you have a sense of urgency to get your license on the first try. To help you become familiar with what to expect, we are going over some road test tips to help you get the upper hand when you do your road test.

The first thing you should do is download our Driving With Autism Resource eBook guide which offers a great starting overview and resources for an autistic individual’s driver’s license journey.

Driving around the DMV location: The first tip is to get to know the area that surrounds the DMV center. Within your fifteen-minute test, you will most likely be driving in a big circle around the DMV. This can consist of local roads with some noticeable busy roads with two or more lanes present. The moment you set up your road test date, begin to practice driving around that area. Go onto the busier roads, note the left turns, the average speed limit signs, and the driving behaviors present. The reasoning behind driving around the location is that your test is going to be in that area. They are going to test you and how well you handle yourself on the road. Driving in that area ahead of time allows you to know what is expected. By the time you do the test, you have fewer unknowns to worry about. One example is the speed management part of the test. The instructor will test you on how you follow the speed limit signs on various streets. Even if it is slightly over or less, your performance will be considered. Studying the area beforehand can make a difference.

Scheduling a mockup test: One of the services most driving schools offer to help a driver get ready for the test is a mockup test. A mockup test is like a road test- but done to help a new driver know the structure of the test with less mental stress. Driving school instructors will operate as if it was the real test and they offer advice on how you drive. Depending on the school’s location, they will use the roads to evaluate your focus, speed management, parking techniques, and knowledge of road signs. They will tell you what you did well and what you can improve on. This is an excellent service to do a week before your road test date because it will be fresh on your mind on what to focus on beforehand and helps ease any stressful unknowns.

Video-based studying material: If you are more of a learner that does better with videos than with multiple choice, we are going over studying the material you may be interested in. It may be unexpected because it comes from YouTube. Believe it or not, there are videos with the actual road test being done by the person recording. Back during my own practice, I wanted to see what was on YouTube about Connecticut’s road test and I found a video on a test being done at my DMV location, by accident. I watched and I realized how good of a find it was. It went over everything and apparently, the instructor did not mind it being recorded or it was hidden well enough to not be noticeable. I found the video very helpful because I could learn about the structure of the test before actually taking the test. It also helped that I was going to use that same location for the test, so I was able to make mental notes of what routes to expect. If you are looking for a video resource, it does not hurt to look at YouTube for recorded test videos. Also, be sure to review our online live webinar series that preps autistic individuals for getting their driver’s license.

All in all, the road test is the final test for a new driver to obtain their license. It is important to know the structure of the test and strategies to make your license a reality. We went over various tips that can help you get prepared for the test. Remember that you have already gotten this far and there is only one final step to go. We hope these tips have given you some ideas to work with, as it is one of our main missions for Driving with Autism to empower autistic drivers to be able to overcome any challenges in the driver’s license process.

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