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Section 13 - On-Road Drive Test

This Section Covers 

You will drive over a test route that has a variety of traffic situations. At all times during the test, you must drive in a safe and responsible manner and: 

  • Wear your safety belt. 
  • Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws. 
  • Complete the test without an accident or moving violation. 
During the driving test, the examiner will be scoring you on specific driving maneuvers as well as on your general driving behavior. You will follow the directions of the examiner. Directions will be given to you so you will have plenty of time to do what the examiner has asked. You will not be asked to drive in an unsafe manner. 

If your test route does not have certain traffic situations, you may be asked to simulate a traffic situation. You will do this by telling the examiner what you are or would be doing if you were in that traffic situation. 

13.1 – How You Will Be Tested 

13.1.1 – Turns 

You have been asked to make a turn

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks. 
  • Use turn signals and safely get into the lane needed for the turn. 
As you approach the turn: 

  • Use turn signals to warn others of your turn. 
  • Slow down smoothly, change gears as needed to keep power, but do not coast unsafely. Unsafe coasting occurs when your vehicle is out of gear (clutch depressed or gearshift in neutral) for more than the length of your vehicle. 
  • Check traffic, including pedestrians and mirror checks (both mirrors) before starting the turn. 
If you must stop before making the turn: 

  • Come to a smooth stop without skidding. 
  • Come to a complete stop behind the stop line, crosswalk, or stop sign. 
  • If stopping behind another vehicle, stop where you can see the rear tires on the vehicle ahead of you (safe gap). 
  • Do not let your vehicle roll. 
  • Keep the front wheels aimed straight ahead. 
When turning: 

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks (both mirrors). 
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel during the turn. 
  • Do not change gears during the turn. 
  • Keep checking your mirror to make sure the vehicle does not hit anything on the inside or outside of the turn. 
  • Vehicle should finish turn in correct lane. 
After turn: 

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks (both mirrors). 
  • Make sure turn signal is off. 
  • Get up to speed of traffic, use turn signal, and move into right-most lane when safe to do so (if not already there). 

13.1.2 – Intersections 

As you approach an intersection: 

  • Check traffic thoroughly in all directions. 
  • Decelerate gently. 
  • Brake smoothly and, if necessary, change gears. 
  • If necessary, come to a complete stop (no coasting) behind any stop signs, signals, sidewalks, or stop lines maintaining a safe gap behind any vehicle in front of you. 
  • Your vehicle must not roll forward or backward. 
  • When driving through an intersection: 
  • Check traffic thoroughly in all directions. 
  • Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and traffic in the intersection. 
  • Avoid entering the intersection unless you can clear the other side without blocking traffic. 
  • Do not change lanes or shift gears while proceeding through the intersection. 
  • Keep your hands on the wheel. 
Once through the intersection: 

  • Continue checking traffic. 
  • Accelerate smoothly and change gears as necessary. 

13.1.3 – Urban/Rural Driving 

During this part of the test, you are expected to make regular traffic checks to include mirror checks (at least every 8-10 seconds) and maintain a safe following distance. Your vehicle should be centered in the proper lane (normally, the right-most lane) and you should keep up with the flow of traffic but not exceed the posted speed limit.

13.1.4 – Lane Changes 

During the multiple lane portions of the test, you may be asked to change lanes to the left, and then back to the right. You should make the necessary right and left mirror and traffic checks first, then use proper signals and smoothly change lanes when it is safe to do so. 

13.1.5 – Freeway 

Before entering the freeway: 

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks at least every 8-10 seconds. 
  • Use proper signals. 
  • Merge smoothly into the proper lane of traffic. 
Once on the freeway: 

  • Maintain proper lane positioning, vehicle spacing, and vehicle speed. 
  • Continue to check traffic thoroughly in all directions, including mirror checks at least every 8-10 seconds. 
When exiting the freeway: 

  • Make necessary traffic checks, including mirror checks. 
  • Use proper signals. 
  • Decelerate smoothly in the exit lane. 
  • Once on the exit ramp, you must continue to decelerate within the lane markings and maintain adequate spacing between your vehicle and other vehicles. 

13.1.6 – Stop/Start 

For this maneuver, you will be asked to pull your vehicle over to the side of the road and stop as if you were going to get out and check something on your vehicle. You must check traffic thoroughly in all directions and move to the right-most lane or shoulder of the road. 

As you prepare for the stop: 

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks. 
  • Activate your right turn signal. 
  • Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly, change gears as necessary. 
  • Bring your vehicle to a full stop without coasting and without rolling backward. 
Once stopped: 

  • Vehicle must be parallel to the curb or shoulder of the road and safely out of the traffic flow. 
  • Vehicle should not be blocking driveways, fire hydrants, intersections, signs, etc. 
  • Cancel your turn signal. 
  • Activate your four-way emergency flashers. 
  • Apply the parking brake. 
  • Move the gear shift to neutral or park. 
  • Remove your feet from the brake and clutch pedals. 
When instructed to resume: 

  • Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in all directions. 
  • Turn off your four-way flashers. 
  • Activate the left turn signal. 
  • When traffic permits, you should release the parking brake and pull straight ahead without rolling backward. 
  • Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle moves. 
  • Check traffic from all directions, especially to the left. 
  • Steer and accelerate smoothly into the proper lane when safe to do so. 
  • Once your vehicle is back into the flow of traffic, cancel your left turn signal.

13.1.7 – Curve 

When approaching a curve: 

  • Check traffic thoroughly in all directions, including mirror checks. 
  • Before entering the curve, reduce speed so further braking or shifting is not required in the curve. 
  • Keep vehicle in the lane. 
  • Continue checking traffic in all directions, including mirrors, throughout the curve. 

13.1.8 – Upgrade 

As you approach an upgrade: 

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks at least every 8-10 seconds. 
  • Select the proper gear to maintain speed and not lug the engine. 
  • Move to the right-most or curb lane. 
  • If legal to do so, use four-way flashers if traveling too slowly for the flow of traffic. 

13.1.9 – Downgrade 

Most drive test routes do not include a section of downgrade that is steep enough or long enough to evaluate your skill at downgrade driving. Therefore, you may be asked to orally describe the proper procedure for approaching and descending a long, steep downgrade. 

Before starting down the grade: 

  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks. 
  • Downshift as needed to control speed. The gear selected should be the gear you would use to drive up the same hill or one gear lower. 
  • Test the brakes by gently applying the foot brake. 
As your vehicle moves down the grade: 

  • Continue checking traffic in all directions, including mirror checks at least every 8-10 seconds. 
  • Stay in the lane farthest to the right or curb lane and, if legal, use your four-way flashers if your vehicle is moving too slowly for traffic. 
  • Increase following distance. 
  • Use snub braking to maintain a safe, controlled speed. 
  • Do not ride the clutch, race the engine, change gears, or coast.

13.1.10 – Railroad Crossing 

Before reaching the crossing, all commercial drivers should: 

  • Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears as necessary. 
  • Look and listen for the presence of trains. 
  • Check traffic in all directions, including mirror checks. 
Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle, or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is in the crossing. 

If you are driving a bus, a school bus, or a vehicle displaying placards, you should be prepared to observe the following procedures at every railroad crossing (unless the crossing is exempt): 

  • As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing, activate the four-way flashers. 
  • Stop the vehicle at the stop line or, if there is no clearly marked stop line, within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail. 
  • Listen and look in both directions along the track for an approaching train and for signals indicating the approach of a train. If operating a bus, you may also be required to open the window and door prior to crossing tracks. 
  • Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle crosses the tracks. 
  • Do not stop, change gears, or change lanes while any part of your vehicle is proceeding across the tracks. 
  • Four-way flashers should be deactivated after the vehicle crosses the tracks. 
Not all driving road test routes will have a railroad crossing. You may be asked to explain and demonstrate the proper railroad crossing procedures to the examiner at a simulated location. 

13.1.11 – Bridge/Overpass/Sign 

After driving under an overpass, you may be asked to tell the examiner what the posted clearance or height was. After going over a bridge, you may be asked to tell the examiner what the posted weight limit was. If your test route does not have a bridge or overpass, you may be asked about another traffic sign. When asked, be prepared to identify and explain to the examiner any traffic sign which may appear on the route. 

13.1.12 – Clutch Usage (for Manual Transmission) 

  • Always use clutch to shift. 
  • Double-clutch when shifting. 
  • Do not rev or lug the engine. 
  • Do not ride clutch to control speed, coast with the clutch depressed, or “pop” the clutch. 

13.1.13 – Gear Usage (for Manual Transmission) 

  • Do not grind or clash gears. 
  • Select gear that does not over-rev or lug engine. 
  • Do not shift in turns and intersections. 
  • Do not coast in neutral. 

13.1.14 – Brake Usage 

  • Do not ride or pump brake. 
  • Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using steady pressure. 

13.1.15 – Lane Usage 

  • Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks, or lane markings. 
  • Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks, or stop signs. 
  • Move to or remain in right lane unless the lane is blocked or other obstructions prevent use. 
  • Finish a right turn in the right (curb) lane. 
  • Do not wander outside the proper lane of travel. 

13.1.16 – Steering 

  • Keep both hands on the wheel at all times unless shifting. Once you have completed the shift, return both hands to the steering wheel. 
  • Do not “palm” the wheel. 

13.1.17 – Regular Traffic Checks 

  • Check traffic regularly. 
  • Check mirrors regularly. 
  • Check mirrors and traffic before, while in and after an intersection. 
  • Scan and check traffic in high volume areas and areas where pedestrians are expected to be present. 

13.1.18 – Use of Turn Signals 

  • Use turn signals properly. 
  • Activate turn signals when required. 
  • Activate turn signals at appropriate times. 
  • Cancel turn signals upon completion of a turn or lane change. 

13.1.19 – Student Discharge (School Bus) 

If you are applying for a school bus endorsement, you will be required to demonstrate the procedures for unloading students. Please refer to sections 10.2.1 and 10.2.3 for these procedures.

​​​Table of Contents

Section 1 Introduction
1.4 – Commercial Tests
Section 3 Transporting Cargo Safely
Section 4 Transporting Passengers Safely
Section 5 Air Brakes
Section 6 Combination Vehicles
Section 7 Doubles and Triples
7.2 – Coupling and Uncoupling
7.3 – Inspecting Doubles and Triples

Section 8 Tank Vehicles
Section 9 Hazardous Materials
Section 10 School Bus
Section 11 Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test

Section 12 Basic Control Skills Test
Section 13 On-Road Driving Test​