Top 10 common ways people fail their ICBC road tests

Here are the top mistakes you need to avoid to impress your ICBC evaluator and pass with flying colors.

Are you about to take your ICBC road test? At SenSen Driving School, we’ve helped many new and young drivers pass their test. Based on our experience, here are the top mistakes you need to avoid to impress your ICBC evaluator and pass with flying colors.

1. Missing shoulder checks

Doing shoulder checks properly is a very important habit all drivers need to build right from the start. Shoulder checks ensure that no other road users such as cars, bikes or pedestrians are in your blind spot.


2. Not full stopping at stop signs or red lights

Do a full stop and stop behind the white line. You have full control over your vehicle, so there is no excuse not to be able to do this properly. Stopping behind the white line gives pedestrians their space—and it is required by law.

3. Changing lanes over solid white lines or in the middle of the intersection

A solid white line means you may not change lanes. Between scanning intersections, checking your mirrors, watching your speed, looking for hazards and looking out for signs, you also need to make sure you don’t violate this rule.

4. Speeding in a school or playground zone

Speeding over the speed limit isn’t good at all, but for these specific zones, please be extra careful. There’s no excuse. This is for the safety of the children in and around the area.

Signs are very visible in school and playground zones. Many driving students still miss the signs though, so make sure you pay attention.

5. Not looking behind you when you’re driving backwards

No, checking your rear view mirror or side mirrors isn’t good enough when driving backwards. You need to make sure you are physically turned around and your face is looking out the back window.

6. Not stopping for pedestrians

Pedestrians can be unpredictable. Stay sharp and look further ahead so you can better predict what pedestrians want to do next.

We are not encouraging you to stop for jaywalkers, but if their feet are already on the road, please stop for them as it is the safe thing to do.

7. Not scanning your intersections

The proper way of scanning an intersection is to look left, center, right and then left again.

The purpose of a scan is to see if there are any hazards as you enter the intersection. That’s why you need to do this before you enter the intersection, not while you are in it or after. You want to be ready if a car runs a stop sign or a red light, or a pedestrian decides to cross the street without paying attention.

8. Failing to see a sign

Sometimes, new drivers are so busy doing all the scans, checks, speed maintenance and steering that they forget to look at signs. One common example is reserved lane in the cross street ahead.

Curb lane reserved

Read our series on Sign of the Week for more common signs that drivers miss.

9. Turning on an unsafe gap

This applies to both right and left turns. When a car is coming too fast or is already too close, you shouldn’t go to make a turn. Turning on an unsafe gap is very dangerous as you can get hit from the side.

We recommend the following guideline:

– When a car is half a block away or less, don’t go. Wait for a safe gap.
– When a car is one full block away, you can go.
– When a car is three quarters of a block away, go if you are confident enough.

Of course, this is just a general guideline and other factors need to be considered. Your driving instructor will walk you through this.

10. Not understanding the 4-way stop procedure

ICBC’s Learn to Drive Smart manual clearly states the rules on 4-way stops, but once you’re out driving in real life, navigating 4-way stops can be challenging and terrifying.

What happens when someone skips your turn? What if you don’t act fast enough? Who goes first when two people arrive at the same time? Again, your instructor will help you through this process.

Practice, practice, practice! 

These are the most common ways people fail. They are not the only ways. There is no secret to success. It is through practice, hard work and under the right guidance that you can become a safe and competent driver.

Make these your strengths. You will be much more prepared to take on ICBC’s road test.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons



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