By Carmel C. Tse
About the author: Carmel C. Tse is Director of Curriculum of iPass, a CAA Approved Driving School. He is a former newspaper editor at The London Free Press and a consultant at Gannett newspapers.
Nov. 10, 2016 -- Now that London's DriveTest Centre has moved to newer and cleaner quarters for a few months. The examiners are adjusting the routes from time to time to deal with the traffic situation as well as keeping the distributions to residents in the neighbourhood to a minimum. Students and parents alike are very keen in finding out what the test routes are like.
I have to emphasize that trying to find out about the route just to pass the exam is a very unwise and dangerous move. Examiners have the discretion to change the route anytime to best judge the driving ability of each candidate. Drivers who live in London should have the ability to comfortably and safely drive all roads in the city. I'd also discourage following any vehicles in examination to find out about the route. If you were a candidate in a road test, imagine how annoying it is to be tailgated by another learner. So please just don't do it.
After interviewing students who had successfully passed the road test on the new route, I am able to point out some of the important points candidates can prepare themselves for the exam. Unlike the previous previous test centre on Exeter Road, the new route does not require the candidates to drive on 70 or 80 km/h roads.
Previous three-point turns or backing, hill parking and sometimes parallel parking were often performed in a relatively quiet industrial area. These technical manoeuvers are now done on a residential street. Candidates lacking these skills will find themselves delaying traffic, thus adding more stress during the test.
There may also be fewer parked cars in the area for parallel parking and candidates may have to return to the parking lot and do a back-in stall parking. If you don't know how to reverse park by now, you better learn it. I have to emphasize that the road test is not just about parking and in fact parking only carries a very small weight in the whole test. If parking is so important, the exam would have been called "Parking Test" instead of "Drive Test".
Learning how to park and doing three-point turns are the same at any location. So please refrain from repeating your practice in the neighbourhood near the test route. Residents there are already putting up with extra test traffic. So please do not keep practising your parking in front of their houses. The last you want to see in London is an order that would restrict student drivers within a 2 km radius of the test centre.
Over all, the new test route is a little bit easier for new drivers who are afraid of high speeds. But drivers lacking good visual habits and observation skills will become more apparent. One good thing about the new location is it's now accessible by public transit on a time-limited basis. You can catch the Newbold bus (Route 30) at White Oaks Mall in the morning or mid-afternoon to travel to the "Ice House". There are also several fast food restaurants nearby. Good luck with your road test.
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