AMA Insider Spring 2018 / Over 55 - Page 44

New Driver Special Book it! W ith 30 years of transporta- tion experience as a driving instructor, policymaker and examiner, Steven Lee knows his way around a road test. The senior driver examiner with D-Tec Driver Testing shares a few insider tips for young drivers and their parents. Who do road test examiners work for? We are independent contractors licensed by Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation; we go through rigorous training and monitoring by the Government of Alberta. But we’re independent—we are not dedicated to any one registry in the province. How many basic road tests do you administer in an average week? I typically do about 10 tests each day, which translates to about five or six hours a day. So in an average week, I probably conduct about 50 exams. 44 Spring 2018 AMA inSider Are there better times than others to schedule a test? Not really. I tell teens that it doesn’t matter when you take the exam because you will have to drive in those condi- tions, at those times, at some point. What kind of vehicle should young drivers use for the test? Whatever they are most comfortable driving, be it a compact car or a pickup truck from the farm. The important thing is to make sure it’s in good work- ing order: fully functioning signals, brake lights and headlights, a crack- free windshield and operational horns. Which driving skills do you test? We check if they have good control of the vehicle and know how to handle it. Then we see if they know how to execute certain driving skills and procedures, like parking, reversing and turning. Finally, we make sure they know the rules of the road and are not committing any violations. Certain violations, such as a collision or traffic ticket, will result in immediate failure. What are the most common mistakes people make? Getting too nervous. Nerves cause stress and lead to mistakes. The key is to stay calm and focus. Reversing and parking can be challenging: Kids get a bit scared when you even say the phrase “parallel parking,” so I try not to say it. Instead, I ask them to back up behind that car or line up beside that curb. How do you handle a driver who fails? I don’t use the word “fail.” I might say to a driver they haven’t been success- ful this time and they need a bit more practice. Then I go through the driving checklist and point out the mistakes they made and discuss how to correct them. I also ask if they would like me to review the checklist with their parents, so they can help coach them. Any other advice for young drivers? I like to tell teens to stick to CPR: Con- centrate, practice and relax. That’s all they really need for driving success. testing, testing 1-2-3 independent examiner Steven Lee on the dos and don’ts of road tests Book and take an alberta road test with an independent examiner through aMa registries ama.ab.ca/ RoadTests