How your teen can ace their driving test
How your teen can ace their driving test

Is your teen counting down the days until they turn 16? Although you may have been dreading the day that they’ll finally be able to drive the car, it’s important that they learn good driving habits from the start. Not only will this help them pass their driving test with flying colours, it also helps keep them safe and your insurance premiums low. Wondering what else your teen can do to pass their driving test on the first go? We’ve gathered 10 tips on just that topic.

10 tips for passing a road test
Tips leading up to test day:

1. Practice makes perfect. Let them drive the car as much as they want to. The more they get behind the wheel, the more comfortable and confident they’ll become in their driving abilities. For example, have them practice parallel parking with both pylons and parked cars to help them become a parallel parking pro and to be ready for anything the test may throw their way. You can even use a dash cam to review the drives later on. This can help them see what they can do better next time.
This tip also goes for the written test – practicing questions that may pop up can help your teen finish it in record time.

2. Lead by example. Although you might think your teen isn’t paying attention, you also don’t want them picking up any not-so-great driving habits you might’ve developed along the way. Let’s keep the road rage to a minimum and always remember to use the indicator when turning or changing lanes. Don’t just rely on, “do what I say, not what I do.”

3. Sign up for driving school. Sometimes your teen just needs to hear it from someone else. Also, it’s mandatory in some provinces for your teen to take driver’s ed. A registered and properly licensed driving school and instructor can help teach your teen the rules of the road (and could even give you a break on your car insurance premium). There are a lot of driving schools out there, so take the time to research the options available.

4. Know the graduated licensing system in your province. It’s important to be up to date with the requirements of each license class in your province. Need a refresher on your province’s graduated licensing system? Check it out below:

British Columbia

  • To get a learner’s license (L), your teen must be 16 years old (or older) – if they are under 19 years old, as their parent or guardian, you’ll need to provide consent. They’ll need to pass both a knowledge test and a vision test.
  • To get a novice license (N), your teen must have a year of practice with a supervisor under their belt. They’ll also need to pass the Class 7 road test.
  • To get a full license, your teen will need two years of safe driving with no prohibitions. If they went to an ICBC-approved driver training course back when they had their L license, then they may only need to wait 18 months instead. They’ll also need to pass the Class 5 road test.

Alberta

  • To get a learner’s license (Class 7), your teen must be 14 years old (or older) – if they are under 18 years old, as their parent or guardian, you’ll need to provide consent. They’ll need to pass both a knowledge test and a vision test.
  • To get a probationary license (Class 5-GDL), your teen must be 16 years old (or older) and have had their Class 7 learner’s license for at least 12 months. They’ll also need to pass the basic road test.
  • To get a full, no-GDL license (Class 5), your teen will need to drive for at least two years as a Class 5-GDL driver with no license suspensions in the last 12 months. They’ll also need to pass the advanced road test.

Saskatchewan

  • To get a learner’s license (Class 7), your teen must be 16 years old (or older), or 15 years old if they’re taking a high school program. They’ll also need to pass a written test. With their learner’s license, they must complete mandatory driver’s education either through high school training or commercial training. They’ll also need to complete nine months of supervised driving.
  • To get a Novice 1 license (Class 5), your teen will need to be 16 years old (or older). They’ll also need to pass the Class 5 road test.
  • To get a Novice 2 license (Class 5), your teen will need to drive with their Class 5 Novice 1 license for six months.
  • To get an experienced Class 5 license, your teen will need to drive as a Class 5 Novice 2 driver for 12 months incident free.

Manitoba

  • To get a Class 5 learner’s license (L), your teen must be 16 years old (or older), or at least 15 ½ years old if enrolled in a high school driver’s ed course – if they are under 18 years old, as their parent or guardian, you’ll need to provide consent. They’ll need to pass a knowledge test and meet vision and medical standards.
  • To get an intermediate license (I), your teen must pass the Class 5 road test.
  • To get a full license (F), your teen must complete the 15-month intermediate stage.

Ontario

  • To get a G1, your teen must be 16 years old (or older). They’ll need to pass both a written test (about the rules of the road and traffic signs), and an eye test.
  • To get a G2, your teen must drive with their G1 license for 12 months. They’ll also need to take the G1 road test, which tests basic driving skills (if they go to a certified driving school, they’ll be able to take their road test sooner).
  • To get a G license, your teen must drive with their G2 for 12 months. They’ll also need to take the G2 road test, which tests more advance driving skills.

Quebec

  • To get a learner’s license, your teen must be 16 years of age (or older) – if they are under 18 years old, as their parent or guardian, you’ll need to provide consent. They’ll need to have completed Phase 1 of a driving course at a driving school recognized by the Association québécoise des transports. They’ll also need to pass a vision test and complete a declaration of illness or impairment form.
  • To get a probationary license, your teen must have passed their driving course, held their Class 5 learner’s license for at least a year and passed the knowledge tests (before being able to take the knowledge tests, your teen will need to hold their learner’s license for 10 months).
  • To get a Class 5 driver’s license, your teen will need to keep a good driving record for two years.

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • To get a Class 5, Level 1 driver’s license, your teen must be 16 years old (or older) – if they are under 19 years old, as their parent or guardian, you’ll need to provide consent. They’ll need to pass a written test (about the rules of the road, safe driving practices and road sign recognition), and a vision test.
  • To get a Class 5, Level II driver’s license, your teen must spend at least one year as a Level 1 driver. If they have successfully completed an approved driver’s ed program, they will only need to spend eight months at Level 1. They’ll also need to pass the Class 5 road test.
  • To get a full license, your teen must spend 12 months as a Level II driver.

New Brunswick

  • To get a Class 7 Level 1 Graduated License, your teen must be 16 years old (or older) – if they are under 18 years old, they’ll need consent witnessed by a non-relative. They’ll also need to pass written, basic and sign tests, and a vision test.
  • To get a Class 7 Level 2 Graduated License, your teen must drive with a Level 1 license for a year. If they have successfully graduated from a licensed and recognized driving school, this duration is reduced to eight months. They’ll also need to pass a road test.
  • To get a Class 5 license, your teen must hold their learner’s license for two years, which includes driving for at least a year at Level 2. Although a road test isn’t required to get a Class 5 license, your teen will need to apply for a Class 5 license after completing Level 2.

Nova Scotia

  • To get a Class 7 learner’s license, your teen must be 16 years old (or older) – if they are under 18 years old, as their parent or guardian, you’ll need to provide consent. They’ll need to pass a two-part written test (about traffic and safe driving rules, and about Nova Scotia highway signs), along with a vision test.
  • To enter the Newly Licensed Phase, your teen must complete a one-year practice period. If they graduate from a recognized driver’s ed or training program, this period is only nine months. They’ll also need to pass a road test.
  • To enter the Restricted Individual Stage, your teen must remain in the Newly Licensed Phase for at least two years. They must also complete a six-hour defensive driving course or a recognized driver training course.
  • To become a fully experienced driver, your teen must remain in the Restricted Individual Stage for two years.

Prince Edward Island

  • To get an Instruction Driver’s Permit (AKA a beginner’s permit or Class 7 license), your teen must be 16 years old (or older) to apply. They’ll need to pass a written test (about driving rules and safety info), and a vision test. This represents Stage 1 of the graduated driver license program.
  • To get a Class 5 license as part of Stage 2, your teen will need to wait one year after receiving their Instruction Driver’s Permit. If they’re enrolled in a certified driver’s ed program, they’ll only need to wait 275 days. They’ll also need to pass the road test.
  • To enter Stage 3, your teen will need to remain in Stage 2 for a year. They will then need to remain in Stage 3 for another year.
Tips for test day:
  • 5. Use a familiar car. Using a car your teen hasn’t driven before or doesn’t drive regularly can make the test harder. Since they might need to reverse park, it’s best to use the car that they drive most frequently. This is also because they’ll know how the car handles and how much pressure is needed to brake or accelerate safely.
  • 6. Complete a 360º-check. Before driving off to the test, check the car’s tires, brake lights, turn signals and gas tank to make sure everything is good to go. You definitely don’t want the car to run out of gas half way through the test.
  • 7. Arrive early. You don’t want to be rushing to the test. Not only will this cause extra stress, but it could lead to documents being left behind. When you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
  • 8. Ask for clarification. If your teen is unsure about the directions they were given by the instructor, encourage them to ask the instructor to say it again.
  • 9. Constantly check mirrors and blind spots. Part of being a safe driver means being aware of what’s going on around the vehicle (not just in front of it).
  • 10. Try to relax. This goes for both you and your teen. If they’re stressed out, they might make silly mistakes that they wouldn’t normally make.
Can you use backup cameras and other safety features on a driving test?

With technology constantly advancing, it’s no surprise that the safety features available on vehicles today remove some degree for human error. Backup cameras, lane departure warnings and automatic breaking are just a few things that today’s teens are able to take advantage of while driving. But, in Ontario, although you can use a vehicle with a backup camera for your road test, you can’t actually use the rear-view camera during the test2. Be sure to call ahead and ask if any safety features present in your car are okay and what happens if they are used during the road test.

Who knows, maybe one day self-driving cars will make driving tests a thing of the past.

Will my insurance premiums increase when I add my newly licensed teenager?

If they’ve only got their learner’s permit, then probably not, as you don’t have to add them to your policy until they can legally drive on their own. If they have received their probationary or full license, you’ll likely see an increase. This is because not only are you adding an additional driver to your policy, but they won’t have many years of driving experience just yet. As they get more years of clean driving experience under their belt, it will help with bringing their premiums down.

Is there a discount for going to driving school?

Some insurance companies offer a specific discount for completing driver’s education. Other companies may not offer a discount, but will take this into consideration when calculating your premium (so it could still result in savings for you). Either way, if asked by your insurer, you should be ready to provide proof of completion with a certificate. Also, keep in mind that these discounts and savings are designed to help make premiums affordable for new drivers, and may not be available once you have been driving for a number of years.

What cost savings are available for new and young drivers?

On top of savings for driving school, some car insurance companies offer student discounts based on grades – another way to encourage your teen to do their homework.

In Ontario, auto insurers also offer a Graduated Licensing Discount when moving through the different levels of licensing. This discount comes into play when receiving a G2 or a G license, and applies for one year if your teen qualifies.         


The summary provided on provincial licensing requirements is not comprehensive and is not a substitution for doing your own research. All drivers and parents are responsible for ensuring that they are familiar with and driving in accordance with the licensing regime in their province.


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