Every sixteen year old looks forward to the day that he or she can obtain a legal driver’s license. If you or a loved one plans on taking the New Mexico driving test soon, it’s important to ensure you practice all of the basic driving principles. It’s easy to forget how to parallel park or lane change when you’re behind the wheel with a supervisor, so the sooner you start practicing your driving skills the better off you will be. In this blog, we’ll look at the top 10 things people forget to practice before taking a driving exam, so you can pass the test on the first try.

MVD Express in New Mexico is proud to offer world class motor vehicle services for residents throughout Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Sante Fe, and beyond. Whether you need to renew your driver’s license, obtain a learner’s permit, or take a road test, we can help. If you’re interested in learning more about our services, contact us today!

Parallel Parking

Many new drivers will go to great lengths to avoid learning how to parallel park. While this method of parking can be tricky and difficult to master, there is no reason to be nervous about this driving skill. Depending on where you live in New Mexico, you may be asked to demonstrate your ability to parallel park during your driving test. That’s why it’s so important to practice this skill before you go to the DMV to obtain your real driver’s license. If you want to practice at home, place two plastic cones or other objects approximately 15 feet apart to simulate the size of a standard parking space. Use the directions below as a guide to practice your parallel parking skills until you feel completely comfortable.

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is properly position your car. Slowly steer your vehicle so that is is parallel to the car or object in front of the empty space you wish to park in. Your car should be about two to three feet from the side of the parked car.
  • The next step is to check your mirrors, both your rear-view mirror as well as your left and right side mirrors. Once you are certain that there are no other cars in your blind spot, slowly start to shift your car into reverse by turning the steering wheel to the right.
  • Slowly begin to reverse your vehicle along the side of the parked car next to you. As you car starts to move into the empty parallel parking spot, start to straighten your steering wheel as you continue to move backwards. Make sure you continuously check all of your mirrors and windows to ensure you are not in danger of hitting anything.
  • Once the front of your car has passed the back bumper of the vehicle in the parking spot in front of you, slowly start to steer your wheel to the left.
  • Once your vehicle is straight and close to the curb, you may need to shift forward to position your car so that there is an equal amount of space in front of your vehicle as well as behind it.

Once you are confident in your ability to parallel park, ask a friend or family member to join you in the vehicle. This will get you used to parallel parking with someone else in the car, so you can feel comfortable when it comes time to take your driving test at the DMV.

Stay Consistent With Braking & Accelerating

When you go to MVD Express in New Mexico to take your driving test, make sure you stay consistent with the braking and accelerating of your vehicle. The person administering the driving test will want to see a driver who is confident about his or her ability behind the wheel. If you stomp and the brake or gas pedal during your driving test, it may demonstrate that you are not ready to be on the road. Take the time to learn how to gently accelerate from any stop, and to keep an even speed pace while in motion. It’s important to note that if you are forced to stop immediately during your driving test for an emergency, it will not be held against you.

Handle Curves Like A Pro

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably seen those commercials on television that feature an exotic and powerful sports car zooming in and out of hairpin curves with ease. Unless you’re a professional stunt-driver, driving around curvy roads should be done with complete caution. It’s very easy to lose control of a vehicle when driving through curvy mountain passes or roundabouts, so these maneuvers should be taken in a slow and careful manner. Let’s take a look at some tips to stay safe on curvy roads below.

  • As a new driver, it’s important to have a basic understand of why curvy roads can be so dangerous. When a car rounds a curve, there are two types of motion occurring: the car’s tires moving forward from acceleration, and the inertia of the body of the vehicle as it travels around the winding road. These conflicting movements can cause hazardous skidding, which can cause injury to you and your vehicle. This is why it’s so important to take the required safety precautions when driving around tight curves.
  • Did you know that most accidents that occur on curves could easily be prevented with reducing the speed of the vehicle? No matter rain or shine, when you approach a curve in you car it’s important to reduce your speed for your safety and the safety of those around you.

Master Lane Changes

Before you sign up to take your driver’s license test, make sure you master lane changes. A very common driving mistake on road tests occurs when a new driver attempts to change lanes while cruising through an intersection. Whether you’re driving on a busy metropolitan road or an interstate highway, you must use proper lane changing techniques every time you switch from one lane to another. Let’s take a look at some important things to consider the next time you think about changing lanes:

When driving on a four lane road (where two lanes travel in one direction and two lanes travel in the opposite direction), the right lane is always designated to be the primary driving lane. The left lane is intended to be used by motorists who wish to safely pass other vehicles that are traveling at a slower speed than they are. You should avoid driving in the left lane for extended periods of time, as this could lead to you getting a speeding ticket.
When emergency vehicles are approaching, all drivers must surrender their car to the left lane. Emergency vehicles always have the right of way.

Tips To Change Lanes Properly

  • If you’re on the highway or driving down a metropolitan road and you find yourself behind a vehicle that is driving significantly slower than you, it is acceptable to briefly change lanes to pass the car. Before you make any movement, be sure to turn on your left turn signal to inform the other surrounding drivers that you have intentions to move into the left passing lane.
  • Take the time to check your rearview mirror and side mirrors for other vehicles. Lastly, check your blind spot before you make the move to switch lanes.
  • While maintaining a safe and appropriate speed, smoothly steer your car left so that your vehicle exits the right lane.
  • Turn off your turn signal and continue driving in the left lane as you start to pass the slower vehicle.
  • Once you are at a safe distance from the car in your right lane, turn your right signal on to notify the slower driver that you are moving back in the right lane.
  • While maintaining your speed, slowly steer into the right lane so that your vehicle completely leaves the left passing lane.

When you begin to practice your lane passing skills, always remember to remain patient with other drivers on the road. The last thing you want to do is surprise another driver by moving into their lane, only to end up in an accident on the side of the road.

In part two of this series, we’ll look at six more important things to remember before you schedule your driving test at the DMV. If you live in New Mexico and you need to take a drivers license exam, stop by MVD Express today!