If you live in New Mexico and are preparing to take your official driver’s license exam, congratulations! At MVD Express, we understand how exciting it is to obtain a driver’s license, which is why we’re proud to offer our customers some of the most fast and convenient DMV services. In part one of this blog, we discussed four important things to remember before you take your driving exam. From learning how to parallel park to handling curves like a pro, there are are many driving techniques you will need to master. In part two of this series, we’ll look at six more things to remember before you sign up to take your driving exam.

If you live in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Las Cruces, or Santa Fe, and you’re looking to obtain your official driver’s license, learner’s permit, or motorcycle license, schedule an appointment at one of our MVD Express locations today.

Wait A Few Moments After The Light Turns Green

While you may be nervous about taking your driving test, it’s always important to use common sense when driving through an intersection or accelerating from a stopped position. Other drivers on the road may not be paying attention to the changing lights, so it may be wise to wait a few moments to accelerate after a light turns green to ensure no other drivers are rushing to beat the red light. Make sure to look both ways before revving up the engine on a green light to ensure the safety of you and other drivers on the road.

Practice Driving Stick Shift

Even if you plan on purchasing a car with an automatic transmission, it’s critical that you learn how to drive a stick shift vehicle before you take your road driving test. Before you start learning how to drive a stick shift vehicle, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you along the way. Let’s take a look at these tips below!

  • Just like when you first learned how to drive a manual transmission, it’s always a good idea to practice driving stick shift off of normal roads. Not only will this minimize the chance of you getting into an accident, it will give you the freedom to learn stick shift at your own pace. Seek out an abandoned parking lot where you can practice your driving skills before you attempt to conquer hills (which are much more difficult).
  • Unlike an automatic transmission vehicle that starts in the park position, a manual transmission vehicle is going to be in gear when you start the car up. To start a stick shift vehicle, hold down the clutch and put the gear into neutral before you turn the key to start up the ignition. Shift the car into first gear, and apply the brake lightly with the clutch still pressed to the floor. Once the clutch and brake pedals are both pressed down, release the parking brake before you start driving.
  • When you first start learning how to drive stick shift, there’s a good chance the car will stall a few times. This happens to everyone, and it’s important to remember that stalling isn’t going to cause any damage to your vehicle. Once you take the time to practice switching gears, you won’t have to worry about the engine stalling on you while you’re driving.
  • Stopping on hills can be very nerve wracking to new drivers. If you are driving a stick shift car and you end up having to stop on a hill for a red light, put on your parking brake and put the car’s engine into neutral (while keeping the clutch and brake pedals depressed). This will keep your car from rolling back and hitting the car behind you. When the light changes and it comes time for you to drive, shift back into first gear while slowly letting up on the clutch and moving your foot from the brake to the gas pedal. It is now safe to release the parking brake.
  • Many new drivers forget that whey they operate an automatic transmission, they only use their right foot to press on the brake and gas pedal. When it comes to driving stick shift, however, it’s critical to remember that you need to use both of your feet. While you will still use your right foot for braking and accelerating, you will also be using your left foot to work the car’s clutch.

Follow Other Cars At A Safe Distance

While this may seem like a no-brainer for some, it’s critical to remember to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. In general, when following a vehicle, you should provide at least three seconds between your car and the car in front of you to provide enough time to avoid a crash. An easy way to do this is to simply watch the vehicle that is ahead of you as it passes a fixed object (this could be a tree, street sign, or other fixed landmark). Start to count, “one-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three” until your vehicle passes the same landmark. This will give you a good idea of where your car should be in relation to the car in front of you, keeping you at a safe and secure distance.

Practice The Three-Point Turn

Many driver’s license examinations will test your ability to complete a successful three-point turn. While most drivers in New Mexico only occasionally use this strategy on the road, it can be a very useful skill for every driver to learn. Before you start to practice this driving technique, make sure you are on a street with very little or no traffic. It’s also a good idea to find a location without an obstacles such as ditches, mailboxes, and fire hydrants. Let’s take a look at some simple steps for completing a successful three point turn during your driver’s test below.

  • As you approach the area of the road where you wish to make a three-point turn, carefully move your car to the outer part of the lane you are in. This will ensure you have enough room to maneuver your vehicle in a full circle.
  • Before you stop your car, make sure to check all of your mirrors for any other vehicles. You never want to attempt a three-point turn on a busy roadway, and most times it is safer and easier to find a driveway or parking lot in which to turn around.
  • Once you’re absolutely sure that there are no other cars approaching you from all directions, turn your steering wheel all the way to the left and accelerate your car until it nears the edge of the opposing lane. This is known as your first point.
  • To create the second point, shift your car into reverse and turn your steering wheel to the right to back up towards the side of the road you originally started in.
  • The third point will be achieved when you shift the car forward and steer the wheel to the left. By now your vehicle should be safely situated in the opposite lane you started in, and you should be able to drive away in the new direction.

It’s Always Better To Overuse Your Turn Signals

During your driving exam, it’s critical to ensure you use your turning signals at all times. Even if you’re not sure about using your turn signal, it’s always better to let other vehicles on the road know about your anticipated movements. You should especially remember to to turn on your turn signals when changing lanes, leaving a parking spot, or entering a driveway.

Don’t Be Nervous

No matter how experienced of a driver you are, if your nerves kick in during your driving exam, there’s a good chance you’ll forget something. One trick that can help you prepare for your driving exam is ask friends and family members to drive around town with you while you practice your driving techniques. This will help you to feel more comfortable when it comes time to take the driver’s test, as an examiner will sit in your passenger seat when he or she examines your driving skills.

If you’re ready to take your driving test in New Mexico, be sure to schedule an appointment at one of the eight convenient MVD Express locations. In addition to our drivers license exams, we also offer learner’s permits for new drivers, license reinstatement, motorcycle licenses, and more.