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I am a very good driver, but the DMV road test gives me a nervous breakdown.

Get help for your DMV road test anxiety

Two weeks before the test you are unsure if you should cancel it. image Although you are driving very well, the thought of those people testing you completely unnerves you. Those people (the DMV examiners) are completely evil and you are sure they don't want to pass you, so to help with the situation you call RoyDrive and ask for a driving evaluation. During the evaluation - or even before- you find yourself crying because you are used to passing every exam that you have taken, so you have become extremely disappointed in your multiple efforts to pass the DMV test without success. You may have failed the first test because the examiner was mean, or your previous driving instructor destroyed your confidence. But this time the evaluation goes well despite the bad feelings, so you schedule the road test again.

This time RoyDrive will take you for the road test. The night before the road test you are unable to sleep. You are up by 2 or 3 AM in the morning. You bite your fingers, scratch your skin and cry as night becomes morning. Hours before the road test you are unable to eat breakfast because the thought of the impending exam with the DMV people is consuming your every thought. This is how you know that you have road test anxiety, compared to driving anxiety - when you have the same feelings about the driving instructor showing up for the lesson.

There are no magical solutions - before the road test - but here are some suggestions.

Write down any and all negative feelings you have before you begin to practice just before the road test begins. If these feeling are about your driving skills, then show the list to your driving instructor. (2) Before getting in the car for the road test, be sure to have a nice ten to twenty minute stretch, that will be good for balancing the hormones.

Get in the car and begin to practice any driving task that caused you to feel negative about your driving or taking the road test. Work each task one at a time until perfected or weary, while thinking only about that individual task alone. Do not think about parallel parking when you are making a left turn at a traffic light for example.

Be sure not to over consume water or coffee one hour before the road test, because when you are anxious or nervous you will find yourself wanting to urinate frequently. Also, because coffee blocks some neurotransmitter receptors, do not drink it since it will increase your anxiety level. Any negative feelings about the DMV examiner should not be entertained or discussed. Yes, this is the reason that you fear the road test, but the reality is that you cannot control the examiner's temperament. Or can you? Lets work on this...

When the examiner approaches your vehicle do not stare at the person as they approach you. Think about your first step to begin the road test. Be sure to exit the vehicle or be ready in the driver seat before the examiner gets there. This prevents any allowance for a bad start to the test. Do not begin to prejudge the person as being nice or mean - this will corrupt your driving. Say hello in a gentle and kind manor and do not expect any response. But, if a response is returned, express that you are really nervous about the test and end the discussion.

Next, listen carefully to your instructions. Do not anticipate anything that you think the examiner wants you to do. They do want you to drive safely!

When you are asked to start the car, repeat the keyword "START" out loud. Do not worry about what it may sound like to the examiner. If the vehicle is already started, then confirm that by checking the gauges - are they up? This is important because when you are nervous you may attempt to do too many unnecessary things, such are starting the engine twice or not putting the vehicle in drive before trying to leave the curb.

After leaving the curb, check yourself. Try to relax your muscles by leaning back into the seat, if you cannot relax, then you will find yourself sweating. Do not hold your breath for long periods or breath too fast. Do this by speaking when the examiner speaks. Repeat what they have said to you! Got it? Ok, got it!

Stay away from ideas like thinking of the examiner in their underwear. Be determined. You are there to prove to yourself and them that you are a more capable driver than your feelings betray. Now is the time. Make your emotions and thoughts as blank as possible by listening carefully and reasonably utilizing all your senses, but not so much that you cannot respond to instructions.

If you find yourself not being able to respond to instructions well, it is because you are being too self aware. This is called "blanking out". Once again, repeat the instructions that the examiner gives you before the point where you must execute the maneuver.

If and when you make a mistake, accept responsibility for it and ask the examiner if you can try again. The examiner can often be more understanding for mistakes that are not dangerous. So forget about that mistake and perform the next task beautifully.

After the test is finished and you stop at the curb, you may find yourself trembling. Look at your hands. That is because your adrenaline was very high and now there is nothing else to do. Congratulations! You did it.



This section responds to questions or comments below this line. All DMV road test appointments are scheduled for that particular road test site. There will be no DMV office there. All road test appointments and site locations are often a few miles away from any DMV offices. The permit test, license renewal and photo for example, are done only at the DMV office.