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Old 12-18-2013, 11:14 AM
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I'll be taking my road test tomorrow in Watertown. Anything I should be aware of, considering the roads are pretty bad?

Last edited by umhuhwhat; 12-18-2013 at 11:23 AM..
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Old 12-18-2013, 03:51 PM
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I was told that the test is actually easier during a snow storm because they might expect you not to parallel park if the conditions are not ideal.

1. Before you even leave the lot, they may ask you to show off your hand signals. They'll also ask you to check your breaks, hazard lights, wind shield wiper, headlights, etc.
2. Also remember to signal (a lot of people forget to signal left when leaving the curb since it feels like going straight out of the parking lot). They can automatically fail you on this before you even leave the registry's parking lot!
3. There's some right turns, so make sure your hand over hand is good.
4. On a normal day if you go too slow on the road (e.g. under the speed limit), they'll fail you automatically, but since it's icy/snowy, they'll give you more leeway if you go reasonably slow with caution.
5. Also, make sure you stop completely for stop signs and pedestrians in crosswalks (no rolling stops). You may inch out after you stop at an intersection. Look left, right, left at intersections. Of course, you don't want to be to take too long. You don't want to look cocky or nervous--you want to look like a careful and confident driver.
6. I think the only tricky part about that route is that you have to make sure you stay on the right side of the road. Because of the snow, the curb look further out than it really is, so you might be tempted to stay in the middle of residential streets--but some of them are two-ways. The street lines might not be obvious because of slush covering, so I usually pay attention to the direction of parked cars/street signs to know if I'm on a two-way street.
7. Obviously, you want to be prepared for parallel parking and 3 point turns though. If they make you parallel park, it probably will be on a hill, so when you're done make sure you turn your wheels in the correct direction and pull the parking break when you're done.
8. They usually then ask you to reverse 50 feet after you parallel park. So make sure before you start reversing that your wheels are straighten (or at least know how to adjust it while reversing). Hitting the curb usually means you fail.

Last edited by sharencare; 12-18-2013 at 04:24 PM..
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:08 PM
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Thanks so much sharon! I will!
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:33 PM
Location: Camberville
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Sharen's advice is excellent!

Have you practiced driving in these conditions? The roads aren't that bad, but they're still a little slick. I believe it is supposed to be above freezing tomorrow so some of the slush should melt. You'll want to give yourself more time to stop and also know what the anti lock brake feels like - mine kicked in a few times tonight. ABS kicking in might be the norm for young drivers here, but I grew up in an area where there was rarely icy conditions so I never felt it until my first winter driving here (and swore like a sailor in the process). Would not have made a good driving test impression.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!
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Old 12-19-2013, 06:29 AM
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Thanks everyone! Will update!

Yes I've practiced in these conditions.
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:27 AM
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I failed. Inspector seemed nice, and fair. I failed on my turns. It was kind of hard because it was an uphill, acute turn and I couldn't see around it, and he said I didn't slow down enough. There was a worker who had to get out of my way. Since he said the person could have been in danger, I failed. Otherwise he said I was pretty much perfect.

Sharon: Advice for your husband - It's very hard to see the lines because of the snow. I think they were a little more lax because of that. Also, there's one part where there's vertical parking spots, and it looks like another lane. I think they didn't get me on that because there were very few lines and it was hard to see because of the snow piled on the side of the road.

He asked hand signals, parallel parking, pulling over, stop signs, turns, and backwards 50 feet. They must vary the test because he didn't ask me about parking uphill or downhill or 3 pt turns.

Oh well, gonna schedule again. My friend says the first few times are practice (it's my second time failing, but first was not in MA)

BTW the speed limit is 10 miles inside the parking lot, and I also pulled in too fast because I didn't realize we were inside, but he didn't take off for that.

Basically, it's really hard to see where the lanes are because of the snow, so maybe your husband can drive around the area (I'm going to ask my husband to do that with me over the weekend before I take another test)
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Old 12-19-2013, 10:28 AM
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Thank you for the advice sharon and charol. It was really helpful!
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:34 PM
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Aww. I'm sorry to hear you didn't pass, but thanks for letting me know how it went. I'm sure you'll do well next time as you did everything else well under very tricky conditions.

Personally, I'm still learning to drive in this area, so I need to work on making my sharp right turns too. It could just be me, but my issue on right turns is that I don't start turning my wheel to the right early enough and I sometimes don't slow down enough, so I end up more out of my lane than I would like. I've been kind of spoiled by suburban driving, which has wider, less busy streets. My instructor usually prompts me to look ahead pretty far into the street I'm turning into while being hyper aware that a pedestrian might be waiting on the left or right curbs. My husband also did the same thing the first time he was on a Boston street in JP because he wasn't used to our narrow streets: his turn went too far out of his lane on a road on the bottom of the hill. The poor oncoming driver on the other lane, barreling down the hill, probably jumped out of seat when he saw us take the turn not very neatly. So when making a right turn we always assume there's another car coming out, and try to keep as tight to the right as possible.

I think the RMV is closed on Sundays, so it's ok to discreetly drive around the area, even the parking lot since it's attached to the mall. But normally, they don't like people "practicing" on the course. If they catch you, they may yell at you to stay away...so just be discrete. Good luck!

Last edited by sharencare; 12-19-2013 at 01:13 PM..
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:00 AM
Location: Boston Suburb
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Just curious, what are the hand signals you guys mentioned?
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:03 AM
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They're really for bikers. There are a lot of bikers in MA so you need to know their signals. Straight out means left, up means right, and down means slow down or stop.
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