What’s In A Road Test?

Many of our clients have asked for detailed information regarding the road test. In most cases, those who prepare for the road test have the highest likelihood of passing on their first try. During the road test, an examiner will be present to observe your driving skills and safety habits while you navigate a route predetermined by the driver examiner.

Below are some sections that reflect the exact content of the marking rubric that the Royal Test examiners will use. We cannot disclose the route we will use; however, the driving manoeuvres and basic fundamentals is public knowledge. We at Royal test services hope that this guide will help Albertans understand the Alberta road test process more clearly.

During your road test the examiners will use a demerit point addition system. This means that everyone will start with zero points until they commit a driving error. Driving errors committed during your road test will result in points added to your marking sheet. Some of these offences can vary from 5 points to 10 points depending on the severity of the error.  These driving errors are usually caused by unsafe driving practices and are not to be confused with disqualifiers. Disqualifiers will result in an automatic fail on the road test. Remember-the lower your score (points), the better.

You are expected to know where to locate and how to operate all of the controls in the vehicle.  The driver examiner may request that you identify specific controls.

For example:

  • Braking in advance to bring the vehicle to a smooth stop
  • Using the accelerator to match the weather and road conditions
  • Signal lights must be used when leaving a parking space or curb
  • Rear and front defrosters for defogging your windows
  • Windshield wipers and windshield fluid dispenser
  • Engaging and disengaging the emergency signal lights
  • Using the emergency or parking brakes
Parking properly and safely has its difficulties and requires good observation skills, spatial awareness and a good understanding of steering while in reverse.

During your road test, you will be required to perform at least one of these parking manoeuvres; Failure to complete the parking section within 3 attempts will result in an automatic failure of the road test

You will be facing a downward slope so your vehicle (should the parking brakes fail) will be rolling forward, your tires must be turned to the right so the friction from the tire to the curb will keep you vehicle from rolling further downhill.
You will be backing a downward slope so your vehicle (should the parking brakes fail) will roll backwards. In this scenario the vehicle’s tires will be turned to the left, as the vehicle rolls back the front tires will make contact with the curb and keep you vehicle in place.
Since there is no curb to lock the car in position you must turn the wheels to the left so that (if your parking brake fails) the vehicle will be rolling away from traffic this way you can avoid hitting other vehicles on the road.
You may be required to parallel park during your road test. This will require you to position the car beside another parked vehicle and back into a parking spot behind it. You will be allowed to fix the position of the vehicle after you have backed in the parking spot, however on each attempt you are only allowed to pull ahead once.
Lane changes, merges, and vehicle positioning is another very important part of the road test. You will be expected to keep your vehicle in the proper lane. You are expected to know the differences and meaning of all lane markings as well as how to properly navigate streets without markings.


  • Try to avoid driving in the middle of the road when there are no markings; make sure your vehicle is positioned on the correct side of the road.
  • Be sure to always shoulder check when moving to the curb lane- even if it’s just a right turn. Many people forget that they are indeed making a lane change.
  • Remember to make lane changes only when safe. In order to do this properly, you must match speed while maintaining an appropriate space cushion while lane changing. Understanding your environment and vehicles around you is imperative during lane changes and merges.
  • Always look ahead when you want to merge. The farther ahead you look and prepare for a lane change, the more time you have to react to your surroundings.
  • Don’t forget to use your mirrors as tools to help you change lanes; however you must always shoulder check to make sure your blind spot is clear.
  • Use your signal lights properly. Make sure you leave your signal lights on long enough for other drivers to notice; however leaving your signal lights on for too long can confuse other drivers.
Intersections and turns will be an integral part of your test. Understanding the rules will be the difference between passing and failing. When turning right or left, it is very important that you turn into the lane you are turning from. For instance, if you are turning left from the lane closest to the curb then you must complete your turn in the far left lane. Sometimes there may be a parked vehicle in your way- in this case you are allowed to change lanes; however you must be extra careful if you are faced with this situation as it can be very dangerous. Even if it’s a dual turning lane you are expected to turn finish the turn in the lane you started in.

You will be expected to understand and obey all traffic control signs and signals; this includes pavement markings as well as physical signage.

Crosswalks can be another tricky area, unless otherwise stated you must treat all intersections as crosswalks. Usually this is indicated by markings on the pavement showing you where the stop line is. You must be extremely careful when these lines are unmarked and be mindful of pedestrians.


  • Whether it’s a right or left turn you must come to a complete stop before proceeding even when turning is permitted. Stopping for 3 seconds will help you enforce good stopping habits.
  • When you encounter pavement markings that indicate the beginning of the cross walk, make sure you stop your vehicle before the line. In many cases, there will be an extra line indicating where you should stop.
  • Make sure there is enough space for your vehicle; your vehicle should never be stopped in an intersection. During high volume traffic times it can be easy to get stuck in the middle of the intersection.  Always make sure you have enough space for your vehicle by observing those in front of you.
  • When waiting on a left turn, be sure to always have your tires pointed straight. If your vehicle is hit from behind, your vehicle will move forward instead of left into oncoming traffic.

A clear understanding of the right of way must be demonstrated. During your road test, you will surely run into an uncontrolled intersection where there are no traffic control signs to guide you. In this case you must use the right of way to determine who goes first.

You must demonstrate that you understand the meaning of all traffic control lights and signs, you must also show that you are able to drive accordingly while obeying the signs.


  • Always watch out for pedestrians, it can be easy to focus on only the oncoming traffic when you are trying to make a turn.
  • Remember you must always come to a complete stop before you are allowed to turn right on a red light. Use the 3 second stop to ensure you are making a full stop.
  • At times you will see flashing red lights, when all lights are flashing you must treat the intersection as a four way stop. When there are yellow and red flashing lights yellow must slow down but may proceed with caution, red must stop and continue when safe.
  • When possible always try to stop on a yellow light, this is an indicator that the lights will soon turn red.
It is very important for you to understand the right of way, it determines who will go first at an uncontrolled intersection. It is highly likely that you will be required to use the right of way during your test. When you approach an intersection the first thing to do is to determine if you are at an uncontrolled intersection, check for traffic control lights and signs. If you do not see any stop signs or stop lights, this is an uncontrolled intersection.

At an uncontrolled intersection you must use the right of way rule to determine who will go first. If you’re the only vehicle, then you may proceed with caution. When two vehicles come to the intersection at the same time, you must yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right (according to Alberta Law).

Uncontrolled intersections and intersections requiring the use of right of way, can come in a variety of different forms. Make sure you are very familiar with all the different right of way scenarios as they can get confusing at times. We  suggest reviewing the driver’s hand book ahead of time as it illustrates all of the different scenarios. The driver’s hand book can be obtained through an Alberta Registry agent of your choice. Be sure to phone the Alberta Registry ahead of time to make sure they have it in stock.


  • Pedestrians at the crosswalk always have the right of way
  • Avoid stopping for jaywalkers as this will disrupt the flow
  • Be sure to scan both ways for pedestrians ahead of time
  • Cyclists maybe considered vehicles when on the road
  • Cyclists are considered pedestrians on the sidewalk

Road Test Vehicle Checklist

Here is a checklist for the vehicle, make sure you check these items before your road test as these items will be checked by the examiner. If the vehicle is deemed to be not fit for a road test you would be forced to find another car to use. To be sure arrive to the road test nice and early and ask if someone can check the vehicle beforehand.

  • Make sure there is enough fuel for the road test
  • Mirrors are in proper condition
  • Exhaust system and muffler in good shape
  • Tires are in good condition
  • Windshield or windshield cracks are not obstructing vision
  • Functioning brake lights and signal lights
  • Make sure the horn is in good working condition
  • Tires must also be in good condition
  • Speedometer and other dashboard gauges must work properly
  • Windshield wipers must work

Tips and tricks to Help You Pass Your Road Test

Royal Test Services has provided the below points of tricks that can help with passing your road test. No matter how minuscule these may seem, never over look these small tricks. The goal is to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your road test.

You want to be able to rotate your upper body comfortably in order to perform shoulder checks, and make sure that you have full range of motion with the steering wheel. It is recommended that you do not wear jackets that restrict your movements.
The Royal Test examiner is able to tell by looking at your license. If there is a code “A” on your operator’s license then it means that you require corrective lens’ to drive. The examiner CANNOT take you for a road test if you do not remember to bring your eyewear. If you do not require the glasses but feel more comfortable taking your road test with them, please feel free to use them.
The last thing you want to do is to show up late or without enough time for the Alberta registry agent to process you. In most registries even when you have already booked a road test, further processing is required on the day of the road test. Do yourself a favor and show up early to make sure you are not feeling rushed when it’s time to do your road test.
As mentioned before, you want to make sure you do not feel rushed. Taking your test in a calm and collective manner will always help increase your chances of passing your Alberta road test.
If possible, use the vehicle you have practiced in before. Not all vehicles drive the same and you don’t want to be surprised by the vehicle during a road test. If you are forced to use a vehicle you have not driven before, use all the functions of the vehicle to adjust your seat to an appropriate position. Examiners will always allow you to make corrections and familiarize yourself with the vehicle before the road test.