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Non-commercial Driver Skills Testing during COVID-19

Updated August 14, 2020

As of  June 2, 2020, driver's skills tests, including motorcycle skills tests, have resumed at reopened Driver License Centers.  Testing is also available at a number of Third Part Non-Commercial Testers.

Customers who have skills tests scheduled on or after June 2 will be able to obtain a driver's skills test at all open PennDOT Driver License Centers that perform skills testing. The skills test has been modified to mitigate potential exposure of PennDOT staff and customers while maintaining the integrity of the testing process.

The modified test and controlled testing environment will use any roadways, parking lot throughways or closed course test pads where maneuvers and general driving can be observed by the examiner to assess your driving ability and safe driving practices.  Test courses vary by location and will use roadways, parking lot throughways or closed course test pads or combination of.  

During the test you will be asked to operate various controls of the vehicle, perform a parallel park maneuver, and navigate a series of turns, controlled intersections, and general driving.  The examiner will remain outside of the vehicle during all phases of testing.  The examiner will provide instructions to navigate the course and perform set maneuvers.  During all testing you must operate the vehicle just as if you were operating the vehicle on public roadways.  The examiner will score all observed driving using current testing  and scoring guidelines. 

When Arriving for a Scheduled Exam:

When arriving for their scheduled test, the applicant and the accompanying driver must wear a mask during testing.  All applicants must have an accompanying driver, who has the same or higher classification of license as the applicant.  The accompanying driver will remain in the front seat passenger seat during the duration of the test. 

Applicants are required to provide their learner permit, valid vehicle registration, insurance, and accompanying operator's valid driver license. Examiners will utilize iPads during the administration of testing.  iPads will be routinely disinfected using wipes or spray sanitizer. 

Examiner performs Knowledge of Controls (scored) and Vehicle Safety walk-around check

The Examiner will perform a cursory walk-around safety check and will administer and score the knowledge of vehicles controls.  If successfully completed, the examiner will provide additional instruction to the applicant and accompanying driver to proceed with the remainder of the test (observed driving and parallel park maneuver).  During all testing you must operate the vehicle just as if you were operating the vehicle on public roadways.

The Examiner performs scored "Observed Driving" and "Parallel Park Maneuver"

The order of maneuvers, parallel park and observed driving will vary by location and can be performed in any order. 

Parallel Park Maneuver

The examiner will remain outside of the vehicle and stand in a safe location during this maneuver.  The applicant and the accompanying driver will remain in the vehicle. The examiner will provide instructions to perform parallel park maneuver and will score any infractions observed approaching, during, or exiting the parallel parking maneuver and test area including but not limited to turn signals, final position, traffic checks, driving onto curbs and hitting barriers.

Observed Driving

The examiner will remain outside of the vehicle and stand in a safe location during this portion of the test.  The applicant and the accompanying driver will remain in the vehicle.

The examiner will provide instructions, which vary by location, to navigate a series of turns, controlled intersections, and general driving.

Examiners will score any infractions committed during observed driving such failing to use turn signals, failing to conduct traffic checks, improper stopping, or any other infraction observed. 

Conclusion of testing:

If successful, the Examiner will notify the applicant and have them return to the Driver License Center to have their photo taken. 


General Driving Practices

You will be evaluated on general driving practices in order to determine your ability to safely operate the vehicle. You must obey all traffic laws and signs. Below are some tips to assist you with safe driving practices.

Turns
  • You must use the correct turn signal when preparing to make a turn or to enter or exit a designated area.
  • As you approach the turn, check traffic in all directions and activate the correct turn signal at the appropriate time.
  • Brake smoothly, evenly and safely, when necessary, to get into the correct lane needed for the turn.
  • If you must stop before making the turn because of traffic, signals or signs, smoothly come to a complete stop behind the stop line, crosswalk, or stop sign.
  • When ready to turn, check traffic in all directions. Maintain smooth, even acceleration and yield to pedestrians and other traffic. Keep the vehicle in the proper lane and do not make contact with the curb.
  • Make sure you finish completing the turn in the correct lane and that your turn signal has cancelled. Avoid getting too close to the curbs when making turns or performing an exercise. All tires must maintain contact with the roadway.

Braking

  • Brake smoothly using steady pressure.
  • Come to a complete stop at stop signs.

Steering

  • Keep both hands gripped on the outside of the steering wheel at all times unless using other controls.
  • You may not use the open palm of your hand to turn the wheel.

Lane Usage

  • Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks or lane markings.

Head/Traffic Check(s)

  • Always check your surroundings to ensure it is safe to proceed.
  • Check traffic and mirrors regularly.
  • Watch for hazards by searching left and right.
  • Scan ahead, observe traffic and look for pedestrians.
  • Check for traffic in your "blind spots" by looking over your shoulder when necessary.

Stops

  • When stopping at a stop sign or traffic signal, do not stop over a marked stop line, pedestrian crosswalk, sidewalk or other marker.