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How to Pass the Washington State Driving Test

How to Pass the Washington State Driving Test


check out the premium WA DRIVING TEST PREP course

Nine video lessons that show you exactly what to do on every part of the your Washington state drive test.

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How to Stop on the Washington State Driving Test

How to Stop on The Washington State Driving Test


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Nine video lessons that show you exactly what to do on every part of the your Washington state drive test.

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Take the Driving Test in a Car You’ve Driven Before

Take the Washington State Driving Test in a Car You've Driven Before


check out the premium WA DRIVING TEST PREP course

Nine video lessons that show you exactly what to do on every part of the your Washington state drive test.

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The Brake Reaction Test on the Washington State Driving Test

The Brake Reaction Test on The Washington State Driving Test


check out the premium WA DRIVING TEST PREP course

Nine video lessons that show you exactly what to do on every part of the your Washington state drive test.

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How to Change Lanes on the Washington State Driving Test

How to Change Lanes on The Washington State Driving Test


check out the premium WA DRIVING TEST PREP course

Nine video lessons that show you exactly what to do on every part of the your Washington state drive test.

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How to Back Around a Corner in Washington State

How to Back Around a Corner on The Washington State Driving Test


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Nine video lessons that show you exactly what to do on every part of the your Washington state drive test.

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Backing around a corner on the Washington state driving test

Backing around a corner and looking out the rear window.

Well, it looks like it’s time to write a post about backing around a corner. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this one, so here goes.

If you’re taking a driving test in Washington state, you’ll have to back around a corner

This is called the backing maneuver or just simply “backing”. The backing maneuver tests your ability to control the car and use proper vision when you’re driving in reverse. This maneuver is usually conducted on a quiet residential street or a street with low traffic.

The examiner will have you pull over to the side of the road just after an intersection. Or, they might have you turn into an alleyway and stop. Then they’ll give you instructions to back around the corner.

The most important thing to remember when backing around a corner

Whenever you drive in reverse, you need to turn around and look out the rear window. Don’t back around the corner just using your mirrors! If you don’t look out the rear window when you drive backwards, you will lose points for using poor vision.

Obviously there are some exceptions. For example if your vehicle has a camper or something obstructing the view out the rear window, they’ll let you use your mirrors. But otherwise, you need to turn around and look behind you for the entire maneuver.

When you turn around and look behind you, keep one hand on the steering wheel. Before you start going around the corner, look all around you to make sure there are no vehicles approaching. Before you reverse through a crosswalk or enter the intersection, stop and look both ways behind you for pedestrians.

Some other things to remember about backing:
Stay within 18 inches of the curb
After you get around the corner, you have to drive backwards in a straight line
Keep looking behind you

Eventually the examiner will say “Stop”, and then “re-enter traffic.” Before you re-enter traffic, be sure to signal, check your mirror, and then look over your left shoulder to check your blind spot.

This video shows you the backing maneuver:

Washington driving test prep courses

If you already know how to drive, and want to learn exactly what you need to do on the driving test, you should check out our online test prep course, Washington State Driving Test. We offer two versions of this training, taught by a former DOL Master Examiner:

The free course gives you five video lessons in your email inbox. The free course is designed to give you a broad overview of the driving test and introduce the key concepts you should know.

The premium course is even better. It has nine video lessons that take you behind the scenes to show you the Washington driving test from an insider’s perspective. You’ll see every maneuver performed, with detailed instructions on what to do and what NOT to do on each part of the test.

Washington has the hardest driving test in the US

One way street sign with green tree branches and blue sky

KOMO News recently reported on a study by Siegfried and Jensen, which says that Washington state is the hardest state in the nation to pass the driving test. They based their evaluation on several sources of information, including information from the Washington DOL website and the Washington Driver Guide (PDF).

What the study looked at

The study included the following factors:

  • Learners permit requirements
  • License costs
  • Testing costs, including the knowledge and driving tests
  • Knowledge test difficulty and passing score required
  • Number of attempts to pass the test before you pay another fee
  • Number of graded maneuvers on the driving test
  • Number of graded vehicle control elements on the driving test
  • Number of graded elements related to traffic laws, such as signs, on the driving test
  • Number of graded driver behavior elements on the driving test
  • Number of attempts to pass the driving test before you pay another fee

Based on the descriptions on the website for the study, it appears that this study was quantitative rather than qualitative. This means that they counted numbers of things like driving maneuvers, scoring, and costs and assigned weightings to each one. The methodology doesn’t compare the relative difficulty of the material between the different states.

The bottom line is that you have to know more things, and perform more maneuvers, in Washington than in the other states.

Prepare for the hardest driving test in the US

To prepare yourself for the Washington driving test, the first thing you should do is read and understand the Washington Driver Guide (PDF). Knowing this material will enable you to pass the written knowledge test. You can also take the DOL practice test.

You also need to practice driving. Obviously, you should already know how to drive before you take your test. If you don’t know how to drive, you should take some lessons from a driving school.

Washington driving test prep courses

If you already know how to drive, and want to learn exactly what you need to do on the driving test, you should check out our online test prep course, Washington State Driving Test. We offer two versions of this training, taught by a former DOL Master Examiner:

  • The free course gives you five video lessons in your email inbox. The free course is designed to give you a broad overview of the driving test and introduce the key concepts you should know.
  • The premium course is even better. It has nine video lessons that take you behind the scenes to show you the Washington driving test from an insider’s perspective. You’ll see every maneuver performed, with detailed instructions on what to do and what NOT to do on each part of the test.

Enroll today, and get ready to pass the Washington State Driving Test!

What is the brake reaction test?

Before you start your Washington state driving test, the examiner will have you do a brake reaction test. This tests your ability to safely and quickly stop the car. This part is pretty easy to do, but it helps if you know what to expect.

How does the brake reaction test work?

For the brake reaction test, the examiner will stand outside the car. Typically, the brake reaction test is given at the end of the pre-trip inspection, where the examiner makes sure your car meets the minimum requirements in order to test in it. The examiner will stand just outside the driver’s door in a position where they can see the brake. The brake reaction test is performed with the engine turned off for safety.

You’ll have to roll down your window so that you can hear the examiner give the command.

The examiner will say:

I’m going to check your ability to stop.

Put your foot on the gas pedal. When I say stop, step on the brake as quickly as you can.

Stop!

You need to step on the brake as quickly as possible, as if you were trying to stop the vehicle in an emergency. The following video shows you what to do.

If you don’t step on the brake fast enough, the examiner will repeat the instructions and let you try the brake reaction test one more time. If you still can’t do it fast enough, then the examiner will refer you to a DOL office for testing.