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Tips on Passing the New York State Road Test for a Bus Driver

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You have completed the training to become a bus driver, passed the Commercial Driver's License general written test and now you are preparing to take the New York State road test. The road test, or skills test, consists of three sections which include on-road driving as well as the pre-trip vehicle inspection and basic vehicle control.

Preparing for the Road Test

Get as much practice driving a school bus as you can prior to taking the New York State road test. The more familiar you are with practicing as a bus driver, the more comfortable you will be during the road test. You can also go to the New York State DMV website to read their guide for passing the road test. Once you are ready, you can schedule the skills test at the local DMV office in your area in person, on the phone or online, and you must pay the $40 fee before scheduling your appointment.

Make sure you bring all of the required items with you on the day of the test, including your driver's license, social security card and the Department of Transportation Physical Exam form. Plan to arrive approximately 30 minutes early for the test so that you are not late, miss your appointment and have to reschedule and pay another fee.

Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection

As a part of your training, you had to learn how to inspect the bus prior to going on your route. The pre-trip vehicle inspection portion of the road test will involve the examiner observing you as you inspect the inside of the bus, start the engine and check any portion of the bus as instructed. Before scheduling the road test, you should study the pre-trip vehicle inspection section of the CDL manual to familiarize yourself with its contents. The examiner may have you walk around the bus, point or touch parts of the bus and explain what they are and why they need to be checked. You will have to check features such as the windshield wipers, lights, horn, mirrors, the stop arm, and the brakes. You will also have to make sure there are no leaks, the emergency exit is operating properly and that the seats on the bus are securely bolted to the floor.

During the Road Test

Once the test begins, remain calm and pay attention to the directions given by the examiner as he evaluates your skills. The basic vehicle control portion will require that you demonstrate how you operate the bus while moving backward, forward and making turns around an area marked by cones, traffic lanes or other barriers. The on-road portion will involve you driving on the road with other vehicles. You will receive instructions such as right and left turns, driving through intersections as well as single or multi-lane streets, highways and roads to see if you know how to safely maneuver the bus. If you pass the road test you will be given a receipt and you will have to wait a minimum of seven days before returning to the DMV office to have your regular driver's license amended to a CDL.


Janise Smith began freelance writing in 2009. She has published poetry, short fiction and various articles, with her works appearing in "Metropolitan Woman" and the "Detroit Free Press." She earned a Bachelor of Arts in written communications with an emphasis on journalism, creative and technical writing from Eastern Michigan University.

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