Driving & Driving Test Tips/Off-road test


QUESTION: I am a disabled driver and, I assume, because I have a progressive disease, they test me every few years. This time it is the regular MVA test and I find that, after driving for 42 years, the techniques they expect you to know are different.
When parallel parking, you must park between cones instead of behind another car. After I had failed, my tester told me that I was supposed to tilt my right rear-view mirror all the way down so as to see the curb. If you only learned to judge be taking cues from the car in front of you, you probably will fail. There were no right side mirrors when I learned!
Also, instead of a k-turn we must now back the car into a parking space between cones. I don't know how to do this and w/o a learner's permit, I can't hire an instructor. What do I do? How do I learn. BTW, I cannot turn and put my right arm over the seat and look behind me. I can't lift my arm that way.

ANSWER: You need to find a place that is on private property.  You do not need a license to operate a vehicle on private property.  Then practice until you can get r done.

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QUESTION: But, is there something you are supposed to do with the mirrors in order to back up? I am terrible at backing up any significant distance (like our 200' long driveway).
Also,  for either test, in order to practice I need to know how far apart to place the cones.

I do not know of any requirement to lower the right outside mirror to parallel park.  Even in this day and age not all cars and trucks have mirrors that can be moved without getting out of the vehicle moving them by hand.  If you have to back up for an appreciable distance, focus on an object in the rear view mirror and maintain its position as you back thus staying straight while backing.

Go to any area that has parking zones painted on the roadway and measure how far they are apart.

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Mark Winter


Traffic collision reconstructionist with 19 years of traffic collision investigation experience as an LAPD officer. I can answer questions about traffic collisions with vehicles, motorcycles, pedistrians, bicycles, and commercial vehicles. Especially cases of low speed collisions and injury potential. I can answer questions about the vehicle code (specific for Ca and in general for other states) but I am not a driving instructor nor a vehicle mechanic. You need to talk to someone else about these issues.


19 years traffic collision investigations. 17 years as traffic collision reconstructionist for the city of Los Angeles and outside consultation. Court qualified in criminal and civil cases. ACTAR #519.

Accredidation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstructionists Southwest Association of Technical Accident Investigators
Society Of Accident Reconstructionists
Society of Automotive Engineers
California Association of Accident Reconstruction Specialists

B.S. in Psychology Western Illinois University (math amjor-physics minor first two years), Now attending Chaffey college taking Calculus 3 and Chemistry working for Engineering degree

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