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DL extract to ON G license - complete experience

Discussion in 'Settlement Issues' started by subodhp, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. I will describe my experience starting from getting my DL extract to transfer my international driving experience credits to my full G test in ON. Hopefully this will help others who are in similar boat.

    Before arrival in Canada :

    DL extract
    I applied for DL extract online from Indian RTO that issued my license. Initially I had applied online but it looks like process would not have varied a lot if I had just showed up at RTO. Reached RTO office with photos, original license & printed application. After being redirected few times, reached an official who asked me to wait for an hour. This may have been a bribe ask but I pretended lack of urgency and just waited. After sometime, I got my DL extract printed, no questions asked.

    Few things to review in extract :
    a. official letterhead, real stamp, real signature : many DriveTest seem to be rejecting extracts if they are missing this info
    b. DL particulars like name, date of issue/expiry should match license : duh
    c. date when extract is issued : you need to appear for your first G1 knowledge test within 6 months of this date

    Overall, the process was smoother than I expected it to be and given that this one page document allows one to apply for driving test without waiting/restrictions is a big deal. Hence I strongly recommend this for anyone hoping to drive in Canada regularly.

    After arrival in Canada :

    Prep for G1 test
    I procrastinated first few months for my G1 test since I had others fishes to fry, but when I started I realised it was way simpler and I should have done it earlier to get my driving appointment faster (more on that later). Everything you will be asked in test is present in https://www.ontario.ca/document/official-mto-drivers-handbook. No exceptions. The complete handbook is probably 4-5 hours of reading. Many rules are specific and folks from other states/countries would not know them. And yes, some of the rules are just rote memorisation for ex. how much distance to keep from a stopped streetcar or how many demerit points for a certain violation. There are proboably two ways of going about this preparation.

    For folks who want instant gratification, just skim through the handbook and give practice tests in 'G1 Genius' app until you feel like you can scrape through G1 test. There are no limits on how many times and how often you can give G1 test (although it costs each time).

    But given you are going to wage your life on this, the right approach is to spend those 4-5 hours on handbook, remember to take down notes for things you feel you might forget before the test (ex. distances and violations). Then use 'G1 Genius' app to see what kind of areas you need to improve upon or why you missed that info in handbook. Unfortunately, some of the questions in G1 test (especially the non-signs section) tend to be confusing to throw off folks. So take care to read the question well. For ex. question may ask you about 'school bus zone' trying to confuse you into answering as if it is asked for a school bus that is stopped (former implies slow down, latter implies full stop until bus starts moving).

    Give G1 test
    When you feel you are done with your prep AND before 6 months elapse since your extract issue date, just turn up any nearby DriveTest centre. If you took down notes, now would be a good time to revisit those. Most DriveTest centres will usually be free on weekday mornings. Just turn up at opening time with all needed documents. I was second in line when I reached five minutes before opening time. By opening time, line had 8-10 folks. However once we entered exam centre, that line vanished because they had 20 odd multiple terminals to give exams at. After lining up at help center, you will then wait/go to a counter where clerk will note down your details, validate your extract/US license and process your photograph, address and payment details. If you need corrective lenses, you will be tested for that. US licenses are retained by DriveTest since you are effectively swapping it for a Canadian license (and not giving a driving test), other international licenses are not retained since you are transferring the driving experience credits (but still giving a driving test). Exam terminals open about half an hour after centre opening time so you have enough time to grab a coffee in between.

    Exam terminal is essentially an ipad with test program running on it. You either enter your responses on touch screen or fill it on a paper. Few tips for exam :
    1. Take your time, there is no hurry/time limit. Some questions can be kept for later but you cannot go back to an answered question. So if you are unsure, just skip them for later.
    2. Test has 2 sections for general knowledge and road signs with 20 questions each, you need 16 correct in each section to pass.
    3. Read and understand your question well. As I said, make sure the question is not a trick/confusing question.
    4. For questions that your are unclear, try to think logically/correlate with associated info that you know. One may not need to memorize all the violations/demerit points to realise that there is a clear trend. For ex. not stopping for police, train, school bus are some of the most serious offenses wrt demerit points, next come not following road signs, next come right of way related. Similarly, things like DUI, drugs are a different level altogether and lead to automatic suspension with possible jail time and hefty penalty. More so in the case of G1 or G2 license.
    5. One key info that I was unaware of but helps a lot is knowing that after each response, device will indicate whether it was correct/not (& correct answer). Use that info to remind yourselves how much leeway you are left with.

    Once done with the test, if your failed you can get back in line immediately. Or if you passed, you can leave the centre with your temporary license (printed on paper) and a beaming smile.

    (had to truncate message due to limits, completing rest of the experience in replies below)
     
  2. (had to truncate message due to limits, completing rest of the experience)

    G2/G appointments
    Very important : if you would rather get to G2/G test as quickly as possible, ask the person who gave you your G1 right away for booking you their first appointment available. Usually urban centres have a month or more of waiting.
    If you would rather wait to get an appt, remember that when filling info online, you need to wait a day atleast and provide expiry date which is FIVE YEARS (and one day less) from your issue date for G1. For ex. for 01-Jan-2019 issue date, enter your expiry date as 31-Dec-2023. The temporary license that you get in center has only 3 months of expiry and that is because it is just meant to be a stop gap till your real G1 license comes in mail.

    G2 vs G test
    As part of your international driving experience credit transfer, you get to give a G2 or G road test directly and without mandatory waiting period of 1 year that otherwise you would be subjected to. G2 is all about driving within city roads and G is about driving on highways as well. If you need to commute to work, you could manage with G2 (& steer clear of highways). If you need to go from city A to city B, you would need G. A G driving test differs from G2 because it includes highway run & hence twice as high speeds.

    If you have good driving experience, I would recommend giving G directly. Dont underestimate it though, you would still need to practice a lot and give test drives before you can hope to get a G. If you fail G, you can only give G2 next time (& G afterwards). In my case I felt I had lots of experience driving on highways (even in Canada) and hence I opted for full G.

    On the other hand, if your driving is sketchy at best or if you get scared when driving at 100kmph next to a trailer on highways, better give G2. If you give G2 first and pass, you can still give G next time. There is extra money involved in giving G2 and G but it is better to have a G2 license than to wait for few more months with lowered confidence after a failed try.

    Prep for G test
    Even if you are an experienced driver, there is no guarantee that you would pass test easily. If anything, with experience one tends to skip over rules that may not be so important in real life but do matter in driving test for ex. checking your blind spots every 10 seconds. Hence, plan to prepare for this well in advance. All the info that you will be tested in your driving test is present in https://www.ontario.ca/document/official-mto-drivers-handbook/level-two-road-test . Many folks like to go the drive school way since they can brush up these fundamentals easily. However do realise that other than convenience/ interesting anecdotes on 'easy' examiner, they can only be a human guide to info that is already present in handbook. I opted to do it myself after doing some online research and based on my own conviction.

    For the centre of your choice, typically there are known routes and marking criteria published online. Go through them to ensure you include those in your practice runs. Familiarise yourself with different traffic zones in general vicinity of DriveTest. Even though routes are usually published, each examiner make their own variations and hence driving in vicinity is a good way to be prepared for various traffic zones that you would go through in your test (For G2, skip highway zone) :
    1. school zone : drive as per posted sign or 40, be diligent on checking for stop signs, pedestrians and cross traffic. School buses are rare but possible based on your appt time.
    2. highway zone : drive as per posted sign or 80, using entry/exit lanes only to bring up or down your speed, expect to make multiple lane change while keeping speed constant. This is probably one zone where examiner is worried most since a mistake can be serious and hence you will notice them extra alert. Check for blind spots EVERY 8-10 seconds.
    3. residential zone : same as school zone, except drive as per posted sign or 50. This zone would also be used to test your emergency stop & three point turn.
    4. commercial zone : drive as per posted sign or 50. This zone would also be used to test your traffic lights etiquette, changing lanes, turns, hidden stop signs, roundabouts, left turn lane. Not all of them will be tested and usually it will depend on centre location & routes.

    This is what my drill used to be :
    1. Drive upto the same DriveTest centre where I had scheduled my driving test
    2. Bring along a friend to catch my improvement areas. A friend really helps you with things you do subsconsciously that matter in test, for ex. I was reminded that I let go of steering wheels when stopped at a traffic light or use only one hand during turns.
    3. Follow the practice run doing variations of your own to get good coverage of vicnity and your skills.
    4. Use the same class of car (midweight sedan) in each try and test so that differences are minimal.
    5. Turn off/not use all driver assistance including cruise control, lane assist, rear view/side view cameras.
    6. I could see my confidence and expertise improve with every passing iteration, I probably did 12-15 such practice runs over 4 days.
    7. During practice run, pretend as if it is an exam, dont speak a lot and just follow directions. This helps a lot in conditioning your body and mental state for test.

    Familiarise yourselves with skills that would be needed for your G test (skip higway ones for G2). I am jsut giving an outline, refer to handbook for all the info :
    1. reverse parallel parking : one key difference is you are doing this on a sidelane with cones instead of cars and fence instead of real curb. With cones, you dont have the same reference as you do with cars, hence practice helps a lot. Each person has their own technique, what helped me was to trust my own instict and vision than instructional videos. In real test, you can pull out twice if things are not going right. Parking far off from curb is as bad as getting on curb. Both lead to immediate fail.
    2. emergency stop : check back mirror, right indicator, come close to curb while slowing down. Cancel turn, put hazard and park. If you see another vehicle doing emergency stop, switch lanes or use opposite lane partly to maintain distance.
    3. three point turn : give indicator in each segment (left, right, left), check all your blind spots and dont get on curb
    4. roundabout : left indicator and yield when entering, cancel turn, slow down if needed but dont stop in roundabout, right indicator just after you crossed penultimate exit, cancel turn and resume speed
    5. traffic light : slow down while checking rear mirror, check
    6. stop : stop before line, stop for 3 mississippis, yank your neck left-right-left. leave in the order you entered stop intersection i.e. dont be over-courteous in letting other folks who came after you leave first
    7. slowing down : before slowing down for any reason, always check mirror to ensure gap is good. slowing down is not preferred/good in cases of dedicated turn lane/exit ramp since those lanes are meant for that. Although if you see traffic in front, you must slow down to leave 3 seconds of gap.
    8. turn : give indicator only after you have crossed penultimate intersection/turn. check blind spots for bikers and pedestrians. follow the shape of curb i.e. right angle or curved. follow dotted lines to cut into bike lane. however dont turn your wheels until the path is clear (especialy for unprotected left and pedestrians)
    9. gap : leave 3 seconds of gap when driving (especially when changing lanes), when stopped, leave enough gap so that you can see the tyre of vehicle in front and ground beneath it. if your examiner is shorter than you, keep some more gap. stay atlesat 1m away from bikers. if they are in front of you on single lane (unlikely for a drivetest route), continue following them.
    10. entry/exit ramp : speed up/down in these lanes to speed limits or ambient traffic speed. want to fail a test
    11. switching lanes : check side mirror, blind spot, give indicator, keep the indicator on until you are able to get in the lane. if you see a vehicle not yielding, let it go by while maintaining your speed. keep 3 seconds of gap when switching lanes in either direction. This is an easy thing to miss and be honked at during test and fail it.
    12. checking surrounding : perhaps no person has ever been told to check their blind spots and mirrors less in a test. you cannot overdo checking your blind spots/mirrors, do them every 8-10 seconds and definitely before/after any transition (turn/intersection/stop/lane change)
     
    nikhilh likes this.
  3. (had to truncate message due to limits, completing rest of the experience)

    Give G test
    • Show up well in advance (atleast 30 mins) of your slot, back up into reserved parking (so that you can just drive out for the test), note the parking number. Head to drivetest and checkin using kiosk (mention parking number here). Head back to car and wait inside. Unfortunately examiners do run late (15 mins in my case) especially later in the day.
    • You can take friend's car/rental car/driving school car, no problems or no documentation required. Examiner did not even ask about it or for any insurance document.
    • Examiner asks you to give left/right indicator, hazard, horn, brake light. Check these in advance, any of them not working will render your test cancelled.
    • My examiner was very well spoken and clearly explained the process, you are not allowed to converse with examiner during the test (how am I doing ? did I fail the test because of that ?). You can only seek clarification if examiner's command is unclear (what did you say ? did you mean this turn ?).
    • Once the test started, it was pretty much as per expectation, we did reverse park, school, residential, highway, commercial zones in that order.
    • Throughout the test, examiner kept giving commands ('now we will switch to one lane on your left and then come back to same lane' or 'we will turn right at next traffic light', 'we will take so and so exit'). When examiner is not saying anything, you are supposed to continue following the lane/road.
    • In some cases, examiner helped as well for example in one case a vehicle was not yielding and I canceled my turn signal, he suggested that I should not cancel my intent.
    • Actual route followed was subset of what i had practiced (but for one lane that we took in the end) so that helped me with my confidence but I was still surprised to see how much pressure gets built up due to the realisation that your license depends on this run. At one place I just overshot stop line by half a turn, something that had never happened in my practice runs !
    • I was doing this in heavy but moving traffic and given I was at 'driving test speeds' in many cases I had trouble getting yield from other vehicles. This resulted in switching lane back and forth just in time for highway exit and almost running out of entry ramp during highway entry. Since I have encountered such cases in real life, I was able to handle these without stress but i can imagine a new driver getting overwhelmed by these. See if you can practice during traffic times as well.
    • Regarding speeds, examiner was not counting pennies i.e. going slightly over limit is not a big deal if it happens for a brief moment. I say this not to encourage folks to do so but just to alleviate any concerns that often instead lead to drivers driving well below limit and being flagged for that.
    • In the end, i had to go inside centre to show my G1 license and get a temporary G license (printed on paper). Actual license wad delivered via mail in few days.
    In all it was a fun experience (in hindsight). It is definitely hard to imagine someone clearing this test without enough practice. If I have not said this already. please practice enough times and that would go a long way in helping you clear this exam. Best of luck !
     
    nikhilh, kanu and Aim high like this.
  4. Hi @subodhp,

    Thank you so much for your valuable inputs.Your post has cleared a lot of queries I had in my mind.

    Appreciate if you could advise me on this, I do have a license but I am not a regular driver. I am anyhow planning to get my license extract but are there any options to avail driving classes before giving the road test?
     
  5. Ofcourse, there are lots of driving schools offering a variety of packages. These range from brief revision courses for drivers looking to just brush off on skills tested to longer courses that introduce new drivers to all the concepts and practicals. Drivetest provides a list of schools that they recognize on their website and it is recommended to go through them.

    In addition to preparing you for your drive life and driving test, they also provide you vehicle to travel in to the test center and later for use in the test. You can contact them once you are here.

    Vehicle rentals alone are usually around 40$ hourly, driving courses can go high depending upon how comprehensive they are.
     
  6. Thank you so much God bless you!
     
  7. Good post, very detailed.

    I however had 2 weeks in hand so looked for a desi instructor in Brampton. Got one guys he gave me 5 classes and took me to another city in his car for the g test and I passed it in first attempt just 4 days before my flight back to India. So if someone needs an appointment early then get in touch with some Desi instructor and ask for early slot.
     
  8. I just got my DL extract from RTO in Pune. I am not sure if it will be accepted or not. It is printed on a plain paper. It has heading saying Motor Vehicle Department Government of Maharashtra, Deputy Regional Transport Office, Pimpri Chinchwad etc.

    It has all my details like name, DOB, Extract generated date, Address, Licence Issue and validity date.

    At the bottom it has a signature and stamp saying Deputy RTO, Pimpri Chinchwad, Pune.

    Does anyone have a picture of indian DL extract? How does it look like?
     
  9. hi, i am planning to go for my G1 with my extract at the mississauga Drive centre. I have a small worry, my DL extract and my license have my initials not expanded but my passport has. Would that be a cause for them to not accept?
     
  10. Could you provide me with the number
     
  11. Folks have reported mixed success, do update with what your experience was. Chances are likely that if it is just expansion of acronym, then they might accept it
     

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