08/23/2012California Department of Motor Vehicles
I am very, very, VERY happy I took the advice from the aunt to take my road test in Davis. This is the place I am always going to recommend to new drivers who have ever felt confused and discouraged driving in areas with heavier traffic, like the Broadway DMV in Sacramento. Traffic is very mellow in Davis. If you schedule your test during the summer months (when college is not in session) and during the morning like I did, even better.The staff are quite friendly and pleasant, unlike a lot of the staff you might encounter at a DMV in a larger town. I was especially happy with the road test examiner I had. I felt like there couldn t be a more relaxed, easy-going person to observe my somewhat nervous driving. I didn t know I had to check in before my road test, and when he realized that I hadn t checked in, he didn t mind at all and actually helped me talk to the staff inside to correct this after the test.As for the route I had (route #1), it was nothing but simple maneuvers: left and right turns, stopping at stop signs, and lane changes. My test was 15 minutes and I felt like this is mostly what I was doing. Be aware that there are railroad tracks fairly close to the DMV, as well as a round-about. We ended the test by heading back to the DMV and parking in a very easy-to-park-in spot. Keep in mind that pulling into one of the DMV entrances (the one by the entrance for road tests) has a middle turning lane you must turn into first. If you are turning from the left-turn-only lane to get to the DMV, you will need to use this and make quick decisions. Cars coming from the oncoming lane use this middle lane as well, so it s important to time this well while using your signal. It s a situation I wasn t used to seeing in Sacramento, so when I practiced around there beforehand, I had to study it a bit and observe the cars driving into the DMV while I was parked across the street. For the record, during my test I did not need to go on the freeway (though it is very close to the DMV) and I did not need to parallel park. I did need to park on the side of a residential street along the curb and back up in a straight line. My line was not perfectly straight, but he said that was okay.Throughout the test, the examiner actually gave me little hints for what I should do ahead of time, like slow down up here, and even very straight-forward things like you have the right-of-way. Who would have thought a driving test would be this easy?Of course, speed limit is very important in a college/bike town like Davis, so THIS you must be careful with. However, I was actually marked down for going too slow at times (and making unnecessary stops at uncontrolled intersections), so be careful with that as well. There was only one thing that may bother some, which was the wait I had before my test. I later heard that there was only one examiner for the day because the other one was home sick. I did have to wait almost an hour and a half, but this may not be too bad considering there was only one examiner. The wonderful service definitely makes up for any waiting time. I could use that time to practice pointing out things like the wipers, headlights, brake, parking break, defroster, signals, and practice my arm signals. These were all things I was asked to identify.Also, the inside of the building has quite a nice, mellow stress-free atmosphere. I saw empty seats everywhere. Yes, this is a smaller DMV with less staff members, but it does seem to be the DMV to go to if you want to get in and out fast. Like another person said here, I kind of hate to let the secret get out and have the DMV become packed because of it.... but I had to give them my 5-star review after my experience.