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  • Writer's pictureBedford Driver

Nova Scotia Road Tests And Routes

Updated: 7 days ago

On this page we'll take a look at Access Nova Scotia's road test areas and routes. The routes themselves will always change depending on the day and or examiner but these are the most common ones. On test day it's important to make sure that you have your vehicle permit, insurance card, driving school certificate, and beginner’s permit. Make sure that all of the lights on your vehicle are working and the M.V.I. is valid. It’s completely normal to be nervous for the test but remember that if you've put in the work and have practiced as much as possible, you'll be in a much better position to pass. Practicing will increase your confidence and help you be more chill for your test.

All of the information in this post has been confirmed by the examiners at Access Nova Scotia.

It's better to practice acing your road test, because then you'll be less concerned about passing it. Aim for the stars you'll land on the moon. Remember that the examiner's job is to make sure that you're a safe driver. They don’t want you to get your fulls and then possibly hurt yourself or someone else while driving. It is a little awkward to have a stranger in the car with you but trust me they usually don’t bite :)

Dartmouth road test feedback.
Dartmouth road test feedback.

Road Tests

The examiners won't always take you on the highway and they'll mix the routes up here and there. The key to passing your test is being familiar with the area that you're testing in. Some driving schools will hide road test areas and routes from students until test day like they're some kind of forbidden secret but that makes absolutely no sense because all of these areas have certain things that could confuse any driver such as lane lines not being painted, or vehicles parked in your lane, and traffic signs that have been missing for years. If your test area is being treated as a closely guarded secret then you are being set up for failure. There's no justification for hiding the test routes and it's one of the main reasons why road tests in Nova Scotia have been back logged for the past couple of years.

If you don’t want to wait months for a road test, call Access NS at 1-902-424-5200 option 1-2-1 as often as possible to check for cancellations. The representatives pick up right away most times which is quite impressive compared to other call centres, and they're friendly too. You'll get a cancellation at some point. One time I needed to book a road test and the earliest I could find when I called was 2 months out. I called Access back ten minutes later and got a road test the next week.

You must yield to funeral processions and hearses when their blue lights are flashing, the same way you would for an emergency vehicle. This situation actually happened to a student on their test and they failed for not yielding to a funeral procession. Always yield to any vehicle with red or blue flashing lights.

Funeral Hearse
Funeral Hearse

Hand Over Hand Steering

On the test you'll have to do hand over hand steering. It can be confusing at first but once you master it you'll never want to steer any other way. It adds a lot more flow to your driving and makes steering much easier.

Hand Over Hand Steering

For the best steering control, hold the wheel from the outside with your thumbs resting on the wheel. This is how you have to hold the steering wheel on the test.

Steering wheel
Rest your thumbs on the outside of the steering wheel.


Students often get confused about when to shoulder check at stops. Despite what many other schools are teaching, you don't have to shoulder check before you stop at a red light or stop sign. This is because you may end up sitting there for a long time waiting for cars to clear, and in that time a pedestrian could walk up into your blind spot without you noticing. A shoulder check is always the very last thing you do before turning or making a lane change. I find that it helps to break these stopped turns down into a step by step procedure. First you stop. Then you look for cars. Once it looks safe, you shoulder and then turn. You're basically setting everything up and then double checking yourself before accelerating for the turn, that way if a pedestrian was in your blind spot you'll catch it.

How To Drive In Downtown Halifax

School Zones

The school zone speed limit is not active if there are no children OUTSIDE in the area. Make sure to check for children while driving through school zones. Some students will actually talk out loud while driving through the zone saying something like: "not seeing any children" so that the examiner knows for sure that they're checking for them. Many experienced drivers think that they have to slow down only during school hours or when the children are in school. That's completely false. If you're in a 50 km/hr zone and there are children OUTSIDE in the area, then you slow down to 30 km/hr and if you're in a 60 km/hr zone or faster, you slow down to 50 km/hr. If you drive as if the school zone speed limit is active when there are no children outside you will lose points, unless the situation calls for it.

The school zone law confuses so many drivers that a lawyer had to write a blog to clarify it.

It's literally this simple.

"When children are present" is defined as outside anywhere in the school zone area."

The Most Critical Parts Of Your Road Test

Anything that's critical on the test is going to start with the letter S.

  • Shoulder Checks – shoulder check anytime you signal, turn, or change lanes.

  • Speed Control – Try to be at the speed limit or slightly under. When in a neighborhood, do the safest speed for each area that you're in. If you go over the speed limit by 1 or 2 km/hr on a test it's not an automatic fail. Every driver goes over the limit here.

  • Signal Lights – Use them when required but don’t signal if there’s no reason to. If you're unsure of whether you should signal or not, just go ahead and signal.

  • Stops – Make sure to stop gradually and completely before a stop sign. If you're at an all-way stop and you stopped first, don’t stay and stare at the other cars approaching the intersection as they also have to stop. When it's your turn to go, you go.

  • Scanning Intersections – Before entering an intersection be sure to check for hazards by looking left and right. I see people run red lights all the time so this is a lot like shoulder checks in the sense that checking for what’s around you will save your life or someone else’s at some point.

Intersections And Left Hand Turns

The Sackville Road Test

Access Nova Scotia's Lower Sackville Test Route

Access Nova Scotia's Lower Sackville Test Route (Another Version)

To reverse park at Access in Lower Sackville, line up your passenger side door lock with the 3rd line from the spot you want to park in if you're driving an average size car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. There's a parking section further down on this page that explains this in more detail.

Access Lower Sackville
Access Lower Sackville

When you're reversing and looking back through the rear windshield, line up the middle headrest of your car with the "reserved" sign. Stop every time when you need to look around or make an adjustment, then continue backing up gradually while looking back. You'll lose points if you're looking anywhere other than back while moving back because that's how people get run over.

When leaving the driveway of Access at the beginning of your test, pull up to the left side of the driveway as you exit so that you won't catch the curb when turning right.

Access Sackville Driveway
Access Sackville Driveway

If they take you down Glendale Drive/Ave then you'll likely be exiting onto the Highway 102 area. Make sure that you slow down gradually as you approach exit lane because you may have to yield to vehicles that are turning left from at the intersection. One of my students went into this exit lane too fast and didn't bother to yield to the vehicles that had the right of way. When I hit the second brake pedal to prevent a collision we got rear ended by the S.U.V. that was following too closely behind us. Take your time there's no rush.

After exiting Glendale Ave into the highway area make sure that you gradually accelerate to 100 km/hr! If you go into this area at a speed slower than 90 km/hr you will lose points. One of my students was going to ace their test but lost 5 points for going 80 km/hr here.

Highway 102 Acceleration Lane
Highway 102 Acceleration Lane

When you get to the Highway 102/101 interchange you should be at 60 km/hr as you enter. There is a recommended speed sign there that says 45 km/hr but that sign was installed in 1948. You would never go 45 km/hr in a highway area. Go through here around 55-60 km/hr.

If the examiner tells you to exit right from the interchange onto Sackville Drive, note that the speed limit changes from 70 km/hr to 50 km/hr around the corner.

The right lane only exits as you approach Sackville Drive her and the traffic sign that is supposed to indicate this has been missing for years. Remember what I was saying previously about the importance of being familiar with any area that you test or drive in around Halifax? It's essential.

Lower Sackville
Right lane only exits to Cobequid Rd so go into the left lane.

If the examiner has you merge onto Highway 101 from the interchange, remember that the speed limit is 70km/hr until you get to the 100 km/hr zone at the overpass.

When exiting Highway 101 at the Beaverbank Connector, don't brake on the highway. Wait until you are in the exit lane then gradually slow down to 50 km/hr for the ramp.

The Beaverbank Connector speed limit is 70 km/hr and you only have to yield if there is a vehicle in the left lane directly beside you trying to change to the lane that you're in.

Dartmouth Road Test

Many new drivers are failing their road tests in Dartmouth because the lane lines are not painted at the intersection of Mount Hope Av and Baker Drive. They can't see which lane they're in and it's a double left turning lane. That's what happened to this student. I literally get cut off in this intersection by licensed/experienced drivers here every time I make a video here. If this happens to you make sure you file a complaint with Access Nova Scotia by phoning this number so that they can take action to get this fixed.

1-902-424-5200 option 1-2-1

A Compilation Of Me Getting Cut-Off At Mount Hope Av And Baker Drive

Access Nova Scotia’s Dartmouth Road Test Route

Access Dartmouth Parking Lot

If you're driving an average size car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, move forward one and a half spaces ahead of the parking space that you intend to park in. Then cut the steering wheel as far as it will go to the right side and hold it there. Reverse slowly and take your time.

Access Dartmouth Parking Lot.
Access Dartmouth Parking Lot.


I plan to make a proper road test video for the Bridgewater route once I get a chance but here are a couple that I put together using dash cam clips from a couple of lessons I did in the area. It's a pretty simple place to do a road test.

Access Nova Scotia Bridgewater Road Test Route – Part 1

Access Nova Scotia Bridgewater Road Test Route – Part 2

Bridgewater Access Parking Lot

Stellarton Route

I plan to take a road trip down to Stellarton at some point and make a video of this test route. This route is not complicated.

Turn left out of Access onto Lawrence Blvd