To become a driver in Ontario, you must follow the province’s graduated licensing process, which involves three tests and three licensing levels. The process takes between 20 months and five years, depending on how motivated you are to move through the necessary steps.
The second step in the process is obtaining a G2 license. By qualifying for a G2, you’ll become eligible to drive independently – an exciting milestone for new drivers. With this newfound freedom comes a great deal of responsibility, which is why all drivers must pass a comprehensive road test to prove they can be trusted behind the wheel.
The following guide explores the process of earning a G2 license from start to finish, including:
- Who is eligible to get a G2 license;
- The benefits of driver education courses, and how to find an appropriate school;
- Detailed road test information including booking, preparing for, and taking your test;
- G2 license rules and restrictions, including penalties G2 drivers face for breaking the rules of the road; and
- Car insurance for new drivers.
If you’re interested in getting your G2, this guide has all the information you’ll need to take the next step in your licensing journey.
G2 LICENSE ELIGIBILITY
You can take the road test to qualify for a G2 license 12 months after successfully earning your G1.
If you have passed a Ministry of Transportation-approved driver education course, you are eligible to take the test earlier, after waiting only eight months.
Drivers with Expiring G1 Licenses
If you take your road test within a year before your license expires, you can pay a $75 licensing fee to extend your G2 license for 5 more years. For it to be valid, though, you must do this before your license expires.
In most cases, though, you cannot renew a novice level license, such as your G1 or G2. If your license expires, you’ll be expected to reapply as a new driver and pass all the required tests.
New Ontario Residents
If you are a new resident of Ontario with a driver’s license from another province or country, you can use that license for 60 days. After the 60-day period, you must get an Ontario license.
The level of license you’ll be granted depends on the amount of driving experience you can demonstrate. For example, if you have between 12 and 24 months of driving experience in the previous three years, you are eligible to take the road test to qualify for your G2 license without having to fulfill the 12-month waiting period.
In order to demonstrate more than 12 months of driving experience, you must provide written authentication of your foreign driving experience from your original licensing agency or your embassy, consulate or high commissioner’s office. The letter must be written in English or French, and must be presented on official letterhead.
Why Enroll in Driving School?
After successfully earning a G1 license, you can learn how to safely operate a vehicle by enrolling in a driver education course. Although it’s not mandatory, there are a few reasons taking a course is a good idea.
- You can get your G2 earlier. As mentioned above, you can take your road test and quality for a G2 license in eight months – rather than 12 months – if you’ve successfully completed a ministry-approved driver education course.
- You’ll get a break on your car insurance. Once you have a G2 license, you’ll be required to pay for car insurance if you have access to a vehicle, and as a new driver, you’ll face higher insurance premiums. Luckily, many insurers offer a discount if you complete an approved driver education course.
- You’ll be better prepared for your test. To earn your G2 license, you’ll need to pass a road test that evaluates your ability to drive your vehicle and execute a variety of maneuvers – such as parallel parking. Through the in-car portion of your driving school, you’ll learn the proper way to drive, change lanes, and park your car in a variety of situations, helping you prepare for your test.
Finding a Driving School
The most important part about researching a driving school is ensuring the course you select is approved by the Ministry of Transportation. You can visit the Ministry’s website to find a full list of government-approved driving schools. These courses will offer a minimum of 20 classroom hours, 10 in-car training hours and 10 flexible training hours.
The Ministry also provides a list of revoked driving schools that are no longer government-approved. Stay away from these courses since they won’t help you get your license earlier or lower your insurance rate.
When choosing a driving school, you might also want to consider these additional factors:
- How are the instructors qualified?
- How many years has the school been in business?
- Does the school have positive customer reviews?
- Do the instructors provide vehicles for in-car training?
- Will you be taught defensive driving techniques?
When you applied for your G1, you took a written knowledge test that evaluated your driving knowledge. To qualify for your G2, you’ll need to pass a road test that evaluates your ability to operate your vehicle, abide by the rules of the road, and engage in safe driving behaviour.
Booking the test
You can book your road test in one of three ways:
- Book your test online at https://drivetest.ca/book-a-road-test/,
- Call DriveTest Ontario, or
- Visit a DriveTest Centre in-person.
To book your test, you’ll need:
- Your driver’s license number,
- Your preferred time, date, and location for the test, and
- Money to pay the associated fee.
- G2 Test Tip: Try booking your test outside of rush hour if you’ll feel more comfortable with less cars on the road.
Preparing for the test
You have at least eight to 12 months to prepare for your test, but it can still be anxiety-provoking as you get closer to the big day. The better prepared you are, the better you’ll feel about being evaluated on your skills. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your road test:
- Ask your driving instructor for a mock test. If you’re enrolled in a driver education course, ask your instructor if you can use one of your lessons as a mock test. This provides you with valuable feedback before your formal exam.
- Review your driving handbook. If you haven’t looked at your driving handbook since you studied for your G1 Knowledge Test, review it before your road test and make sure you’re familiar with all the road signs, so you won’t be caught off guard on test day.
- Familiarize yourself with your vehicle. You’ll be required to provide your own vehicle for the test, so choose a car that you are comfortable driving. Make sure you know how to use all the features of your car, such as the emergency brakes, four-way signals and windshield wipers. Also, make sure you know how to adjust your seat and mirrors, so you can get comfortable for the test.
- Familiarize yourself with the roads around your testing centre. Your exam will take place on the city roads around your DriveTest centre, so make a point to practice in the area. This will give you a good idea of speed limits, stop signs, hills and other features of the roads you’ll be driving during your test.
- Practice maneuvers. You’ll be tested on a series of skills, so practicing a variety of maneuvers is necessary. This includes:
- Left and right turns,
- Lane changes,
- Parallel parking,
- Three-point turns,
- Parking on hills,
- Reverse parking, and
- Emergency stops.
- G2 Test Tip: Since you only have your G1 license, you’ll need another driver to accompany you to your exam. Ask your driving instructor if you can book them for a lesson before your exam to refresh your skills, and then have them bring you to the DriveTest centre.
Taking the test
It’s test day! You’ve done everything you can to prepare yourself for the test, now it’s time to show off your skills.
You’re required to bring your own vehicle, and it’s up to you to make sure it is in proper, working condition. This includes:
- A full tank of gas,
- Working headlights, brake lights and signals,
- A functioning horn,
- Properly inflated tires, and
- A clean, hazard-free interior.
For a full list of vehicle requirements, visit https://drivetest.ca/tests/road-tests-vehicle-requirements.html
You’ll also be required to bring your driver’s license and, if necessary, your prescription glasses or contact lenses.
Arrive for your test at least 30 minutes early to give yourself plenty of time to check-in. Make sure your phone is off or on silent, and out of your reach for the duration of the test.
You’ll be assigned an examiner who will ride in the passenger seat of your vehicle and evaluate your skills on standardized score sheet. They’ll take you on a predetermined route and ask you to perform a variety of maneuvers. There are no trick questions on the test – your instructor is not allowed to ask you to do anything unsafe or illegal.
- G2 Test Tip: Only follow instructions when it is safe and legal to do so. If you feel you are unable to safely perform a maneuver, such as changing lanes, tell your examiner why you are not following their instructions and wait for further direction.
How To Pass Your Road Test
What makes a difference between passing and failing the road test? Here are ten ways you can earn top marks on your exam:
- Check your mirrors: Your examiner will be looking closely to see if you’re checking your mirrors, so move your head slightly so they know exactly what you are doing. Check your mirrors every five to eight seconds, and whenever you want to speed up, slow down, turn left or right, change lanes, merge into traffic, stop at a sign or light, execute a three-point turn, reverse your car, and enter into an intersection.
- Check your blind spot: Look over your shoulder whenever you are checking your blind spot. You should be checking it whenever you are merging into traffic, pulling over to the side of the road, turning left or right, changing lanes, reversing the car, or performing a three-point turn.
- Observe the speed limit: Your examiner will expect you to observe the speed limit throughout your test. They won’t just be concerned if you’re driving too fast; driving too slow is also dangerous and signals that you are uncomfortable behind the wheel. Be aware of your surroundings so you know when a change in speed is required.
- Stop at yellow lights: Drivers often use a yellow light as a signal to speed up and hurry through an intersection, but that’s the wrong way to approach this scenario. When faced with a yellow light, you are expected to stop if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe – for example, if the driver behind you is coming up too fast – perform the proper checks, proceed through the intersection and advise your instructor why you made that decision.
- Stop fully at all stop signs: You are required to come to a full stop at all stop signs. To make sure you are doing this properly, wait until your vehicle is no longer moving, count to three, and then perform the proper checks and proceed through the intersection.
- Yield to pedestrians: You are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians who are in or approaching your path at crosswalks and crossings, meaning you must stop your vehicle and wait for them to completely cross the road before proceeding.
- Use your parking brake: You’ll likely be asked to park a few times during your test, and to properly complete this maneuver you’re expected to apply your parking brake. Don’t forget to remove the parking brake before you start moving again!
- Keep both hands on the wheel: It’s easy to get in the habit of driving with one hand, but you’re examiner will expect you to keep both hands on the wheel throughout the duration of your test. If you’re driving a manual car, you can take your hand off the wheel to shift gears, but should bring it back to the wheel immediately.
- Leave enough space between cars: Observe the three-second rule to make sure there is enough space between you and the car in front of you. When the driver ahead of you passes a fixed point, you should be able to count three seconds before you pass the same marker. If you pass it earlier, you’re probably following too closely.
- Don’t be afraid to correct yourself: If you’re halfway through reversing into a parking spot when you realize you don’t have enough room, stop, take a breath, and pull forward to correct yourself. This applies for all maneuvers – it’s better to correct yourself and properly complete your parking job than to do it incorrectly in one try.
After the test
When you’re finished the test, your examiner will stay in the car for a few minutes to review your score sheet and tell you whether you passed or failed. They’ll let you know what you did well, where you need improvement, and, if you failed, where you lost marks.
- If you pass your test: You’ll be given a temporary license to keep in your wallet until your photo card arrives in the mail.
- If you fail your test: You can make an appointment to take the test again, although you’ll need to wait 10 days before your next exam. You can take the test as many times as you need as long as your license is valid, but, unfortunately, you’re required to pay for each additional test. Keep your copy of your score sheet handy so you know exactly where you need some extra practice before your next test. You can even book an additional lesson with your driving instructor and ask them to focus on your areas of improvement.
G2 LICENSE RULES
G2 License Restrictions
There are two restrictions for all G2 license holders:
- Your blood-alcohol level must be zero, which means you cannot drive if you have been drinking any alcohol; and
- Each person in the vehicle must have a working seatbelt.
If you’re caught violating the restrictions to your G2, your license will be suspended for 30 days.
Additional License Restrictions for Drivers Aged 19 and Under
If you’re 19 years old or younger, you’ll have additional restrictions placed on your driving. In the first six months after receiving a G2 license, you’re are only allowed to carry one passenger aged 19 or under between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.
After six months with a G2 license, and until you obtain your full G license or turn 20, you can carry up to three passengers aged 19 or under between the same hours.
These restrictions do not apply if a fully-licensed driver is sitting in the front passenger seat, or if the passengers are members of your immediate family.
Breaking License Restrictions
If you’re caught violating the restrictions to your G2, your license will be suspended for 30 days.
In addition, you’ll receive escalating penalties for breaking graduated licensing rules. An escalating penalty refers to consequences that get subsequently harsher with each similar offense.
The escalating penalties for new drivers caught violating the restrictions of their license are:
- First offence: 30-day license suspension
- Second offence: 90-day license suspension
- Third offence: Loss of your license. You’ll be required to start your licensing processes from the beginning, including taking all tests, observing waiting periods and paying all fees.
Penalties for Traffic Offences
All drivers can receive demerit points when convicted of a traffic offence. Demerit points are issued for a variety of offences, ranging from two points for common offences, like failing to signal, to seven points for serious offences, like failing to stop when asked by a police officer.
New drivers face stricter penalties for demerit points than fully licensed drivers. For example, a new driver will be at risk for a license suspension after six demerit points, whereas a fully licensed driver won’t face the same penalty until they’ve earned nine points.
In addition, a G2 driver will face a 60-day license suspension after 9 demerit points, whereas G level drivers will only face a 30-day license suspension after receiving 15 points.
Demerit points stay on your record for two years, so it’s not hard to rack up the 9 points needed for a 60-day license suspension – all it would take is getting caught checking your cell phone three times over the span of two years.
Like with breaking G2 license restrictions, you will also be charged with escalating offences if you are convicted of a driving offence that results in four of more demerit points, or are subject to a court-ordered suspension for a driving offence that would have otherwise resulted in four or more demerit points.
The Government of Ontario provides a full list of driving offences that warrant demerit points so that you can fully understand the consequences of your behaviour behind the wheel.
CAR INSURANCE FOR G2 DRIVERS
Insurance requirements for new drivers
As a G2 driver, you’re required to purchase insurance if you buy your own car. In addition, if you live in a household that has a car, you are required to be added to its policy, since you’ll have access to the vehicle.
In Ontario, drivers are legally required to have four types of insurance coverage:
- Third-Party Liability Coverage protects you if you are in an accident where someone else is killed or injured, or has their property damaged;
- Statutory Accident Benefits Coverage provides you with benefits if you are injured in a collision;
- Direct Compensation – Property Damage Coverage covers damage to or loss of your vehicle and its contents; and
- Uninsured Automobile Coverage protects you if you or a family are injured or killed in a hit-and-run accident or a collision with an uninsured driver.
In addition to this mandatory coverage, you can buy additional insurance for added protection.
The Financial Services Commission of Ontario provides an in-depth guide to auto insurance.
How to find cheap car insurance?
When it’s time to shop for car insurance, look for the most comprehensive policy at the most affordable price. The best way to do this is to compare quotes between as many providers as possible, which you can do online. Many sites offer easy-to-use tools that compare multiple options, such as – http://insurancehero.ca/
Different insurers will offer different prices and policies, but keep in mind that the cheapest option might not be your best bet. When looking at each plan, consider the following:
- The price of coverage,
- The amount of coverage offered,
- The cost of the deductible (the amount you agree to pay if you make a claim),
- Liability limits,
- Bonus perks, such as accident forgiveness and disappearing deductibles, and
- Online reviews.
How to lower your insurance rate
As a new driver, you’ll be subjected to higher insurance premiums than experienced drivers, since data shows that inexperience behind the wheel leads to more accidents. Your insurance rates will be even higher if you are a young driver under the age of 25.
Luckily, there are many ways that you can lower your insurance rates as a G2 driver, such as:
- Enroll in driving school. As mentioned earlier, most insurance companies offer a discount for people who complete a driver education course.
- Capitalize on your good grades. Teen drivers with good grades could also qualify for an insurance discount. Talk to your provider to find out what marks you’ll need to lower your premium.
- Track your behaviour. Some insurers offer Usage-Based Insurance plans that include a lower premium if you’ll let them track your driving behaviour.
- Pay your premium upfront. You could save up to 9% on your premium by paying it all at once at the beginning of your term, rather than in monthly installments.
- Raise your deductible. Some insurance providers will offer a lower premium if you agree to pay a higher deductible when you make a claim. Only consider this option if you have enough money in the bank to cover your higher deductible if necessary.
- Install winter tires. Most insurance providers offer a winter tire discount, since using winter tires in the colder months helps prevent accidents.
- Update your security features. Investing in an anti-theft or vehicle recovery system decreases the chances that your car will need to be replaced after a theft. Your insurance provider might also provide a discount because of this lower level of risk.
- Drive carefully. Driving offences won’t just earn you a license suspension and demerit points, you’ll also be subject to higher insurance rates, since you’ll be considered a riskier driver.
Even with a G2, you are still considered a novice driver, which is why there are restrictions on your license. Twelve months after earning your G2, you’ll be eligible to take your final road test to qualify for your G license – the last step in the graduated licensing process. Upon earning your G license, all the restrictions will be lifted off your license (unless you are 21 years of age and under), and you’ll qualify for a cheaper insurance premium.
The graduated licensing process can seem tedious to drivers who are eager to get behind the wheel, but it was created because research shows it produces safer drivers. With patience, practice and a passing mark on your road test, you’ll be well on your way to driving independently and getting your full license.