What do I need to do before I take my road test?

Once you have a learner permit, you must

  • obey the learner permit restrictions on where and when you may drive
  • complete a 5-hour Pre-licensing Course or a high school or college Driver Education Course
  • get an appropriate amount of supervised driving practice 1
  • if you are under age 18, you must wait at least six months from the date you received your learner permit to schedule your road test

What is the Pre-licensing Course and how do I find one?

It is a DMV-approved, standardized classroom course that provides the knowledge you will need as a new driver.  The course covers many important topics, including

  • driving within the highway transportation system
  • driver habits and skills
  • feelings, attitudes, and risk-taking
  • alcohol, other drugs, and driving

For how long will my Pre-licensing Course Certificate be valid?

Your Pre-licensing Course Certificate is valid for one year from the date it is issued.  A Driver Education Certificate is valid for two years. If your Pre-licensing Course Certificate expires, you must complete the course again to receive the certificate required to schedule a road test.

Your certificate must be valid on the date that you make your Road Test appointment but can be expired on the date you take your road test.

How much supervised practice driving must I get before I take my road test?

If you are under age 18, before you take your road test you must

  • have a minimum of 50 hours of supervised practice driving with
  • at least 15 hours at night (after sunset)
  • at least 10 hours in moderate to heavy traffic

What should I practice for my road test?

  • Steering:  Steer smoothly whether you are driving straight ahead, turning or backing up.
  • Acceleration:  Accelerate smoothly and moderately. Don’t race the engine or cause it to stall.
  • Braking:  Bring the vehicle to a stop gently. Start braking well before your stopping position to avoid abrupt stops. Make sure you stop your vehicle in the proper position of the lane.
  • Clutch/Gears:  Always be sure your vehicle is in the correct gear. With either an automatic or a manual transmission, shift into the proper gear at the right time without “grinding” the gears.
  • Speed:  Obey the posted speed limit, of course, but also adjust your speed properly due to weather, road, visibility and traffic conditions.
  • Following distance:  Keep an adequate space “cushion” between your vehicle and those you are following. Use the “two-second rule” described in the Driver’s Manual. Be sure to increase your following distance in poor weather or visibility.
  • Traffic signs, signals, and markings:  Know the meanings of signs, signals and pavement markings, and obey them consistently.
  • Stopping position:  If a stop is required, stop your vehicle before it reaches an intersecting street. If stop lines or crosswalks are present, stop before crossing them. If your view is blocked after stopping behind the crosswalk, move up until you can clearly see your way, then stop again if necessary.
  • Lane selection and position:  Keep your vehicle in the proper traffic lane, especially when preparing to make turns. Don’t allow room for another vehicle to pass you on the side that you are turning toward.
  • Communication: Let other drivers and pedestrians know which way you want to go. Use your directional signals or horn consistently and at the proper times.
  • Observation:  Look for and identify potential problems or hazards in the traffic around you – not just straight ahead, but behind you and on either side. Check your mirrors frequently, but be sure to look over your shoulder behind you when changing lanes or backing up.
  • Anticipate and react:  Anticipate possible driving errors by others and be ready to react safely to make up for their mistakes.