How To Prepare For The DMV Test For Your Driving License


What is the DMV’s On The Road Practical Driving Test?

Practical DMV testing is your driving test and the final step in the process to get your driver’s licence. The local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or whatever it is called in your state, administers the test. Some people fear it. However, it doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking if you are properly prepared. You will be accompanied by a road-test examiner who will accompany you on the road to assess your driving skills and determine if you are ready to drive. You are granted your driver’s license if you pass the test. While the requirements and rules for each state may differ, there are commonalities.

Test requirements

You must comply with these requirements before you can take the test. While the list may not be identical in every state, they are the most common.

  • You must be at minimum 16 years of age and meet all state requirements to become a driver.
  • You have successfully completed the graduated driver’s licensing program in your state
  • Be in possession of an instruction/learner’s permit
  • A licensed driver must accompany you (beyond 21 years old).
  • Your vehicle must pass your road test and be roadworthy.

You are not permitted to drive to the appointment without a seatbelt. You will not be permitted to take the test, and you will be banned from driving for several months.

Road-Test Tips: What are the Examiner’s Looking For? How Do They Score the Practical Test?

You will need the applicable driver’s manual for your state. This guide will give you all the information you need to pass your driving test. You will need to complete certain tasks and perform actions in order to pass the driving test. While some mistakes can cost you a few points, others could result in you being failed. For example, if you make three or more mistakes on the pre-drive checklist and fifteen on your driving test, you might be deemed a failure. If you make one major error, you will be deemed a failure. You must prove that you can safely and confidently operate a vehicle according to the laws in your state. The examiner will test you on driving skills such as lane changing, turning three times, merging onto the highway, using hand signals and parallel parking (reverse-angled parking between traffic cones).

What are the Critical Errors on the Driving Test?

You won’t be failing your driving test if you have a few minor mistakes like jerky driving or patchy signaling. Certain critical mistakes in your driving test can result in an automatic fail. Major faults include driving that is illegal or dangerous, exceeding the speed limit, failing at a stop sign, red traffic light or fails to stop, causing an incident, not yielding for pedestrians or any other activity that may require the examiner to intervene in order to prevent an accident. Anything that is dangerous behind the wheel is a sure sign of failure.

Top Driving Test Mistakes

It is important to avoid the most common mistakes in driving tests, such as:

  • Stopping. Stopping. You can avoid making inadvertent stops (also known as rolling stops).
  • Four-way stops. For at least two seconds, stop straight behind the line and watch which vehicle is ahead of you. Wait for your turn, and then move on when you feel safe.
  • Steering-wheel control. Use both hands to control the steering wheel.
  • Distractions. Distractions. Only focus on driving.
  • Change lanes. You must do this properly by first looking, then signaling, then checking the mirrors, then looking at your mirrors, then looking physically for vehicles in your blind spot and then changing lanes. Turn your head to make your observations clear to the examiner. Do not cross any lines or change lanes at an intersection.
  • Speed. Speed is important. The examiner will immediately disqualify you if your speed exceeds the limit. You could also be dangerous if you drive too slowly. You should adjust your speed to match the road conditions. Just follow the flow. Slow down if necessary to adjust for hazards or conditions.
  • Merging. You might be taken onto a highway by the examiner. If so, use the onramp to accelerate to the speed required to join the freeway. Never stop at the end. Signal for a gap and then join the highway at the speed you are comfortable with.
  • Braking. Braking. Only emergency stops or requests for emergency stops are allowed to use harsh braking.
  • Following distance. Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. Two seconds is the minimum. However, a few cars lengths is best so you can respond if they brake or swerve.
  • Roadworthiness of your vehicle. Vehicle roadworthiness. Your vehicle must have a valid registration and proof that it is insured. All safety equipment, including seatbelts and wipers, should be working properly. There should also be no cracks in your windshield. You should store any loose items. To ensure clear visibility, the windows must be kept clean.

How to prepare for the On-The Road DMV Test

It is a good idea to practice your driving skills before you go on the road. Talk to the instructors about your questions and concerns. They are always available to answer them. You have to drive more hours than you do driving. Experience counts. Remember that you must always have a licensed driver with you. You will be able to confidently perform all basic skills such as signalling, turning, stopping and backing up. Before the test, review the manual for all road signs. You should prepare your vehicle for the test and make sure it is simple to drive. Ideal vehicles would include a small sedan like the Nissan Sentra or a small SUV or crossover, such as the Kia Seltos.


These guidelines will help you prepare for your driving test. While it is important to feel confident, you should also be cautious. You don’t have to make a few mistakes that cost you a second chance. You will be able to relax on the day of your test if you put in the effort and time necessary to prepare. Passing your driving test will be easy if you can prove that you are safe and responsible.


What happens if my practical DMV exam fails for my driving licence?

You will have to retake the test if you fail to pass it. Ask your examiner for assistance. He/she will go through the test and point out any mistakes so that you can make corrections at the next appointment. Do not be discouraged. Not everyone passes the first time.

What is the DMV practical driving exam?

It takes usually no more than twenty minutes depending on traffic and your DMV. Every examiner is different so make sure you have enough time to pay attention.

Can I use a backup cam during my driving test

It all depends on the state. Massachusetts is an example. Check your local driving laws, or ask your driving school instructor or DMV.

How long can my unrestricted driving permit be valid?

It varies from one state to the next. In some states, you may need to renew your driving licence every four years. However, in other states, it might only be required every eight. There may be different rules for certain age groups in each state.

Updated 01/18/22