How to prepare for the DMV practice driving test: Tips

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is in charge of different procedures related to the driving of vehicles, its rules, laws, traffic signs, and issuing U.S. citizens their driver’s license. To obtain this license, two tests must be taken: the DMV writing driving test and the DMV practice driving test.

How to prepare for the DMV practice driving test: Tips

In order to apply for the test, the driver must first present documents to prove that his or her vehicle is insured, as well as comply with a series of requirements.

What documents do I have to present for the DMV practice driving test?

As mentioned above, before taking the DMV practice driving test, it is necessary to present a series of documents that corroborate that the vehicle is ready to be driven, without violating any traffic regulations of the state in which you are driving, like California, for example. Here, you can see all the details of the DMV in California.

If the driver cannot prove that the vehicle is properly insured, the appointment for the driving test will be postponed until the vehicle is ready to be driven. The documentation to be presented by the driver is as follows:

  • Risk insurance card, showing the name of the insurance company, effective dates of coverage and the file number.
  • Certificate of the liability insurance policy number or, failing that, the surety bond number.
  • DMV cash deposit receipt or certificate of self-insurance.
  • Current copy of an insurance policy document signed by an insurance company advisor, or a copy of the insurance document.
  • Written certification from the insurance company indicating the name of the insured person.
  • Contract of rented vehicle in the name of the driver.

FACT: If the driver rents a vehicle to take the test, the contract must not explain that it is excluded for the test.

Vehicle requirements for the DMV practice driving test

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, in addition to the documents that must be presented before the driving test, the driver must demonstrate that his or her vehicle is fit for use. For this, the vehicle must meet a series of requirements, which are the following:

  • Have two license plates: front and rear. The rear one must be an updated license plate.
  • Correct operation of the brakes and directional lights (rear and front).
  • Tires must not be worn.
  • Correct brake pressure (to corroborate this, the examiner will ask the driver to press the brake pedal).
  • Correct operation of seat belts and emergency/parking brake.
  • Two rear-view mirrors.
  • Clean windshield with an unobstructed viewing angle on both the driver’s and passenger’s side.
  • Good operation of the driver’s window.
  • Proper opening (from inside and outside) of driver’s and passenger’s door.
  • Adequate and properly functioning horn.
  • Passenger seat permanently installed in the vehicle.
  • Glove compartment door closed properly.

What should I do during the DMV practice driving test?

When taking the DMV practice driving test, the examiner will ride with the driver to verify that he or she is driving safely and following the road laws. What the examiner will ask you, will be some basic maneuvers when driving a vehicle, such as, for example:

  • Turning right and left.
  • Stopping at intersections with or without traffic signals.
  • Backing up in a straight line.
  • Lane changes.
  • Driving on city streets.
  • Driving on freeways (if necessary).

How to prepare for the DMV practice driving test: Tips

Who should take the DMV practice driving test?

Persons who must take the test without exception are as follows:

  • If they have never held a license.
  • If they have a license from another country.
  • If they have vision problems.
  • People with specific physical and mental limitations.
  • If they have a physical restriction and request one to be removed.
  • If they have probationary or provisional youth licenses from another state.
  • If they possess licenses from another state, but do not have them with them.

IMPORTANT: Despite the above, the DMV may require this test at any time.

Tips for a passing DMV practice driving test

  • Practice enough. Before the test, those under the age of 18 must practice 50 hours (40 hours during the day, and 10 hours at night).
  • Practice with someone who has your valid license, so they can correct you correctly and point out errors. If, at the time of the test, the examiner finds errors in your driving, he/she will let you know and you may not be able to pass the test.
  • Practice driving habits (steering, accelerating and braking) patiently and smoothly.
  • Check the sides before crossing.
  • Make sure the windows are in place and have good visibility.
  • Use the proper gear for each road, obeying speed limits.
  • Maintain a speed commensurate with weather conditions.
  • Turn on your lights when necessary.
  • Avoid grinding gears and drive in neutral before braking.
  • Maintain a three-second distance from the other vehicle.
  • Study every traffic sign and signal.
  • Drive in the proper lane.
  • Use your turn signal when changing lanes or turning.
  • Be aware of possible hazards to which you may be exposed.
  • Check your mirrors frequently, and look over your shoulder.
  • Drive defensively.
  • Study the driving manual for each state.
  • Watch instructional videos of the movements you will perform on the test.
    How to prepare for the DMV practice driving test: Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the DMV practice driving test?

The DMV practice driving test will take place after you finish the DMV writing driving test, and lasts 20 minutes.

Can I get a license if I am under 18?

Yes, you can take the exam if you are under 18, as long as you have passed your driver training and you have studied all the driving laws and what we mentioned in this article.