Tips on Passing Your Practical Driving Test

Written by ariel waters
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Tips on Passing Your Practical Driving Test
Get plenty of practice driving. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Knowing what to expect of a practical driving test can mean the difference between receiving your license and failing the exam. It is important to get enough practice, bring a safe and street legal vehicle and avoid making simple mistakes. Different states have different requirements for students taking the practical driving exam. Check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to make sure you meet the requirements before scheduling your driving test.

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You cannot prepare for your practical driving test without spending a good amount of time behind the wheel of a car. Many states require students to have a certain amount of hours of practical experience driving with their permit before they can take the licensing test. For example, California requires at least six hours of professional driving lessons and 50 hours with an adult 25 years old or older. You must have a licensed adult with you at all times and you cannot practice driving alone.


Most states require you to provide a vehicle for your test. In New Jersey, you must bring a registered and insured vehicle with you to your licensing exam. The driving instructor must be able to reach the emergency brake and it must function properly.

California also requires you to bring a suitable vehicle, which the instructor will examine before beginning your practical test. The car must have two number plates, a working horn, indicators, brake lights, a glove compartment that remains closed during the test and a working emergency brake.


After inspecting the vehicle, your instructor will make sure you understand the features of your vehicle and how to use them. Before you begin taking your driving test in California, the instructor will expect you to know how to adjust your mirrors to minimise your blind spots and know how to locate all the indicators and controls. Also, you must remember to put your seat belt on before starting the car.


Instructors will deduct points from your total score if you make certain mistakes. Other errors, however, could result in immediate failure. Obey all the posted speed limits, even on a closed course. You should not go too fast, but you also should not go too slow. If you are taking your test on local roads, maintain a safe following distance and do not tailgate the car in front of you. Always come to a complete stop at stop signs and, if you can stop safely, come to a stop at all traffic lights that turn amber.

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