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How to take a drivers test at the DMV

Everyone has a DMV horror story, it is a place most of us will put off visiting until we absolutely have to. Unfriendly employees, long lines and a heavy dose of bureaucracy all lend to the institutional feel within the DMV walls. We want to help you you to accomplish all things DMV.

DMV series
They may not make it easy, but we do.

The following is just the first in a series of articles pertaining to DMV processes, including tips to make them easier and options you may not know you have.

Prepare for your DMV drivers test

The first tip the DMV gives in its list of ways to prepare for taking their drivers test is get enough practice. Should go without saying, but they say it anyway.

There is actually a whole page dedicated to preparing anyone for their drivers test, whether it’s your first time taking it, or your twenty fifth time.

We took the time to pull the pertinent information from the long text on the DMV page in order to give you our own abridged version. Short, through and to the point.

Who needs to take the DMV drivers test

If you meet any of the following requirements, you must take a drivers test to obtain a drivers license in the state of California.

1) Have never held a license in any state

2) Have a vision-related problem

3) Have a limited term license

4) Have a physical condition for which the DMV imposes restrictions.

5) Have an out-of-state junior, provisional or probationary license

6) Have been licensed out-of-state but do not have a license to surrender

Driving test itself

Young driver
Everyone takes the same test, whether you are 16 or 65. The test is designed to evaluate your mastery of basic rules of the road, maneuvers most use in daily life and defensive driving techniques.

However it should be noted that anyone demonstrating physical or mental conditions may require additional aspects designed to test their handicap specifically.

They will test for the following:

1) Starting the vehicle - Putting on seat belts, adjusting mirrors, general knowledge of controls.

2) Moving forward - Signaling, checking mirrors and blind spot, proper steering wheel control.

3) Stopping - Paying attention to traffic, properly respecting crosswalk boundaries, use of break pedal.

4) Turns - Slowing, correct lane choices, comprehension and use of right of way laws, ability to see and react to road hazards.

5) Backing - Checking mirrors and looking over right shoulder.

6) Changing lanes - Using signals, checking mirrors and blind spot while maintaining speed.

7) Driving on the freeway - Timing onramp entry to match flow of traffic, following lane changing procedures outlined above, signaling for off ramps and ability to adjust to road conditions and speeds.

8 ) Defensive driving techniques - Proper use of mirrors, general alertness and ability to adapt to constantly changing road conditions, in addition to keeping a safe distance from other vehicles on the road and paying heed to road signs and signals.

What you need to pass

1) Lots of practice - The whole point of the test is to evaluate the testers road skills, and determine if they are functional and prepared to operate a vehicle.

2) A vehicle - That is not only fully functional, but adheres to safety specifications and that is registered in full accordance with state law.

3) Car insurance - Don’t get on the road without it, period.

4) About 20 minutes of your complete attention and time - This does not include any time spend inside the DMV waiting in line. This is strictly the average road test time.

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