Tips for Passing Driving Tests

It's almost time to get your driver's license and hit the open road—all by yourself! You're so close to total behind-the-wheel freedom that you can practically taste it, but there's one more thing you'll have to conquer before that first exhilarating solo drive: your driver's license exam. Want to make sure you're ready? Read on for tips on how to pass your driving test.

Before Your Test: Driving Test Tips to Help You Prepare

Planning ahead goes a long way when you're gearing up to pass your driving test! Long before you head to the DMV, here are a few driving test tips to set you up for success:

1. Practice makes perfect.

Most states require a set number of practice hours for minors to drive before they can take their driver's license test. In fact, some even have multiple types of licenses leading up to a "full" driver's license. This structure is called graduated driver licensing, and it places extra emphasis on driver education and road safety. Whether or not your state requires a driver's ed course, it's a good idea to take one to boost your confidence. Plus, taking a driver's ed course could help you qualify for a safe driving discount later—it's a win-win!

2. Familiarize yourself with specific maneuvers included in your state’s driving test.

Just because you can successfully drive down the road doesn't mean you've got everything you need to pass your driver's test! Review the specific components of your state's road test and spend extra time on maneuvers you don't feel comfortable with. Every state is different, but most driving test administrators keep an eye out for the following:


  • Turning
  • Parking
  • Parallel parking
  • General driving
  • Obeying traffic laws
  • Using turn signals
  • Checking traffic in all directions
  • Braking and accelerating smoothly
  • Stopping appropriately
  • Hand placement on the steering wheel
  • Wearing a seatbelt
  • Changing lanes
  • Other requirements as specified by state laws—consult your local DMV to be sure you've mastered every maneuver on the driving test.

3. Study your written material.

You may be tempted to skim the content for your written driver's exam haphazardly, but don't do it! Pick up a copy of your state's driver manual from your local DMV and study it. Look online for written practice tests and take as many as you can to familiarize yourself with the question format. Check out free resources like for state-specific study guides, practice questions, and preparation checklists.

4. Triple check that you have all the necessary documents to take your driver's test.

In the weeks leading up to your driving test, gather any documents you'll need to take with you (store them all in one folder for safe keeping!). Every state is different, but you'll almost certainly need your birth certificate and social security card. If your state requires new drivers to take a driver's ed course, get a copy of your certificate of completion or a verified document that proves you've met the requirement.

Things to Remember on Your Road Test

It's finally here—the day of your driving test! Get a good night's sleep before your test, and allow plenty of extra time to get to the DMV, so you're not stressed when you arrive for your appointment. Go over these tips on the day of your exam to avoid making some of the most common driving test mistakes!

Know what to expect.

Most states require a written exam and vision exam before your road test.

  • Written test: This portion of your test will cover state traffic laws and your general driving knowledge. If you don't pass your written driving exam, you'll have to try again at another time before you'll be issued a driver's license.
  • Vision test: Some states test prospective drivers for varying degrees of visual acuity and color-blindness. If you wear contacts or glasses, you'll be allowed to wear them during the eye exam.

Stay focused to avoid automatic fail errors on driving tests

Unfortunately, there are a few critical errors that lead to automatic fails on driving tests. As with other driving test requirements, these can vary by state, but in general, you'll want to avoid any of the following:

  • Not wearing your seatbelt: Make it a habit to buckle your belt before you crank the car so that it will feel like second nature on the day of your exam.
  • Driving distracted: Leave your cell phone behind, and don't touch the stereo during your test.
  • Crossing solid white lines on the road: There a variety of laws that make it illegal to cross a solid white line under certain circumstances. Instead of memorizing the specifics, just avoid doing it. Crossing solid white lines might lead to an automatic fail on your driving test.
  • Driving too fast or slow: Driving too slowly can create a safety hazard on the road, but you don't want to go over the posted speed limit.
  • Making rolling stops: Always come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign. Speaking of full stops, make sure you come to a stop behind the white line and not over it. (Reversing to get behind a stop line is almost always an automatic fail.)

What to Do After You Pass: Get Cheap Car Insurance for Teens

You did it! Now that you've passed your driving test and have your license, you'll need car insurance coverage. Direct Auto Insurance has affordable car insurance for teens and new drivers, so call, click, or come to a Direct Auto location near you today.

Tips for Passing Driving Tests