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California Driver's Permit, Drivers Education, Lessons, Tests

6. California Licensing & Registration

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7. The Driving Test

During the behind-the-wheel driving test, no one except the examiner may accompany you and there may be no animals in the vehicle.

For the behind-the-wheel driving test, your vehicle must be in proper working order, which includes having functional:

  • rear-view mirrors
  • front and back turn signals
  • brake lights
  • tires with adequate tread
  • foot brake that doesn’t touch the floorboard
  • horn
  • emergency/parking brake
  • driver side window that rolls down
  • an unobstructed windshield
  • functioning and unaltered seat belts
  • glove box that securely closes
  • passenger door that can be opened from inside and outside

Before you do the driving portion of your test, you will be asked to locate the:

  • windshield wiper control
  • defroster
  • hazard lights
  • headlight switch

In addition, your vehicle must have a rear license plate with current year and month registration stickers. You must also be able to show proof of financial responsibility for the vehicle through your insurance.

The behind-the-wheel driving test will assess your understanding of the rules of the road and skill handling the vehicle, and will address:

  • navigating through and stop intersections
  • arm signal
  • control of the vehicle
  • parking lot driving
  • backing up
  • choosing the appropriate speed for conditions
  • judging distances
  • respecting right-of-way
  • your degree of attentiveness
  • your visual-search skills
  • business/urban and residential/rural driving
  • lane changes
  • left and right turns
  • under certain circumstances, you may also have to demonstrate your ability to drive on a freeway or highway

Over 200 items are scored on the driving test. You may only make 15 or fewer errors to pass the test.

If you make a serious driving error on the driving test, you will be automatically disqualified. These errors include:

  • performing an unsafe maneuver for which the examiner has to intervene
  • striking an object or curb with your vehicle
  • disobeying a traffic sign or signal
  • disobeying safety personnel or vehicles
  • performing a dangerous maneuver
  • driving too fast or too slowly
  • improper use of auxiliary equipment (such as windshield wipers or headlights)
  • executing a lane violation

If you fail the driving test three times, your instruction permit will no longer be valid, and you will have to pay a new license application fee in order to take the driving test again.

The best way to prepare for the test is to take a driver training course and extensively practice the different maneuvers required on the test.

If you are applying for a provisional license, you must wait 6 months from the date you obtain your instruction permit before you may take the driving test, unless you turn 18 before the end of this 6-month period.

Provisional license applicants who fail the driving test are required to wait 2 weeks before being eligible for a retest. The purpose of this waiting period is to encourage applicants to gain additional behind-the-wheel practice.

Lesson Summary


Lesson 6 Quiz

You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

  1. Which of the following is NOT on the permit test:


  2. The "PROVISIONS" of your provisional license include the following, EXCEPT:


  3. You will be listed as a "Negligent Operator" if you get:


  4. The best way to prepare for the drive test is to:


  5. If you have trouble reading, even if in English, you may take an audio permit test:



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