Your Drive Test What To Expect

Are You Prepared


Many people take their driving test when they have not sufficiently prepared, or have not practiced enough, or have not practiced the right way. Others get very nervous because they don't know what to expect. Remember, the DMV examiner will ride with you only to make sure that you can drive safely and obey traffic laws. They want you to pass, and you can expect to be treated with respect, fairness

On The Day Of Your Test

You should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Park where you can, remember students can not drive unattended.  You will need to check-in before moving your car to the test area. When you check in you will go to the appointment checkin-line.

Bring With You:

  • A licensed driver
  • Vehicle registration Current & Valid
  • Proof of Financial Responsibility "Proof of Insurance."
  • Student's Driving Permit, with 2nd page sign by their Parent, or Guardian 
  • Student's Certificate of Completion of Driver Training. Must complete 6 hours of behind-the-wheel driver training
  • A Test Vehicle that will pass the DMV Safety Inspection

The Vehicle You Use For Your Driving Test Must Be Safe To Drive, and pass a DMV Safety Inspection;

  • Two license plates. The rear plate must show current registration.
  • All lighting must work; High beam low beam head lights, rear tail lights. Front and back turn signal lights and working brake lights.
  • A working horn designed for the vehicle.
  • Tires with no bald spots.
  • Adequate brake pressure (you will be asked to step on the brake pedal to see if it works properly)
  • A driver’s side window that rolls down.
  • A windshield that allows a full unobstructed field of view for you and the examiner.
  • 2 rear view mirrors (1 must be on the outside, to the driver’s left, the second a rear view mirror can located inside to the right of the driver or on the right outside of the of the vehicle)
  • Driver and front passenger doors that open from both the inside and outside.
  • Any glovebox(s) need to be securely closed.
  • A passenger seat permanently attached to the vehicle.
  • Working safety belts, if the vehicle was manufactured with safety belts.
  • Working emergency/parking brake.

What Can I Expect During My Drive Test

After checking in, you will be asked to move your vehicle under the carport test area.  The Examiner will meet you there, starting the safety inspection, before the behind-the-wheel-drive-test. Make sure you know where the following items are on the test vehicle;

  • Fuel Gage
  • Speedometer
  • Odometer
  • Turn signals and lighting
  • Horn
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Emergency Flashers
  • Front and rear Defrosters
  • Shifter lever
  • Emergency Brake

You will also need to know your;

  • Arm signals
  • Which way you turn yours wheels when parking up or down on a hill. 

Remember The 6-S


  • Scanning 10 to 15 seconds ahead.
  • Every 2 to 5 seconds check your mirrors scan your gages.
  • Scan your intersections looking left, right, left, and check your review mirror.

2. Stopping

  • Anytime you use your brake, check your mirror 
  • make full complete stops behind all limit lines and/or crosswalks, if required to by either a stop sign, traffic light, or a pedestrian ready to cross or crossing at an intersection or crosswalk.  
  • Make sure you wait until the pedestrian gets all the way across the street before you cross.
  • This is only at an intersection where a pedestrian is crossing in front of your direction of travel.

3. Smoothness of Vehicle

  • Nice smooth starts and stops, easy on the gas and brake
  • 12 MPH turns from street to street

4. Signal, Mirror, Look Over The Shoulder, Go (SMOG)

  • Remember any left lane change into another lane, center left turn lane or left turn lane. you must SMOG.
  • Any right lane change, right lane change into a bicycle lane, or right turn whether into a driveway or at an intersection. You must SMOG 
  • Remember look over your shoulder, the same direction your turn signal is point towards. Right, right shoulder. Left, left shoulder.

4. Speed

  • Watch your Speed.  If the speed limit is 30mph, keep it round 27mph. If the speed limit is 25mph, keep it around 23mph.
  • Give yourself a cushion
  • You can drive 5mph below, don't drive over the speed limit

6. Space Cushions 

  • Remember for every 10 mph you travel, you want 1 car length.  25mph = 2.5 car lengths, 60mph = 6 car lengths.
  • remember don't linger along side cars. If you can't see them in their side mirror. They can't see you.
  • When stopping behind another vehicle, leave enough room for an exit. See the tires and a little roadway of the the vehicle in front of you.

Before Starting the Vehicle:

  • Adjust the mirrors, seat and steering wheel.
  • Fasten the safety belt.
  • Know where the operating controls are located.

Starting the Vehicle:

  • Vehicle is in “Park” or “Neutral”.
  • Foot is on the brake pedal.
  • Start the vehicle smoothly.

Moving Forward:

  • Release emergency brake
  • Signal.
  • Look over your shoulder.  Check your mirrors, before moving into traffic.


  • Signal and slow for turns.
  • Begin and end turns in the correct lane.
  • Yield the right-of-way, when necessary.
  • Accept the legal right-of-way when safe.
  • See and react to hazards.


  • Before moving, survey your surroundings for possible obstacles.
  • Check the mirrors and look quickly to the side while backing.
  • Look over your right shoulder when backing.

Changing Lanes:

  • Signal.
  • Check the mirrors.
  • Check over your shoulder.
  • Change lanes safely.

Driving On The Freeway:

  • Check the traffic flow.
  • Time your entry onto the freeway.
  • Check the mirrors and over your shoulder when accelerating into a gap in traffic.
  • Signal early and slow to the posted speed on the exit ramp.
  • Adjust your speed to the road conditions.

Defensive Driving Techniques:

  • Check the mirrors frequently and before braking.
  • Check the cross streets before entering an intersection.
  • Check the signal lights and signs.
  • Keep your eyes “moving” (watch the sides and middle of the road).
  • Allow plenty of room around the vehicle.
  • Follow at a safe distance.

If You Have Any Further Questions Call Rob At 805.434.1444

Helpful Links

Parent-Teen Training Guide

Click Here

California Driver Handbook

Click Here

How To Prepare For Your Driving Test

Click Here