A Complete Guide to Passing the California Driving Test

For first-timers, the California Driver’s Performance Evaluation can be a frightening practical test. Keeping track of everything required to guarantee your own and other people’s safety on the road is very stressful. But don’t be concerned! Everything you require to succeed has been compiled by us to pass the California Driving Test.

How to Pass the California Driving Test

What is the DMV driving test in California?

Before receiving a license, California drivers must pass a 20-minute practical driving test known as the DPE (or Driver’s Performance Evaluation). You will drive on the road and demonstrate various safe driving techniques for your examiner during the exam.

The goal of the road test is to ensure that you are capable of practicing safe driving in practical circumstances. It also enables you to show that any physical impairments, such as poor vision or a lost limb, do not impair your capacity to drive safely.

What distinguishes the DPE, SDPE, and ADPE Driving Examinations?

Everyone must pass the DPE (Driver’s Performance Examination) to receive their license for the first time. This is the test you can anticipate taking unless you have a medical condition that could make driving dangerous.

The SDPE (Supplemental Driver’s Performance Evaluation), which has additional requirements, is given to people with physical, mental, or other disabilities that could impair their ability to drive normally. You might be evaluated on your capacity to operate a vehicle while talking on the phone, for instance. Your examiner might also ask you to arrive at a destination on your own or without assistance.

Though similar to the SDPE, the ADPE is only applicable in a few locations. Only the areas in which you were tested are covered by the driver’s license that was issued. This enables you to travel with restricted mobility while commuting to work, getting around your neighborhood, or performing other tasks for which you might not need a full license.

Getting Through the California Driving Test

The DPE incorporates the knowledge from the California Driver’s Handbook into the practical test. The test lasts about twenty minutes and covers common behaviors that drivers can anticipate, including:

  • turning around
  • stopping at intersections with or without control
  • switching lanes
  • driving through routine traffic (if relevant, also driving on the freeway)
  • backing up obliquely

Make sure you carefully read and review your manual! Useful study tools like our California summarized handbook and practice exams are also at your disposal.

Additionally, you ought to be familiar with the general layout of your car. Locate the car’s key components, including the headlights, defroster, parking brake, and windshield wipers.

Then what if I’m under 18?

For the road test, you must meet additional requirements if you are under the age of 18. You will require:

  • To spend at least six months practicing driving.
  • Six hours of driving instruction with a certified driving instructor.
  • 50 hours of driving instruction. There must be ten of those hours at night. You must provide proof that you practiced under the supervision of an adult who is 25 years old or older and has their own license.

Checklist for California’s Road Test

You must have your own vehicle and proof of insurance for that vehicle that names you as the insured driver in order to complete the California DPE. Your road test will need to be rescheduled if the vehicle is deemed to be unsafe to operate (you can find the full pre-driving checklist here).

It had to have

  • One registration plate out of two license plates.
  • brake lights and turn signals that work.
  • a functional horn.
  • tires with at least 1/32 tread depth and no bald spots.
  • Brakes (you will be asked to step on the brake pedal to see if it works properly) (you will be asked to step on the brake pedal to see if it works properly).
  • a roll-down driver’s side window.
  • a windshield that gives the examiner and you a completely clear field of vision.
  • two mirrors for the rearview. Outside the car, one must be on the left.
  • Both the driver’s door and the front passenger door open from the inside.
  • a glove box that is tightly closed.
  • a passenger seat that is anchored to the car permanently.
  • functioning seatbelts.
  • working parking/emergency brake.

In order to use a rental car for the driver’s test, you must have the appropriate documentation and have it insured in your name.

Do I have to retake the road test?

The California driving test is typically only required when someone first applies for a license. Nevertheless, the DMV reserves the right to require a retest if:

  • You neglect to renew your license on time
  • You had a revoked or suspended license.
  • You hold a foreign driving license.
  • You have issues with your vision.
  • Due to your disability, you have a limited-time driver’s license.
  • You are not in possession of your driver’s license.
  • You hold a junior, provisional, or trial license issued by a non-state jurisdiction.