What Does It Take To Get A Driver’s License?

Driving a car is a privilege, not a right, which means you must pass a state-mandated test in order to receive your driver’s license. Actually, two tests is more like it: a written or oral test demonstrating your understanding of various signs, laws, and procedures as well as a road test.

driverRequirements for obtaining a driver’s license vary from state to state, but generally most states require that the following steps be taken.


Most states require you to be a citizen of that state or a legal resident in order to obtain a driver’s license.

You must be of a certain minimum age, have correctable vision, and be responsible enough to handle driving a car.

Learner’s Permit

Some states allow drivers to obtain a learner’s permit before getting their driver’s license. With a permit, young or new drivers can drive a car only with a licensed driver present. Restrictions and requirements vary from state to state, but usually mean that the leaner can only drive during certain times of the day (such as daylight hours) and must have a permit for a specific length of time before being eligible to take their road test.

Permits are often given following a written test; some states shorten the learning time if new drivers complete a certified driver’s education course.

Practice and Study

Drivers are expected to spend ample time practicing their driving skills in advance of taking their road test.

Practicing parallel parking, hand signals, stopping and starting, driving under various road conditions and learning the laws, procedures, alcohol limits and signs as outlined in the driver’s handbook are critical steps to successfully prepare for solo driving.

Road Test

On the day of taking your road test, arrive at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office with all of the necessary paperwork in hand including your permit, insurance, your adult escort’s driver’s license as well as other required documentation. Be prepared to pay whatever fees are assessed and carefully follow the DMV officer’s instructions as you get behind the wheel to take your road test.

Stay calm, stay focused. Put into practice everything you have learned over the past several months as you drive. Listen, act and obey as your DMV officer instructs you through each part of your examination.

Did you pass? If so, congratulations – you’re now a licensed driver. If you failed your test, cheer up: lots of people need to take their test again. Give yourself some time to pull everything together, returning to the DMV when you’re ready to try again. And don’t be too hard on yourself — a USA Today article outlined had difficult driving tests have become.

See AlsoAAA: 100 Deadliest Days of Teen Driving Begins

Photo Credit: Rita Mezzela

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