Who needs to pass a driving test
To get a Washington State driver license, most drivers must pass a driving test. If you have a valid driver license from another state, you don’t have to take a driving test unless your medical or physical condition has changed and you need to be retested to see if you can safely operate a motor vehicle.
Before you take your test
Before you can take a driving test, you must:
- Apply for a driver license.
Because your scores can’t be entered until we’ve created a record for you, you can’t take your knowledge or driving test until you’ve applied with the Department of Licensing for a driver license or instruction permit. To apply:
- Pass the knowledge test at any testing location (unless you have a waiver from your driving school).
- Make an appointment at a testing location to take your driving test.
If you take your tests at a driver training school, please check with them for their testing fees. You’ll need to pay the $35 application fee and $45 licensing fee to the Department of Licensing in addition to the testing fees you pay the school.
What to bring to your driving test
You must provide all of the following:
- Proof you have auto liability insurance (insurance card, fax copy, or computer printout). Acceptable proof of insurance must include:
- The name of the policyholder and/or a description of the vehicle (year, make/model, or “fleet”).
- The effective and expiration dates of the insurance coverage.
- A vehicle in good working condition. All of the following must be working properly:
- Brakes and all 3 brake lights
- Turn signals
- Seat belts
- Passenger door (must open and close from inside and outside)
- Driver door window (must roll down far enough to allow you to use hand signals)
- Mirrors (outside left and inside rearview, or outside left and outside right)
- Windshield wipers, headlights, and defrosters (if weather requires)
You won’t be allowed to take the driving test if you don’t bring proof of insurance or the vehicle doesn’t meet all these requirements.
What to expect
The driving test measures your ability to drive legally and safely. An examiner will ride with you to evaluate your driving to see that you maintain control of your car and obey the rules of the road. The examiner won’t try to confuse you, trick you, or ask you to do anything illegal. Your driving will be scored during the entire test.
Who can be in the car during the test
Only you, the examiner, and a service animal (if necessary) are allowed in the vehicle during a driving test. Occasionally, a supervisor may ride along to observe. Interpreters, parents, children, or pets can’t be in the vehicle during a test.
What you’ll be required to do during the test
During your driving test, you’ll be evaluated on:
- Starting your vehicle
- Leaving the curb
- Do you signal and wait until it is safe to re-enter traffic?
- Controlling the vehicle
- Do you use the gas pedal, brake, steering wheel, and other controls correctly?
- Do you change your speed to suit the number and speed of other vehicles, pedestrians, road conditions, weather conditions, construction, amount of light, and the distance you can see ahead?
- Driving in traffic
- Do you use the proper lane?
- Do you signal to change lanes?
- Do you change lanes carefully?
- Do you follow other vehicles at a safe distance?
- Do you turn your head and look back before changing lanes?
- Do you signal the proper distance before turning?
- Obeying traffic signals and signs
- Do you turn into the proper lane without cutting the lane or going wide into the improper lane?
- Driving through blind or crowded intersections
- Do you scan carefully for signs, signals, pedestrians, and other vehicles?
- Do you yield and take the right-of-way correctly?
- Do you stop smoothly and at the right spot?
- Can you stop quickly and safely in an emergency?
- Backing up
- Do you look over your right shoulder?
- Can you back in a straight line?
- Do you have complete control of your car?
- Judging distance
- Do you stay a safe distance away from other cars when following or passing?
- Do you stay a safe distance away from people walking or riding on the roadway?
- Respecting the rights of others
- Are you courteous to other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists?
- Do you pay full attention to the driving task?
- Performing specific maneuvers
- Can you successfully complete all of the following?
- Arms signals for right turn, left turn, and slow or stop. (You may also use arm signals during the test if you desire.)
- A brake reaction test/emergency stop.
- Parking on a hill.
- Parallel parking.
- Simulating backing out of driveway or alley into traffic using a corner
After the test
At the end of the driving test, your examiner will give you a score sheet and discuss the results.
- There are 100 points possible. You must score at least 80 to pass.
- If you don’t pass the test, check with your testing location to find out when you can take it again. It’s a good idea to practice your driving skills while you’re waiting for your next test.