How to Pass Your Driving Test in 2022

There are two parts of a driving test that you must pass before obtaining a license: a written test and a road test. Learning to pass your driving test means finding a balance between these two critical tasks.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 16, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • You must pass two driving test portions before you receive your driver’s license
  • 44% of people fail the driving test because they didn’t pass the written portion
  • Driving too slow and too fast are some of the most common ways to fail your driving test automatically

Would you like to learn how to pass your driving test? Some driving tasks may be more challenging than others to master. Whether it’s your first time taking the driving test or you’re retaking it, we can provide you with the information you need to pass your driving test and receive a driver’s license.

If you want to succeed in your upcoming driving test, read this article to learn everything you need to know to pass with flying colors.

Learn How to Pass Your Driving Test

The Department of Motor Vehicles — also known as the DMV — ensures that new drivers fully understand traffic laws and have good driving skills. The DMV’s test consists of a written test and a road test. These will vary by state.

According to CBS News, 44% of aspiring drivers don’t receive a passing score on the written driving test the first time. the best way to pass that test is to take as many practice tests as you can before you go. There are many such tests available online.

While the written test is generally the same for most new drivers in any given state, your road test varies based on the location of your test.

Most new drivers must perform specific everyday driving tasks to successfully earn their driver’s license. Some of those tasks may include:

  • Proper signaling and lane changing
  • Parallel parking
  • A three-point turn (also known as a Y turn or K turn)
  • Reversing a vehicle

Mastering these essential driving skills can increase your chances of passing and prepare you for when you start driving.

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Top Four Driving Test Tips for New Drivers

When it comes to driving, practice makes perfect. However, your driving instructor isn’t looking for perfection. You will receive points based on how well you can complete specific driving tasks, and points get deducted based on your inability to complete particular tasks according to the standards.

Some driving skills are more important to focus on than others, and if you want to increase your likelihood of passing the exam, there are driving secrets that can help simplify the process.

1 — Adjust your car seat for an optimal drive. Before you begin the driving test, ensure you are comfortable with your vehicle and make adjustments for a better drive. For example, your driving instructor may ask you to check your blind spot, but it can be hard to get a good view if your seat is too far back.

This minor factor could result in a failing test or a car accident. Get familiar with how your vehicle works, where the levers are to elevate and recline your seat, and how to adjust yourself to get an optimal view of the road.

2 — Keep both hands on the steering wheel. To remember proper hand placements while driving, try to imagine the steering wheel as a clock. You should place one hand on the steering wheel at 9 o’clock and the other in the 3 o’clock position.

3 — Familiarize yourself with the area. Practicing near the DMV beforehand can give you a glimpse of your route on the test day. You can also learn about speed limits, traffic lights, and more to increase your comfort level.

4 — Exaggerate your head movement during mirror checks. Your driving instructor will be watching carefully to ensure you perform a thorough mirror check during your driving test. You can exaggerate your head movement slightly when checking mirrors to ensure they see you.

The guidelines for how often you need to scan your mirrors typically vary by your driving instructor and location. However, they will check to ensure you’re paying attention to your vehicle’s mirrors and what’s ahead.

Your Driving Test Checklist

Passing your driving test is not only about how well you can drive or answering questions about traffic laws. It is also about how well you can read signs and follow directions.

Before you begin your driving test, you must provide a series of qualifications and paperwork. Failure to follow these instructions may result in a failed or rescheduled test.

  • Bring your learner’s permit. Most states require proof of a learner’s permit before you can apply for a driver’s license.
  • Get plenty of behind-the-wheel training. Every state has different requirements for how many hours of behind-the-wheel training you need before receiving a license.
  • Complete a drug/alcohol safe driver’s program. Some states require new drivers to complete a course explaining the dangers of driving under the influence.
  • Ensure your vehicle meets DMV requirements. The Department of Motor Vehicles will inform you of the vehicle qualifications you must meet before your driving test begins. If it doesn’t meet the standards, you can’t take the test.

Remembering to fulfill these crucial tasks before the test can increase your chances of passing the driving test.

What if I fail the driving test?

If you took the driving test and passed, congratulations. However, if you did not pass your driving test, you are not alone. More than half of aspiring drivers fail the road test when taking it for the first time. Using practice tests on the DMV website can increase your chances of passing the written portion. 

Anything can happen when you’re on the road. Since each state conducts its driving tests differently, the success rate of the driving portion can be tricky to predict. 

StateFailure Percentage
Alabama55% fail rate
Alaska50% fail rate
Arizona60% fail rate
Arkansas46.6% fail rate
California55% fail rate
Colorado31.8% fail rate
Connecticut30% fail rate
Florida58.1% fail rate
Idaho35% fail rate
Illinois55% fail rate
Iowa20% fail rate
Kentucky30% fail rate
Maine35% fail rate
Maryland52.7% fail rate
Massachusetts20% fail rate
Minnesota46% fail rate
Mississippi60% fail rate
Missouri61.4% fail rate
Nebraska50% fail rate
Nevada41.6% fail rate
New Hampshire25% fail rate
New Mexico20% fail rate
New York22.5% fail rate
Oregon46% fail rate
Pennsylvania55% fail rate
Tennessee50% fail rate
Utah Open book written test
Vermont30% fail rate
Washington50% fail rate
Wisconsin28.3% fail rate
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Don’t automatically assume that you won’t pass the test since the failure rate is high in your state.

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What are the most common automatic fails on driving tests?

Learning from your mistakes is one thing, but you can also learn from the mistakes of others to get better at driving. When taking your driving test, be mindful of common errors that typically result in an automatic failure.

  • Driving too slow. Typically, most states expect you to abide by the posted speed limit.
  • Driving too fast. You may receive an automatic fail if you show your driving instructor that you cannot abide by the speed limit.
  • Distracted driving. The road requires your undivided attention while driving.

Don’t fall into these common first-time driving pitfalls, and you’ll be on your way to a passing score.

The Bottom Line: How can you pass your driving test?

The freedom to drive where and when you want is approaching sooner than you think. It is possible to pass your driving test the first time, but it will require a lot of practicing and studying.

While the most challenging part for most individuals is the written test, some tests stop before they can begin because paperwork is missing or the DMV’s requirements have not been met.

If you follow this guide, there’s a chance you can pass your driving test.

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