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.
What do I need for the driving test?
After passing your knowledge test, you should make an appointment to take the driving test at a driver licensing office. When you take your test, you must:
- provide a vehicle in good working condition (meaning functioning brakes, brake lights, turn signals, seat belts, and windshield wipers).
- present proof of liability insurance.
What should I expect when taking the driving test?
The driving test measures your ability to drive legally and safely. An examiner from the Department of Licensing 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 will not try to confuse you, trick you, or ask you to do anything that is illegal. Your driving will be scored during the entire test.
Who is in the car during the driving test?
Only you, the examiner, and a service animal (if necessary) are allowed in the vehicle during a driving test. Occasionally, a Department of Licensing supervisor may ride along to observe. Interpreters, parents, children, or pets cannot be in the vehicle during a test.
What will I be required to do during the driving test?
Along with evaluating how well you drive in normal traffic, the examiner will also ask you to perform certain maneuvers.
You will be evaluated on the following:
- 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?
You will be asked to perform the following:
- Arms signals for right turn, left turn, and slow or stop. You may 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
What happens at the end of the driving test?
At the end of the test, your examiner will give you a score sheet and discuss the results. There are 100 points, and you must score at least 80 to pass.
What happens if I don’t pass the driving test?
If you don’t pass the driving test:
- The first time, you can take the test again after 1 week.
- The second time, you can take the test again after 1-3 weeks, depending on your test results.
- The third time, you can take the test again after 3 months.
If you don’t pass the driving test after 3 tries, you must wait 3 months before you can take the test again. You will then be allowed to take the test up to 3 more times. It’s a good idea to practice and improve your driving skills while you’re waiting for your next chance to take the test.