What Do They Test During Behind-The-Wheel Driving Test in California?

Behind-The-Wheel Driving Test in California

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Earning your driver’s license in California opens doors to freedom and independence. However, before hitting the road solo, you’ll need to pass the behind-the-wheel driving test. Now one burning question that might come to your mind is ‘what they test you on during the driving test in California’?

Well, in this insightful post, we will provide all these details, so you can get ready for the California behind-the-wheel test.

What is Behind-The-Wheel Driving Test? 

Driving in Los Angeles

Behind-The-Wheel Test is a practical examination that assesses the ability of a driver to operate a vehicle safely. Conducted by a certified examiner, it evaluates essential driving skills such as turning, stopping, lane changes, parking, and obeying traffic signals.  

This test ensures that drivers can handle real-world driving situations and adhere to road safety laws. Passing this test is an important step in obtaining a driver’s license, reflecting a candidate’s readiness for independent driving.  

Thorough preparation and practice of various driving maneuvers can significantly improve the chances of passing this important test. You can also join a driving school, as the skilled and experienced instructors from the driving school will share some valuable tips on how you can pass the driving test. Click here to know the perks of joining a professional driving school. 

Behind-the-Wheel Test in California: Regulations of the Road 

The California behind-the-wheel test assesses your understanding of the traffic rules of the road and tests your skills in handling the vehicle. To get started, the DMV examiner takes you through the pre-drive checklist.

If you pass, it is on to test your vehicle handling skills, which include: –

  • Backing up 
  • Parking  
  • Visual-search skills  
  • Control of the vehicle 
  • Lane changes 
  • Respecting the right-of-way 
  • Left and right turns 
  • Parking lot driving 
  • Judging distances 
  • Degree of attentiveness 
  • Navigation of intersections 
  • Choosing the appropriate speed for the conditions 
  • Urban, business, residential, and rural driving  
  • Under certain circumstances, you may also have to demonstrate your ability to drive on a freeway or highway. 

Why It is Important to Take the California Behind-The-Wheel Test? 


You need to take the California DMV behind the wheel test if: –  

  • You have a vision-related problem. 
  • You have an out-of-state junior, provisional, or probationary driver’s license. 
  • You have never been licensed in California or any other state, or you hold a driver’s license from a foreign country. 
  • You have a limited-term driver’s license for specified physical and mental conditions. 
  • You were licensed out-of-state but do not have the driver’s license to surrender. 
  • You have a physical condition (except corrective lenses) for which the DMV imposes a restriction, or you have a restriction on your driver’s license and want it removed. 

In California, drive tests for driver’s license renewals or holders of out-of-state or U.S. territory driver’s licenses are usually waived, as long as the driver’s license is presented. However, the DMV may require a driving test at any time. 

How to Prepare Yourself for the Driving Test? 

Prepare Yourself for the Driving Test

The night before your California DMV behind the wheel test, make sure to conduct a pre-test inspection on your vehicle.  

  1. It is crucial to ensure that your vehicle is operating properly to avoid any issues during the test. 
  2. Any cracks in the windshield will result in an automatic rescheduling, so check for those. 
  3. Make sure your vehicle is in great shape and adjust your mirrors for maximum visibility. 
  4. Review all the requirements and details specific to California. 
  5. Your paperwork must be completed and accompanied by your permit, valid insurance, and registration details. 
  6. Once everything is ready, review all the necessary material, from road signs to hand signals and features of your vehicle. 
  7. On the day of your test, you can have a licensed driver accompany you. 
  8. After confirming your road test, paperwork, and vehicle requirements, it’s time for more practice.

In California, unlike some other states, you are allowed to practice in the area around the DMV where your behind-the-wheel test is scheduled.  

We strongly recommend doing so, as part of your road test will take place there. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the area. 

Behind the Wheel Driving Test- Vehicle Requirements  

In California, your vehicle must demonstrate the following vehicle and driver safety items within the pre-drive checklist. It is a good idea to check all of these before going to the testing center.

Here is what a vehicle needs to have before you go to the California behind the wheel drivers test: –

  • Current registration, insurance, and inspection sticker.
  • Key safety requirements: a working speedometer, horn, rearview mirror, seatbelts, and windshield wipers.
  • The driver and passenger doors must open from the inside and outside.
  • Working brake lights, turn signal lights in front and back, headlights, and taillights.
  • No service or warning lights should be illuminated on the dashboard.

Points Required to Pass California Behind the Wheel Drivers Test 

During the DMV behind-the-wheel test, you will be scored on over 200 points. In order to pass the driving test, you may only make 15 or fewer errors.  

However, if you make a serious driving error during the driving test you will be automatically disqualified. These critical errors include: –  

  • Disobeying a traffic sign or signal.  
  • Striking an object or curb with your vehicle 
  • Driving too fast or too slowly 
  • Disobeying safety personnel or emergency vehicles 
  • Executing a lane violation 
  • Performing a dangerous maneuver 
  • Improper use of auxiliary equipment 

Mistakes to Avoid during California DMV Behind the Wheel Test 

Here are some common mistakes individuals usually commit during the California behind the wheel drivers test: – 

  • Passing Traffic Lights  

If you are unfamiliar with the area, take the time to learn and understand the signs to avoid missing them. 

  • Not Maintaining the Speed Limit  

Going below the speed limit is just as problematic as going above it. Try to maintain a speed within a few MPH of the limit if possible. 

  • Not Checking the Blind Spot  

Always be mindful of your blind spots to avoid making this common error. 

  • Not Allowing Space for Emergency Vehicles  

Although difficult to practice, remain calm and respond appropriately if you encounter an emergency vehicle. 

These were only few of the mistakes which we highlighted, if you want to learn more about them, then click here to know about the  mistakes to avoid during the behind the wheels training in California. 

Final Verdict- What Do They Test During Behind-The-Wheel Driving Test in California 

If you are preparing for your behind-the-wheel drive test, the best way to get ready is by taking professional driving lessons from Click2Drive. The cost of driving lessons in LA has become affordable, click here to know about the driving lessons cost in Los Angeles

Moreover, it is important for you practice all the different maneuvers required during the test extensively. The better prepared you are before the test, the more likely you are to pass.  

Are you feeling nervous before your test? At Click2Drive, the best driving school in Los Angeles, California. We offer driving lessons throughout California. Also, check out this post on how Click2Drive made it to the best driving schools in Los Angeles, ca .

So, why wait? Book now and schedule one more lesson before heading to the DMV office! Contact us today if you have any questions or concerns regarding the California behind the wheel driver’s test. 

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