Regular Driving Test:
The behind-the-wheel driving test given by the California DMV is called a Driving Performance Evaluation (DPE). This is the most common driving test for non-commercial (class C) license. It is given to first time driver license applicants. An adult driver takes the same type of driving test as a teenage driver. The purpose of a regular driving test is to determine whether you:
- have the ability to operate a vehicle safely,
- exhibit safe driving habits,
- can apply traffic law knowledge in actual practice, and
- can compensate for any physical condition such as loss of a limb, hearing, or a vision condition
The driving test is divided into two parts:
and whether you are familiar with the operation of your vehicle. To pass a test, you must have no more than
3 errors in this part.
- 1.The Road Test portion is where you are on the road having your driving skills evaluated. It will last about 20 minutes. The test consists of basic maneuvers that you will encounter while driving such as: left and right turns, stops at controlled and uncontrolled intersections, straight line backing, lane changes, driving in regular street traffic, and in some cases, driving on the freeway. To pass this part, you must have no more than 15 errors. However, you’re not allowed to make critical driving errors.
Referral Driving Test (Special Driving Test):
The Referral Driving test is divided into two parts:
- 1. Supplemental Driving Performance Evaluation (SPDE). A driving test that has additional test elements and is given to applicants who have a physical and/or mental condition, or a vision condition
- 2.Area Driving Performance Evaluation (ADPE). This driving test requires you to drive in only specified areas. The test route is determined by the streets and roads you would take to get from your home to a specific location such as to a grocery or departmental store, your doctor’s office, bank, church, golf course, etc., and then back home again. When you pass the SPDE driving test and meet all other requirements for licensing, you will be issued a restricted license. This restriction limits your driving to specified destinations only and does not allow any freeway driving.
The Referral Driving Test includes all the features of a Regular Driving Test (Pre-Drive Safety Check and the Road Test), and also includes additional test elements designed to evaluated your cognitive function (memory, awareness, and perception) and ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
The additional test elements are:
- Multiple instructions – You are given two instructions at one time to see whether you can understand and properly follow both directions. For example, “Changes lanes to the left and at the next street, make a left turn.”
- Additional lane changes – The examiner will evaluate your performance when making lane changes.
- Concentration – The examiner will converse with you at certain times during the driving test. You must be able to respond briefly without making any driving errors.
- Freeway or highway driving – The examiner will ask you to merge into freeway traffic and drive a short distance on the freeway. If you do not drive on freeways and have no intention of ever driving on freeways, the examiner can add a restriction to your license that prohibits driving on the freeway. Then freeway driving will not be a part of the driving test.
- Destination trip – The examiner will direct you to a location approximately two blocks from the DMV office. You must return to the DMV office without the examiner’s assistance or direction using the same route. This is usually performed at the end of the driving test.
- You have never been licensed in any state or you are holding a foreign country license.
- Have failed DMV’s vision test because of a vision condition.
- Are referred to Driver Safety due to a physical or mental condition, or lack of skill. A law enforcement, your physician, or a concerned relative or friend may refer you to DMV for a check of your driving
- A limited term license.
- A physical condition (except corrective lenses) and DMV imposes a restriction, or if you are currently restricted and you request that the restriction be removed.
- An out-of-state junior, provisional, or probationary license.
- Been licensed out-of-state but do not have the license to surrender.
- Driving tests for license renewals or holders of out-of-state or U.S. territory licenses are normally waived, if the license is presented. However, DMV may require a driving test at any time.
There is an old saying ” Practice makes perfect”. At Trivalleysafety Driving School, we believe ” Perfection makes perfect”. Because learning the right way is the only way to become a safe driver. The rule of thumb is, if you are not getting it consistently right with your instructor, you are not
- Lack of practice – Practice! Even when you think you are not ready.
- Traffic checking – Ineffective observations and poor judgement.
- Straight line backing up – Failing to keep a safe speed or parallel along a curb during backing.
- Lane violation – Travel further than 200 feet or fail to check before entering into a bike lane or two-way center left turn lane.
- Disobeys traffic signs or signal – You didn’t make a full stop when you turn right on red.
- Unsafe lane changes – Without checking blind spot and lacking of space around other cars.
- Dangerous maneuver – Causing another driver or pedestrian to take evasive action.
- Moving away safely – Ineffective observations.
- Inappropriate Speed – Traveling too slow/ fast or being hesitant.
- Disregard others’ advise – If you wait until your instructor says you are ready for the practical test, you have a much higher chance of passing.
- Accelerate smoothly. Don’t race the engine or make it stall.
- Stop the vehicle gently. Start braking well ahead of where you must stop to avoid sudden jerks.
- Know where to stop. Be aware of crosswalks. If your view is blocked at a crosswalk, move forward carefully and look both ways at the intersection..
- Be sure your vehicle is in the correct gear. Don’t grind the gears. Don’t coast to a stop.
- Always obey the posted speed limits. If needed, reduce your speed to adjust for existing weather, road, and other traffic conditions. Remember to turn on your lights if you need to use your windshield wipers in poor weather conditions.
- Follow at a safe distance. Use the three-second rule. Increase your following distance in bad weather or poor visibility.
- Know what the traffic signals mean and obey them at all times.
- Always use the proper lane. Turn from the correct lane into the correct lane.
- Signal for all lane changes and turns.
- Always look for potential hazards (scan). Check your mirrors frequently. Always look over the proper shoulder before making lane changes or pulling away from the curb.
- Drive defensively. Anticipate another driver’s errors.
- If you are still unsure about your driving skills, you may also review a DMV publication entitled the Parent-Teen Training Guide (available online at: www.dmv.ca.gov or at your local DMV office). This guide is for the parents of teenage drivers and it provides them with detailed instruction for correctly performing the various driving maneuvers required on a driving test. This booklet may only be required for teenagers, but it can be helpful to drivers of any age.
you have any questions, you may ask the examiner before the test begins. During the test, the examiner
will ask questions or give directions, but he/she will not engage in general conversation.
Test Vehicle Requirements
The vehicle you use for your driving test must be safe to drive. Before the test, the examiner checks for:
- two license plates. The rear plate must show current registration.
- both front and back turn signal lights and working brake lights.
- a working horn designed for the vehicle.
- tires with no bald spots.
- adequate brake pressure (you will be asked to step on the brake pedal to see if it works properly).
- a driver’s side window that rolls down.
- a windshield that allows a full unobstructed field of vision.
- two rear view mirrors (one must be on the outside, to the driver’s left).
- driver and front passenger doors that open from both the inside and outside.
- a secured glove compartment door that won’t fly open during the test.
- a passenger seat permanently attached to the vehicle.
- working safety belts, if the vehicle was manufactured with safety belts.
- working emergency/parking brake.
- Financial Responsibility.
- You must show your vehicle insurance and registration before the driving test begins.
Learning to drive safely does not end with your driving test. Your license means you met the driving test requirements. However, there are still a lot of disobey drivers on the roadways. For new drivers, defensive training and attitude control are far more difficult to learn than a vehicle operation. We keep telling our students “Adjusting our attitude for crazy drivers!” Passing the test is just a beginning. You are welcome to share your experience of driving with us after your training or driving test.