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Driver Tests Overview in North Carolina

Motorists must pass a drivers test in North Carolina before they may obtain an original driving license under the state Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). In addition to passing a drivers license test, new motorists must pass a written drivers exam and a vision screening. As part of the NC written drivers test, applicants must pass a regulatory sign, warning signal and knowledge exam. However, specific driving test requirements vary depending on the age of the applicant. Before motorists may complete a drivers exam, they must enroll in driving education and pass a drivers ed test if they are younger than 18 years of age. However, drivers ed is not a requirement if residents are older than 18 years of age. In this case, motorists may complete a drivers license exam without enrolling in drivers education. To learn more about DMV drivers test requirements, including vision screenings or written knowledge exams, review the information below.

North Carolina Drivers Test Vision Requirements

Before completing a drivers license or obtaining a limited learner permit, motorists must pass a vision screening to ensure that their eyesight meets certain requirements. When completing the NC driving exam, motorists may wear corrective lenses if necessary. However, motorists who complete a driver license test while wearing corrective lenses must wear them whenever they operate a motor vehicle. If motorists require corrective lenses, the penalty of operating a vehicle without them is the same as driving without a license. In addition to these driving license test requirements, applicants must be in good mental and physical health in order to obtain a driver credential in North Carolina. If motorists do not meet these driving examination health requirements, they may be able to obtain a restricted driver license through the NCDMV.

North Carolina Written Drivers Test Overview

Residents must also pass a 25-question written drivers exam before they may obtain a driving license through the NCDMV. To pass the written license exam, applicants must answer at least 20 of the 25 questions correctly or earn a passing score of 80 percent. However, the specific types of North Carolina written driving tests applicants must take vary depending on whether applicants wish to obtain an original driver license or a limited learner permit. To obtain a limited learner permit, applicants must pass a written DMV examand a traffic signs test. To obtain an original license, applicants must pass a written drivers license exam, a regulatory signs test and a traffic signals exam.

When completing the written drivers test in NC, applicants must answer questions pertaining to safe driver practices and local traffic laws. When completing the traffic and regulatory signs exams, motorists must be able to identity traffic signs by their shape and color. To prepare for these written driving exams, applicants may complete a practice test and study the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook. Information pertaining to traffic signs and signals is available under Chapter Five of the manual.

What is included on the written driving exam in North Carolina?

A written drivers exam in North Carolina includes information about current traffic laws, safe driving strategies and regulatory and warning signs. For instance, a written drivers test includes questions such as the following:

  • When is a driver license required in North Carolina?
  • What happens if a driver refuses a chemical test?
  • What happens if your driving record acquires seven or more traffic points?
  • Which conviction carries the highest number of traffic points?
  • When does a driver license suspension or revocation occur?
  • Which violation causes the most traffic fatalities?
  • Which percentage of highway-related deaths is caused by drunk driving?
  • How common are pedestrian-related deaths?

Furthermore, other written driving tests in NC require motorists to identity state-specific signs and signals, including the following: speed limits, do not enter, yield, stop, left turn only, one way, keep left, do not pass, no parking and railroad crossing. Additionally, the warning signs written drivers exam quizzes applicants on the following: signal ahead, right turn, deer crossing, merging traffic, divided highway, school crossing, stop ahead, bike crossing and hill.

North Carolina DMV Drivers Test Overview

In addition to the written drivers exams and vision screening, motorists must pass a driving test before they may obtain a regular driver license through the NCDMV. As such, applicants must pass their written drivers tests before they may complete their road demonstration. To complete a drivers test in North Carolina, however, applicants must be 18 years of age or at least 16 years of age and be enrolled in the NCDMV’s Graduated Licensing (GDL) Program. If motorists meet these driving exam requirements, they may schedule an appointment to complete their drivers license test between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. In some cases, motorists may complete driving tests on Saturday mornings as well. However, driver license testing hours can vary by NCDMV licensing station.

What is included on a drivers test in North Carolina?

Motorists must complete an on-the-road DMV driving license test after they pass all other required examinations, including the written exam and vision screening. As part of the North Carolina drivers exam, motorists must demonstrate their ability to operate a motor vehicle safety and effectively. During the drivers license exam, applicants must safely demonstrate their ability to perform the following:

  • Approach intersections, traffic signals and stop signs
  • Make quick stops
  • Reverse the vehicle
  • Stop, start and park the vehicle (including three-point turnabouts)
  • Turn the vehicle and use the horn
  • Use traffic lanes correctly
  • Pass other automobiles on the road
  • Maintain good driving posture

For additional information on these NC driver examination requirements, applicants may review the NCDMV’s Driving Handbook.

North Carolina Driving Exam Vehicle Requirements

Before completing a drivers test in NC, applicants must verify that their vehicle equipment is safe and in good working order. The driving license exam requires applicants to ensure that their vehicle’s lights, mirrors, brakes and tires are all functioning properly. Additionally, motorists who wish to take a drivers license test must verify that their vehicle’s anti-lock braking system, emergency flashers, horns and sirens, suspension system, mufflers and exhaust system are all operational.

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