The Driver’s License Test Cheat Sheet

Before drivers get a driver’s license or permit, they need to pass the driver’s license test.

This is a written test that measures a driver’s knowledge of road signs, road markings and driver’s behaviors on the road. Those interested in becoming drivers have to pass this exam before they can take the road test. However, it is not unusual for someone to require multiple attempts to pass the written driver’s test.

Vehicle and Driver Safety Standards

If you want to hit the road, you don’t want multiple tests between you and your license. You want to pass your driver’s exam on the first go. Luckily, driver’s license study guides – like this one – are available for you to research the test before you go in. Rather than wasting time and money on a test you don’t pass, practice for it beforehand. Learn the rules of the road, memorize the road signs and signals and study the vehicle requirements. Make sure you go in to your exam fully prepared with this driver’s license test cheat sheet. After you review the driver’s ed study guide, take a driver’s license practice test to make sure you’ve learned the material.

Each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues a driver’s handbook detailing the state’s legal standards. Drivers must maintain these particular safety standards for themselves and their vehicles. Drivers are obligated to keep their cars in good working condition. This includes repairing and maintaining lights, brakes, windshields, tires and other critical vehicle parts. To pass the DMV driver’s test, drivers should read the manual carefully. Exact rules vary by state. However, the following vehicle standards are typically in place:

  • Parking and emergency brakes fully functional on any hill
  • Low beam highlights display objects 150 feet ahead, visible from 1,000 feet away
  • High beam headlights display objects 450 feet head, visible from 1,000 feet away
  • Both tail lights intact, visible from 1,000 feet away
  • Brake lights visible from 300 feet in the daytime
  • Directional/turning signals visible from 500 feet away
  • Horns audible from 200 feet away
  • Rear view mirror with views up to 200 feet away
  • Windshield neither reflective nor opaque
  • Windshield wipers fully operational
  • Windows not overly reflective or mirrored
  • Tires meet minimum tread requirements, display no visible signs of wear

Drivers may see questions related to vehicle standards on the driver’s license exam. The manual also includes a section on driver safety that may appear on the exam. Drivers should not drive under the influence of substances, including legal substances that can affect their reactivity. A driver’s exam may ask about subjects like road rage, distracted driving and driving while impaired.

Traffic Control Markings

Your driving test will also ask you questions about markings and signs you will encounter on the road. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with the information in your DMV handbook before you go in for your driving exam. Markings may vary by state, however, national standards are set by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. There are many different ways to identify what purpose a sign has. It is common for a written driver’s exam to ask you to identify a category of sign rather than a specific sign. Signs are identified by particular characteristics:

  • Traffic sign color – The color of a sign indicates its purpose. For example, red signs indicate that a driver should stop or avoid a particular action. Green signs offer directional information, and yellow signs indicate general warnings.
  • Traffic sign shape – The shape of a sign indicates its general use. Railroad signs are almost always round, for example, while diamond-shaped signs indicate warnings or hazards.

You may also be asked to identify the meaning of specific regulatory signs on your driver’s exam. Familiarize yourself with the variety of signs used in your state and their purpose. Along with signs, you should also be able to identify pavement markings on your driving test. You must be able to identify the significance of the following kinds of markings:

  • Edge Lines
  • White Lane Lines
  • Yellow Lane Lines
  • Turn Lanes
  • Reversible Lanes
  • Bicycle Lanes
  • White Stop Lines
  • Crosswalks

Other common markings will be listed in your DMV handbook. Review it carefully before taking your driving test. You should also learn to identify traffic control signs. Traffic control signs help you navigate at intersections so you do not crash into other drivers. You will have to learn about lights in the following categories:

  • Steady signal lights
  • Flashing signal lights
  • Lane signals
  • Ramp signals
  • Pedestrian signals

Basic Driving Rules

As a potential driver on the road, you should know basic driving rules for navigating safely that will be on your driving test. This includes knowing appropriate speeds and distances, determining who has right of way and knowing common maneuvers. Along with studying for the written driver’s exam, you should also practice utilizing this knowledge on the road. You will have to learn about basic driving rules such as:

  • Determining speed limits
  • Gauging appropriate braking distance
  • Performing turns safely
  • Identifying who has right of way
  • Navigating intersections and roundabouts
  • Driving rules for traffic lanes
  • Navigating around blind spots
  • Passing drivers safely
  • Entering and leaving highways
  • Parking safety and parking laws

Navigating Around Others

When you practice driving, you typically do so on an empty road. Driving with other motorists around is a different experience entirely. Your DMV drivers test will ask questions about what to do in specific scenarios with other motorists or pedestrians. Read your manual carefully as laws can vary by state. Before taking your driving exam, research appropriate tactics for handling the following:

  • Navigating around pedestrians – Drivers must yield to pedestrians on the road. Drivers should take heed of crosswalks for pedestrians, and look both ways before proceeding down a road.
  • Navigating around bicyclists – Bicycles may legally be classified as motorists in some states. Some states have bicycle lanes, others allow bicyclists to share the road. Most states have minimum clearance laws for navigating around cyclists.
  • Navigating beside motorcyclists – Motorcyclists share the road with cars. However, they are smaller and have the ability to move more freely. Drivers should know how to safely navigate around motorcyclists.
  • Navigating with school buses – Most states have laws limiting a driver’s ability to pass a stopped school bus. Additionally, drivers must be aware of school zones where buses may pick up or drop off students.
  • Navigating beside emergency vehicles – It is common for states to have rules mandating drivers to move aside or slow down when passing emergency vehicles. Additionally, drivers must move out of the way when emergency vehicles are passing with flashing lights and sirens.

Special Driving Situations

Many factors can affect a driver’s ability to navigate on the road. Potential drivers should be aware of the rules in place for navigating in special situations before taking the written driver’s exam. A driver’s exam may ask you to identify the correct method for reacting to fog or an accident. You will need to know how to navigate in the following scenarios:

  • Nighttime driving
  • Low visibility driving
  • Driving through rain
  • Maneuvering around animals
  • Navigating around police
  • Navigating around accidents

Additionally, it is possible that your vehicle will break down or malfunction while on the road. You should know how to respond in such a scenario. Your driver’s ed study guide will detail precise instructions for scenarios such as:

  • Your vehicle breaks down
  • Another vehicle enters your lane
  • Your vehicle leaves the pavement
  • Correcting oversteering
  • Controlling a skidding car
  • Applying emergency brakes
  • Navigating with brake failure
  • Using wet brakes
  • Steering with a jammed gas pedal
  • Navigating with a tire blowout
  • Handling a car fire

Before you take your driving test, take a driver’s license practice test. The practice test will help you identify what precise questions might be found on a test in your state. Additionally, you can use the test to familiarize yourself with the driving exam before you take it for the first time. This will minimize your chances of needing to retake it.