DRIVING TEST IN VIRGINIA – For many beginners, the prospect of taking a driving test could be challenging. There are so many skills to be evaluated and the idea of being closely scrutinized may not sit well with many people. However, to be legally qualified to drive in Virginia, it is a necessary phase you have to go through. Hence, the need for adequate guidance. In this article, we will show you everything you need to know about the DMV behind-the-wheel driving test.

Driving test in Virginia

What is the DMV Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test?

The DMV behind-the-wheel test, also known as the road skills test, is a 30-minute test that assesses your understanding of theoretical and practical driving concepts. It is administered primarily in English by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. It is requisite to obtaining a driver’s license in Virginia by those who do not have one from another U.S. state or specific foreign territories.

Who can take the DMV Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test?

There are a couple of criteria to meet before taking the test, many of which are dependent on age.

Virginia residents under 18 must:

  • be at least 16 years and 3 months old
  • have completed a state-certified driver education program [Usually, for under-18s, the test is administered as part of the driver education program.]
  • have held the Virginia learner’s permit for a minimum of nine months
  • have had at least 45 hours of driving experience, 15 of which are at night
  • have a parent or guardian who has a valid driver’s license or identification number to verify information provided

Virginia residents above 18 must:

  • have completed a state-certified driver education program [For these people, the Road Skills Test is usually conducted as part of the driver education program.]
  • have passed the Virginia state driver’s license knowledge exam
  • Must know how to drive.


  • have completed a Behind-the-Wheel Checklist
  • have held a learner’s permit for at least 60 days
  • have had at least 45 hours of driving experience, 15 of which are at night
  • have a Virginia-licensed driver to verify driving experience

Requirements for the DMV Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test

In addition to the different age requirements, below are some other conditions that must be satisfied to be eligible for the driving test.

Required Documents:

  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of legal presence in the United States
  • Social security number, if you have one
  • Proof of residency in the state of Virginia
  • Learner’s permit
  • Proof of completion of state-approved driving course

Vehicle requirements

  • Valid license registration plates
  • Windshield with no cracks or obstructions
  • No dashboard warning lights on
  • No fluid leaks
  • Operational lights and lenses
  • Operational speedometer
  • Operable heater system
  • Operational horns
  • Secure and operable pedals
  • Secure and working exhaust system
  • Secure side and rearview mirrors
  • Secure seats and seat belts
  • Good doors
  • Good tires

What Maneuvers Are Evaluated on DMV Behind-the-Wheel Test?

For the DMV road skills test, you could either be assigned to a public road or a closed course, depending on which DMV office you register with. Whichever of the two you find yourself on, the primary goal is to show the examiners that you can drive safely on any road.

You will also be required to demonstrate certain maneuvers, each of which you must complete within a stipulated period of three minutes. The maneuvers include:

  • Pull-in parking
  • Back-in parking
  • Three-point turnabout

You will be given specific instructions at each stage of the test, and failure to follow them or complete each task will result in a deduction of points.

Automatic Failure on the DMV Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test

Automatic failure on the driving test occurs when you violate safety measures. In such a case, the test will be ended immediately and you will have to wait for a stipulated period before retaking it. Some of the safety violations include:

  • Failure to fasten your safety belt properly
  • Failure to pull to a complete halt at a stop sign (Rolling Stops)
  • Improper lane change, not checking Mirrors or blind spot
  • Distracted Driving
  • Driving Too slow or too fast in normal conditions
  • Changing lanes in an intersection
  • Tailgating
  • Fail to park
  • Braking too hard
  • Failure to observe signs and signals
  • Failure to follow the examiner’s instructions
  • Involvement in an avoidable accident, such as contact with other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians
  • Violation of any safety measures
  • Committing an action that forces your examiner to intervene to avoid an accident
  • Breaking of traffic laws
  • Spending more than three minutes on each closed course exercise
  • Displacing a cone or flag
  • Excessive accumulation of basic driving errors

How to Pass the Driving Test?

Passing the DMV behind-the-wheel driving test requires a lot of hard work and patience. You have to do a great deal of practice and spend a lot of hours sitting behind the wheel. Your interactions with your driving instructor and your supervisor also matter a lot, as they determine how much perfection will be added to your driving skills. In addition, you should also read and digest the driving manual for the state of Virginia.

What If You Fail the Driving Test?

Due to multiple unpredictable circumstances, you may not perform as required on the driving test. If that happens for any reason, please do not feel bad. You have to pick yourself up and go again. In this case, you may have to wait for at least two days to retake the test. Failing the DMV road skills test three or more times will require you to complete and pass the behind-the-wheel aspect of the driver’s education from a state-accredited driving school like Drive Well Driving School.

The Bottom Line

As tough as it may seem, you can smash the DMV Behind-the-Wheel Driving Test with adequate preparation. In addition to knowing how to drive, the test examines your understanding of traffic laws and how you can react in different driving situations. Attending a good state-approved driving school like Drive Well Driving School will help you grasp the required concepts.

With our seasoned instructors and up-to-date curriculum, Drive Well Driving School provides you with the best driving education. For any aspect of the driving test you are scared about, Drive Well Driving School has got you covered. Join us today, as we conquer the road.


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