Road test

How to Pass Your Washington DC Road Test: A Complete Guide

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Oct 28, 2021

You’ve spent the last few months studying and practicing with a permit, and you’re probably about ready to finish the process and get your DC driver’s license. A license means much more freedom–you’ll be able to drive yourself to school and work, provide transportation for your friends, and to take road trips with your family. Drivers are required to complete certain prerequisites in preparation for a license. The road test is the final requirement before you can become a fully licensed driver.

Requirements to Take the Road Test in Washington DC

As a new driver, you’re required to complete a number of requirements in preparation for the road skills test. In DC, these requirements vary based on age. 

If you’re aged 16 to 21, you’ll complete the graduated driver license program, which consists of three levels: the learner’s permit, provisional license, and full license with conditions. The road test is completed before you get your provisional license.

If you’re between the ages of 16 and 21

  • Successfully obtain your permit.
    • Reach the minimum age of 16.
    • Complete a permit application, present required documents at the DMV, and pass the knowledge and vision tests.
    • Successfully obtain your permit.
  • Follow permit restrictions (such as only driving between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., wearing your seatbelt, and being accompanied by a licensed driver over the age of 21).
  • Practice driving for at least 40 hours and track your progress on the Certification of Eligibility form. 
  • Hold your learner’s permit for at least six months.
  • Maintain a clean driving record for at least six months.

If you’re over the age of 21

  • Successfully obtain your permit.
    • Complete an application, present requirement documents, and pass the knowledge and vision tests.
  • Practice with a licensed driver over the age of 21 until you feel ready for the road test.

If you turn 21 while completing the graduated driver license program, you’re released from it; you can take the road skills test as long as you’ve completed the requirements for drivers over the age of 21. 

Scheduling Your Road Skills Test

First, schedule a road test appointment. You may choose to take your road test at a DC DMV or at a third-party testing office. Whichever you choose, you’ll need to make an appointment online or by phone as walk-ins aren’t accepted. When you schedule your appointment, you’ll have to provide your full name, permit number, date of birth, and social security number.

On the Day of Your Washington DC Road Test

What to Bring

On the day of your test, you’ll need to present certain documents. Collect them beforehand. Acceptable documents must be unaltered originals. This includes:

  • Proof of Identity.
  • Proof of Date of Birth.
  • Social security number or proof of SSN ineligibility.
  • Proof of residency in DC.
  • Proof of ability to drive.
  • Proof of name change, if applicable. 
  • Certification of Eligibility, completed and signed. 

In addition to these documents, you’ll need to bring the following:

  • An acceptable vehicle for the road test.
  • Proof of insurance and registration for your vehicle.
  • A licensed driver over the age of 21 to drive your vehicle to the testing office.
  • Any required fees. 

Make Sure Your Vehicle Meets Testing Requirements 

In DC, you’ll take your road skills test in a vehicle you provide. To ensure that testing vehicles are in safe working order, the testing office will require that certain minimum standards are met. Make sure that your vehicle won’t be rejected on the day of your road test by checking that it’s in good working order and that it’s properly registered and insured.

Your vehicle needs to:

  • Have valid license plates that are properly attached.
  • Function properly in these areas:
    • Brake lights and turn signals must activate properly.
    • Horn should function. 
    • Windows must roll up and down. 
    • Doors need to close entirely and have working handles on the interior and exterior.
    • Mirrors must be unobstructed and correctly adjusted. The rearview mirror shouldn’t have anything hanging on it. 
    • Windshield should be unobstructed with no cracks. 
    • Tires must be inflated properly with adequate tread. Spare tires are unacceptable.
    • Gas tank must be sufficiently full. 
    • Dashboard should have no warning lights.
  • Have an emergency brake located between the two front seats where the examiner can access it. 
  • Be properly registered. You’ll need to have a registration card and window/license plate sticker.
  • Be properly insured. You’ll need to have an insurance card or policy.
  • If applicable, have a valid inspection sticker. 

What’s Tested on the Road Test in Washington DC?

Ideally, you should be practicing these habits every time you get in the car. You’ll be tested on: 

  • General driving habits, such as navigating turns and intersections correctly.
  • Compliance with driving laws, such as speed limits and other traffic signs.
  • Certain driving maneuvers, such as parallel parking. 

Don’t panic if you make a few small mistakes during the road skills test. A few little errors won’t cause a failure. However, if you cause an accident or hit something, chances are you won’t pass the test. 


If you fail your test, you’ll have to wait a minimum of 72 hours before you can reschedule and retake the test. 

Cancellations and Failures

Your road test can be canceled or postponed for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • You didn’t meet all the requirements.
  • You didn’t bring all the required documents.
  • Your vehicle is considered unsafe.
  • Poor weather causes unsafe driving conditions.

If your road test is canceled, reschedule online or by phone. If you need to reschedule your test for a personal reason, you’ll need to cancel at least 48 hours before to avoid being charged a cancellation fee. 

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about passing the District of Columbia road test! Hopefully, you now feel ready to confidently pass the test and get your license. If you’d like to review general driving information, but reading the DC Driver’s Manual cover to cover doesn’t sound like fun, try studying with Zutobi. It provides a fun and interactive study environment that helps you absorb important driving material.

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