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Passing Your Illinois Road Test – The Ultimate 2021 Guide

Passing Your Illinois Road Test – The Ultimate 2021 Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Jan 15, 2021

Ready to start driving without supervision? All of your work and practice up until now culminates in the Illinois Driving Test (or DRT). The process doesn’t have to be nearly as stressful as it seems.

What Is the Illinois Road Test?

The Illinois Driving Road Test is designed to test your competence in driving on the road. The test focuses on driving laws and safety regulations featured in your Illinois Rules of the Road Handbook.

How Does the Illinois Driving Test Work?

The road test consists of two phases: First, you demonstrate that your test vehicle is in working order along with your knowledge of its parts. Then you have the 10-20 minute drive, where your examiner will observe you driving, parking, and how you handle various driving situations. For example:

  • If you come to a complete stop at stop signs
  • If you recognise and follow road signs and lane markings
  • If you practice safe driving tactics when changing lanes and merging with traffic
  • And more.

Before You Apply for Your Driver’s License

Depending on your age, you have certain criteria to complete before you can take your Illinois road test.

If You Are Under 18

If you can’t bring a parent or guardian with you, you’ll need their signature on the ‘Consent to Drive’ form. When you apply for your license and driving exam, you should bring the following:

  • Your Instruction Permit
  • Consent to Drive Form signed by a parent or guardian. It must be notarized if not signed at the testing site.
  • Cooperative Driver Testing Certificate
  • 50-hour driving log signed by your supervising licensed driver.
  • A licensed driver to take you to and from the site, and an insured and registered vehicle for the test.

If You Are Over 18

If you are 18 to 20 years old, you do not need a signed form or 50 hours of practice. However, you do need to complete a state-certified Driver’s Ed course before you’re allowed to take your test if you did not take Driver’s education prior to turning 18.

If you are over 21, you will not need to take a Driver’s education course. However, it is still a good idea to do so. It will give you critical knowledge you need to be a safe driver and pass your exams.

Otherwise, we recommend our easy-to-understand course, which will help you learn all the rules of the road and important driving safety practices faster than anywhere else.

How to Prepare for the Illinois Driving Road Test

  1. Study the Manual
  2. Collect Your Paperwork 
  3. Make Sure Your Car Functions
  4. Bring Proof of Insurance
  5. Practice Driving at the SOS Site

Study the Manual

One of the most effective things you can do is study the ‘Illinois Rules of the Road’ manual thoroughly, especially the parts about signs and signals and their meanings. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to master all the concepts before taking the road test.

Cramming or skimming the material is a good way to forget vital details on the road! Make sure to take advantage of practice tests and programs made to ensure you mastered the material.

Collect Your Paperwork 

In addition to the qualifiers we listed earlier, you will need to bring proof of name, birthdate, social security number, and residency. You can bring the items below or find a full list on page 104 of your Rules of the Road Handbook. Everything must be original. No photocopies.

  • Part 1: Proof of Signature
    • A Canceled Check
    • Cooperative Driver Testing Certificate
    • Social Security Card
  • Part 2: Proof of Social Security Number
    • Social Security Card
    • Illinois State ID
    • Pay Stub
  • Part 3: Proof of Date of Birth
    • Original Birth Certificate
    • Adoption Records
    • State ID
  • Part 4: Proof of Residency
    • Bank Statement
    • Certified School Transcript
    • State ID

Make Sure Your Car Functions

Make sure all these things are fully functioning. Any of these things failing to work will invalidate the vehicle for the driving test. It also needs to be clean, and with no cracks or obstructions in your windshield or mirrors.

  • Brakes
  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Turn Signals
  • License Plate Light (White)
  • Parking Lights
  • Safety Belts
  • Mirrors
  • Windows
  • Wipers
  • Horn
  • Muffler
  • Bumper

Bring Proof of Insurance

You will have to bring proof of ownership and proof of insurance for the vehicle that you intend on taking the driving test in. If you bring a rental car, make sure the contract lists that you are approved to take a road test in it.

Practice Driving at the SOS Site

Illinois is one of the few states that lets you practice in their testing area ahead of time. When you can, take a few minutes to explore and get a feel for the driving environment. Practice driving, if you have the appropriate permit, so you will be ready for the real thing!

On the Day of the Illinois Driving Test

You can only take your road test at designated Secretary of State facilities, also known as SOS sites. You should aim to get to one early and choose one that’s convenient for you. Unfortunately, you can’t schedule a driving test in advance. Make sure to plan for lines and processing times accordingly.

Pass A Vision Screening

In Illinois, you must have a visual acuity of at least 20/40, with or without corrective lenses. Anyone with vision less than 20/40 will be limited to daylight driving only. Anyone wearing glasses or contacts will have it noted that they should be wearing them when driving on their license.

You can take the screening on-site, or you can be checked beforehand by an optometrist within six months of your application. The eye specialist will need to fill out this form for it to count toward your vision screening. 

Pass the Written Exam

Every driver in Illinois must take a written exam every eight years unless the driver has zero traffic convictions on their record. The written test has 35 questions in total, and you can only miss 7 (an 80% score) to pass. Make sure you know the most current laws and safe driving practices with our summarized Illinois DMV Manual and practice tests.

The written exam requires driver’s license applicants to: 

• Identify traffic signs by shape, color or symbol. 

• Identify signals and pavement markings. 

• Answer multiple-choice and true-or-false questions about traffic.

What Will Be Tested on the Illinois Road Test?

The driving exam tests multiple aspects of a driver’s capability to perform standard maneuvers, such as checking all the instruments and making any necessary adjustments before driving.

You will also be expected to complete the following maneuvers:

  • Back the vehicle straight and slow for at least 50 feet. Turn your head to look behind you. Don’t use the mirrors alone!
  • Perform a turnabout. Make sure you signal and stay on your side of the road.
  • Merge with traffic
  • Park uphill and downhill on the side of the road.
  • Start uphill and downhill from a parked position.
  • Control the vehicle and obey all signals, signs, and markings.

What Happens After the Road Exam?

Once you pass the driving road test, you will be issued a temporary paper license. You will get your Illinois driver’s license in the mail in about 15 days! If you fail, you can try again as early as the next day, but we recommend taking some time to study first. Be careful, you can only fail three times before you have to start the process over again, including any paid fees and fines.

Eager to make sure you pass on your first try? Take advantage of Zutobi’s Driver Practice Exams! Our DMV Guide and practice tests are written by education specialists to help you memorize everything you’ll see on the road.  

Take our full course with tests and theory

  • 450+ exam-like questions
  • All you need to ace your test
  • Perfect for first-timers, renewals and senior citizens
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