Passing the Michigan Driving Skills Test: A Complete Guide

Passing the Michigan Driving Skills Test: A Complete Guide

by Zutobi · Updated Apr 13, 2021

If you’ve never held a driver’s license before, or if your license has been expired for more than four years, you will be required to take the Michigan driving skills test at some point in time (also known as the road test).

While the road test is stressful and difficult, a good understanding of what you’ll need to do is one of the most effective ways to prepare for it.

But there’s no need to worry. In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know to pass your Michigan road test and be well on your way towards getting your full driving privileges!

Michigan Driving Skills Test Requirements

Under 18

If you’re under the age of 18, be sure to complete these requirements before you start the process of applying for your road test.

  • You must be at least 15 years old.
  • You must have completed both Segment 1 and Segment 2 of a driver’s education course approved by Michigan. You will need to present a completion certificate.
  • You must have held the Michigan Level 1 license (obtained at a Secretary of State office) for at least six months.
  • You’ll need to have completed 50 hours of practice driving, ten of which must be night driving hours. Practice driving must be done with a licensed adult who is at least 21 years old. You’ll need to have logged your hours on a driving log which will be presented to your examiner.
  • When you go to take your road test, a parent, legal guardian, or adult appointed by a parent/guardian must come with you.
  • You must not have any at-fault crashes, license suspensions, civil infractions, or convictions for the 90 days before you take the test.

Over 18

If you’re over the age of 18 but haven’t had a driver’s license before, there will be a different set of requirements you’ll need to follow before you’re allowed to take the driving skills test in Michigan.

  • You must obtain a Temporary Instruction Permit and practice driving with it for at least 30 days.
  • You’ll need to have passed the necessary vision and written knowledge tests, which can be taken at a Michigan Secretary of State office.
  • You’ll have to pay the required fees. 

How to Schedule Your Michigan Road Test

In Michigan, road tests are only offered through private driver testing businesses that are approved by the state. To find a convenient location, you can use the Branch Office Locator.

You’ll be able to schedule your road test up to six months in advance. Make sure to inquire about fees before you schedule your appointment since fees are not regulated by the Michigan Department of State. When you schedule your appointment, you will have to provide your phone number, name, and license number.

Vehicle Requirements – Make Sure Your Vehicle is Test Ready

You’ll be taking the driving skills test in your own car. It should be one that you’ve used and are familiar with. It needs to be in safe working order and you must have valid insurance proof, vehicle registration, and license plate. Your vehicle will be inspected before your test, and you will not be allowed to take your road test if it doesn’t pass the inspection. 

Here’s a list of things you should make sure are working well:

  • Brake lights, headlights and taillights
  • Turn signals
  • Brakes
  • Muffler
  • Car horn
  • Speedometer
  • Heater and defroster
  • Suspension components
  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid

Additionally, your vehicle must follow these requirements:

  • Your windshield must allow a sufficient view of the road
  • Tires shouldn’t be damaged and must be inflated properly
  • You must be able to open all doors from both the outside and inside of the vehicle
  • Fuel level should be high enough to complete the road test
  • You should have all your lug nuts—no more than one can be missing
  • Your rearview and side left mirror should be working
  • There must be enough seats and seat belts for all passengers

What to Bring to Your Driving Skills Test

If you’re under 18 and are going through Michigan’s Graduated Driver’s License program, your Level 2 license may be automatically issued. 

You should bring the following documents to your road test. 

  • Your Michigan Level 1 license. You must have had it for at least six months.
  • Your Segment 2 Driver’s Education completion certificate.
  • Your driving log, which should be filled out and verified with the signature of a parent or guardian. You must have 50 hours (including 10 night hours) of supervised driving logged and verified.
  • Proof of your social security number, identity, and legal presence.
  • Two documents of Michigan residency.
  • Your Driving Skills Test Certificate.

If You’re Over 18

If you’re over the age of 18, you’ll only need to bring the following:

  •  Your temporary instruction permit
  • Proof of your social security number, identity, and legal presence.
  • Two documents of Michigan residency 

On the Day of the Michigan Road Test 

The Michigan driving skills test has three components. First, there will be a safety inspection and vehicle familiarization part, which will not be scored. Next is the control skills part, which will take place in a parking lot or other open space. Last is the on-road driving test, which you’ll take on the road in real driving situations. The three sections will take place in this order; and if you fail one part, you won’t be allowed to complete the remaining components.

The basic vehicle control skills test will involve a number of exercises to help determine your ability to control your vehicle in certain situations, such as Y-turns and parallel parking. Your instructor will assess your performance based on how many encroachments (when you go past a boundary), repositionings (when you have to adjust your path of travel) you have, as well as your final position. To pass this portion of the exam, you must have fewer than six errors.

During the on-road test, you’ll drive a route in which you’ll have to drive through a number of traffic situations. Be sure to drive safely, obeying all traffic laws. You’ll be asked to make left and right turns, lane changes, and other similar actions. Always be aware of your surroundings and remember to check your mirrors, use your turn signals, drive smoothly, don’t brake unnecessarily, etc.  

What Will Cause a Failure on the Driving Skills Test in Michigan?

No one wants to fail their road test, but knowing what will cause a failure is one of the best ways to avoid it.

You’ll fail your test if you do any of the following:

  • You cause an accident.
  • You try to bribe your instructor.
  • You refuse to wear a seat belt.
  • You ignore instructions or refuse to do the required maneuvers. Your test will be ended if you repeatedly fail to obey instructions.

You’ll also fail if you commit hazardous actions or traffic violations, such as the ones listed below.

  • Your examiner or another driver prevents you from causing an accident or doing an illegal action.
  • You drive over a sidewalk or curb.
  • You cause a hazard for other traffic.
  • You don’t yield right-of-way at the proper times.
  • You don’t take proper action when there is an emergency vehicle or road service vehicle.
  • You fail to pass other vehicles properly.
  • You make an illegal turn by turning from the wrong lane or on a red light where it is not allowed.
  • You drive on the wrong side of the road or the wrong way on one-way roads.
  • You don’t stop for a stop sign or red light.
  • You fail to stop for a train at a railroad crossing or go around gates.
  • You speed 10 miles over the speed limit.
  • You speed 4-9 miles over the speed limit after being warned once.
  • Tailgate other vehicles after being warned once.

If you fail your road test, don’t worry—not everyone passes on their first try. Review your material and practice up, and then reschedule and retake your test.

That’s It!

That’s everything you need to know about the driving skills test in Michigan. We hope this guide has helped you out, and that you now feel comfortable with the steps moving forward. If you need any help studying for your upcoming exams, then Zutobi is the perfect study guide with online practice tests, a summarized handbook, and practical driving tips that will help you immensely during the actual road exam.

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