Teen’s Guide to Getting Ready for the Texas Driving Skills Road Test

Posted by on Monday, April 8th, 2019 in Driving Laws, Driving Tips

Before you take your Texas Driving Skills Road Test – either at a Texas DPS Driver License Office or through a private testing provider – you need to practice the driving maneuvers you will be tested on.  You need to know exactly what you will be tested on, and then make sure you are super confident in performing those driving skills and maneuvers.  I am here to help!


The goal of the Texas Driving Skills Road Test is to determine your driving ability to safely operate a vehicle and obey the traffic laws. The driving test is about 20 minutes long. You will be graded on your ability to safely and legally demonstrate driving maneuvers. If you perform a dangerous or illegal maneuver, the DPS clerk will immediately stop the driving test, and it will result in automatic failure.


These are the skills you should practice until they are mastered:


• Backing/Reversing in a straight line

• Parallel Parking

• Approaching intersections

• Turning

• Stopping in regular traffic conditions

• Controlling the vehicle

• Observing traffic

• Maintaining vehicle position (turning, stopping, etc.)

• Using signals


Make sure you can successfully do the following driving maneuvers before scheduling an appointment for a Driving Skills Road Test:


  • Pre-Drive Tasks:  You must be able to successfully adjust the mirrors, fasten your seat belt, and know where the vehicle controls are located, and how to use them (headlights, windshield wipers, turn signals, etc.). You will be asked to demonstrate how to turn on vehicle controls at the beginning of your test.
  • Parallel Parking:  First, You must signal before beginning the maneuver. You must use your mirrors and turn your body to place the vehicle within the parking space. You must signal again before leaving the parking space.
  • Quick Stop:  You may be asked to stop the car as quickly as possible driving not more than 20 miles per hour without skidding the tires.
  • Backing or Reversing:  You must back the car slowly, smoothly, and in a straight line for a distance of about 60 feet.
  • Stop Signs:  You must completely stop at stop signs behind the white intersection line, and observe right-of-way at intersections.
  • Traffic Signals:  You must look for and correctly obey all traffic signals and signs.
  • Intersections:  You must be in the proper lane, slow down, and look carefully in all directions for oncoming traffic before entering an intersection.
  • Turns:  You must correctly turn (left or right) into the correct lane using your turn signal and controlled steering and acceleration.
  • Right-of-Way:  You must observe right-of-way laws, and yield the right-of-way, if necessary
  • Safe Operating Space:  You must maintain a safe following distance (4 second minimum), a safe passing distance, and a safe distance when changing lanes. If it is raining or foggy the day of your test, you should increase your following distance.
  • Correct Posture:  You must keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times, unless they are reversing


During the driving skills test, the DPS evaluator will be looking and grading to see if you:


    • Use your turn signals, when appropriate
    • Check your mirrors at regular intervals and look over your shoulder, when necessary
    • Keep both hands on the steering wheel unless you are backing up
    • Check traffic regularly
    • Stop completely behind crosswalk or limit line
    • Stop smoothly without the vehicle jerking
    • Signal 100 feet before starting a turn or changing lanes
    • Adjust speed for safety when turning
    • Adjust speed for safety when turning
    • Check mirrors when turning and changing lanes
    • Look over your shoulder for the blind spot when turning or changing lanes
    • Look both ways at all intersections
    • See and react appropriately to hazards
    • Begin and end a turning maneuver in the correct lane


Schedule Your Driving Skills Road Test


Your parent must drive with you to the Driving Skills Road Test. You can schedule a driving test online if you plan to test at a local Texas DPS Driver License Office. The online appointment is scheduled using your Texas Learner License number.


Before the Driving Test


You must ask all questions before the driving test begins. Once the test begins, the Texas DPS official is not allowed to engage in general conversation. During the exam you must be quiet, and answer only when spoken to by the DPS official.


Vehicle Inspection


You must present your Texas Learner License to the Texas DPS employee, and your vehicle must pass an inspection to ensure it is safe and can be legally operated on Texas roadways. The customer service representative will check for:


1)  two (2) license plates permanently attached to the front and back of the vehicle (no dealership plates)


2)  working speedometer


3)  working horn


4)  working turn signals on the front and back of the vehicle


5)  current vehicle registration and inspection


6)  applicant listed as covered under current insurance


7)  at least one rear view mirror inside or outside of the vehicle


8)  front passenger door that opens normally from the inside and outside


9)  working seat belt


10)  driving restrictions on the driver (eye glasses, etc.)


11)  working brake lights, headlights, and taillights


12)  working windshield wipers


Test Results


After your driving skills test, the DPS evaluator will inform you if you passed or failed the test. You will receive detailed feedback on all the areas you were evaluated on. If you do not pass the driving test, your application will be held at the Texas DPS Driver License Office for 90 days. After 90 days, or if you fail the driving skills test three (3) times, you will have to submit a new Texas Driver License application and pay another application fee.


So – take your time, and be prepared before you take your Texas Driving Skills Test. Practice driving with an adult who can evaluate your driving based upon the list I outlined above.  Practice driving on the roadways around the DPS Driver License Office where you plan to take your test. This will make you feel more familiar and confident. You can practice your parallel parking at the facility too. Good Luck!