We know that taking your Michigan driving skills test can be nerve-wracking. With a little preparation and insight into the test itself, there’s nothing to be worried about. This guide will make sure you know the specific requirements in Michigan, what you can expect on the test itself and give our best practice tips. Here’s exactly what you need to know to pass your Michigan driving skills test.
What to know before your Michigan driving skills test
In Michigan, driving skills tests are done entirely by third-party testing sites. You can schedule an appointment by calling the testing site nearest you. This means for your driving skills test, you won't be going to a DMV or Secretary of State facility, but a third party site. When you call, also be sure to ask what forms of payment they accept and confirm their fees, since each site operates differently.
Next, make sure you have valid registration and insurance for the vehicle you’ll be taking your test in. You’ll need these documents when you check-in for your test. Also, make sure your testing vehicle meets Michigan requirements, and that you have a licensed driver to accompany you to your road test. We’ve listed out the car requirements for you in the next section, to make it easier to go through and check off each one.
Once you verified your driving skills test, paperwork, and car requirements, it’s time for more practice. In Michigan, unlike a few other states, you can practice in the area around the site where you scheduled your test. We strongly recommend that you do, as this is likely where part of your road test will be. Take time and get to know the area.
What are the vehicle requirements for the Michigan driving skills test?
Many people are denied testing because their car doesn’t meet Michigan requirements. We recommend checking these and checking them again. Here’s what your road test vehicle needs:
- Current registration, insurance, and inspection sticker
- A windshield with no cracks or debris that would obstruct the view
- Key safety requirements: working speedometer, horn, rearview mirror, seatbelts, and windshield wipers.
- Working doors: the driver and passenger doors must open from the inside and outside.
- Working lights: brake lights, turn signal lights in front and back, headlights and taillights.
- No service or warning lights illuminated on the dashboard
If you don’t have a vehicle that meets all of these requirements or a licensed driver to take you to your road test, you have a few options. You can get a car through a driving school, see if a friend or family can accompany you with their car, or Skip offers a car and driver for the Michigan driving skills test which you can reserve ahead of time online.
What to know the day of your Michigan driving skills test
First, we recommend getting there early! If you're late they may ask you to reschedule. Be sure you have your driver's license fee, which is $25. Here is a breakdown of how your test will go at the third-party testing site where your test is schedule:
Vehicle Inspection (5 minutes - not scored): This is where the examiner will go through the safety check with you. First, they'll inspect the vehicle to make sure it meets all of the car requirements listed above, then they'll ask you to show them the car's hazard lights, left and right blinker, horn as well as hand signals.
Basic Control Skills (10 minutes - scored): This portion of the test happens before you go out to the road and its purpose is to test a few basic skills. You'll be asked to perform three maneuvers: stopping at a line, backing into a space, and parallel parking. If you get more than 6 points off in this section, your test will end there and you won't be able to continue to the next section.
On-street driving test (30 minutes to 1 hour - scored): This portion of the test will be out on the road. In the next section, we've listed out exactly what you need to know for this part of the test.
On the Michigan driving skills test, you can get up to 25 points off and still pass. Expect your test to last between 45 minutes - 1 hour. Even though the test is longer than in other states, every minute counts so take your time. You’ll think and perform better if you don't rush. 🙂
If you'd like a refresh on any Michigan signs, safety or maneuvers, feel free to check out the Michigan Driving Skills Test Study Guide.
What driving maneuvers are on the Michigan driving skills test?
These are the maneuvers you can expect on your road test. We recommend practicing these until they are comfortable. Here’s what to know:
- Parallel parking: Be sure to actually turn your head and look behind you, instead of just using your rearview mirrors.
- Backing: You must back for about 100 feet in a straight line and do so smoothly. Again, remember to actually turn and look. You will get points off if you don't.
- Stopping at a line and intersections: Be sure to stop at least 2 feet in front of the line (you should be able to see it). If you cross it, you will get points off.
- Left and right turns: Always signal well ahead of time and make sure you are turning into the same lane you are turning from.
- Expressway/rural highway driving
- Railroad crossing: Remember if you need to stop for a train, you must stay behind the stop sign until it's safe to proceed.
- Turning the fan/radio on/off while driving: You'll likely be asked to do one of these, so make sure you've practiced doing this while driving.
Lastly, during your road test, it’s highly likely that your examiner will be taking notes. This is nothing to worry about! The examiner may simply be checking off requirements as you complete them. Keep your eyes on the road and not on your examiner, and you’ll do just fine.
What happens after my Michigan driving skills test?
Congratulations on making it this far! If you passed, the examiner will let you know where to go to get your temporary license. Your actual laminated license will come in the mail within 15 days. If you failed, not to worry, most people pass by their second try. You may reschedule as soon as 24 hours later. Each time your driving skills test in Michigan, you’ll need to have a licensed driver with you and car. In the meantime, keep practicing and re-schedule your road test when you feel ready!