The Ultimate Guide to Your South Carolina Road Test

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We know that taking your South Carolina road 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 South Carolina, what you can expect on the road test itself and give our best practice tips. Here’s exactly what you need to know to pass your South Carolina road test.

What to know before your South Carolina road test

First, we recommend that you have a road test scheduled. Road tests appointments are done in the afternoons from 2-4:30pm daily. You can schedule your South Carolina road test online. Walk-ins are an option (before 2pm), but you might be waiting a while. 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 at the DMV. Lastly, make sure your testing vehicle meets South Carolina 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 road test, paperwork, and car requirements, it’s time for more practice. In South Carolina, unlike a few other states, you can practice in the area around the DMV where your road test is scheduled. 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 South Carolina road test?

Many people are denied testing because their car doesn’t meet South Carolina 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 South Carolina road test which you can reserve ahead of time online.

What to know the day of your South Carolina road test

First, get to the DMV early! If you’re late, they’ll ask you to reschedule. When you arrive, you’ll go inside the DMV to check-in where you’ll wait until it’s time for your road test. Before taking the driving portion of your road test, your examiner will start with the vehicle safety check. They'll ask you to show them the car's hazard lights, left and right blinker, emergency brake as well as hand signals.

The test itself is only 10-15 minutes. It will go by quickly, so take your time. Every minute counts and you’ll think and perform better if you don’t rush. In the next section, we’ll go over exactly what you should practice to be prepared to pass your road test. 🙂

What will I be tested on for the South Carolina road 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: Be sure you're able to stop quickly as well as smoothly.
  • Three-point turns: Also known as a 'K-turn', you'll need to be able to do this on a street without hitting a curb or using a driveway.
  • Yielding the right of way: Always do so for pedestrians, motor vehicles, bicyclists, or anyone else who has moved into an intersection before you.
  • Starting and stopping on grades: Remember your parking brake and be sure to signal when pulling out.
  • Turning: Make sure you signal at least 100 feet before turning and remember to turn into the same lane you are turning from.
  • Passing: Be sure to signal and pass at a safe distance.

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.

For a refresher on signs, safety, and maneuvers, you can check out the South Carolina Driver's Manual.

What happens after my South Carolina road test?

Congratulations on making it this far! If you passed, the tester will let you know where to go to get your license. If you failed, not to worry, most people pass by their second try. You can re-test as soon as one week later. If you fail on your third attempt or more, you need to wait 60 days before you can test again. Each time you take your road test in South Carolina, 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.  

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