We know that taking your Tennessee driving test can be nerve-wracking. With a little preparation and insight into the test itself, there's nothing to be worried about. To start, make sure you know the specific requirements, that you understand what you'll be tested on, and then practice a lot. Here we break down exactly what you need to know to pass your Tennessee road test.
What to know before your Tennessee road test
First, you'll need to have a road test scheduled. There are no walk-ins. Save time and make a road test appointment online. Next, make sure you have the current registration and insurance for the vehicle you'll be using for your test. You'll need these when you check in at the DMV. Then, you'll need to make sure your vehicle meets all of the state requirements and that you have a licensed driver to accompany you to your road test. We've listed out the car requirements for you below, to make it easier to go through and check off each one.
Once you confirm your road test date, paperwork, and vehicle, it's time for more practice. Specifically, we recommend you practice the maneuvers listed below in the neighborhood around the DMV where your road test is scheduled. Pay special attention to anything unusual like closures and construction -- examiners love to add these into the test.
What are the vehicle requirements for the Tennessee road test?
We've seen many people not be able to take their test because their car did not meet these requirements. So check and check again. We also recommend you take the time to learn how all the controls work. Here's what your testing vehicle needs to have in Tennessee:
- Current registration and insurance
- A windshield with no cracks or debris that would obstruct the view
- At least 1/2 a tank of gas
- Tires properly inflated
- Driver and passenger doors that open and close properly from inside and outside
- Working lights: headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals as well as a working horn and rearview mirror
If you don't have a vehicle that meets all of these requirements and/or a sponsor 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 Tennessee road test which you can reserve ahead of time online.
What to know the day of your Tennessee road test
First, get to the DMV early! If you're late, the DMV will ask you to reschedule. We recommend arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled test time.
After check-in, your licensed driver will drive you both around to the side of the DMV where you'll see marked lanes to wait for your road test. An examiner will come out and meet you, verify the registration and insurance for the vehicle and ask for your permit. Then your licensed driver will get out of the vehicle, you'll move over to the driver's seat and the examiner will begin the test, which starts with the vehicle safety check. The examiner will ask you to show working lights, turns signals, hand signals and horn.
Then it's time for the driving portion, which is about 15 minutes. Each testing location is a bit different so again, we recommend getting familiar with the road test area before taking the test.
What driving maneuvers will be on the Tennessee road test?
Before taking your road test we recommend practicing these maneuvers:
- Reverse 2-point parking. Where you drive past the parking space and then back into the space.
- Observe right-of-way: allow pedestrians to cross. Remember to pull over and stop for emergency vehicles to pass and don't enter an intersection where you'll interfere with other traffic.
- Stop quickly: be able to make a quick and safe stop when the examiner instructs you to at 20 mph.
- Backing up: back for a distance of 50 feet at a slow speed while turning your head and looking over your right shoulder to the rear. You cannot use a back-up camera on your test, so don't rely on this. We've seen many people get points off for not actually turning and looking.
- Signal and turn: get into the proper lane and signal your turn for the last *200 feet*. Right and left turns will be on your test. Even though they're basic, don't forget to practice these.
- Passing: always look ahead and behind to make sure you can pass safely.
- Follow at a safe distance: don't follow too close behind other cars. Keep a minimum following distance of three to four seconds.
In addition to the above, make sure to watch for bike lanes and pedestrians. Also remember to always be checking your mirrors, in addition, to actually turning and looking.
What happens after my Tennessee road test?
First off, congrats on taking your road test! If you passed, you'll go right back into the DMV where they will issue you your temporary license. Your actual laminated license will come in the mail to you. If you failed, not to worry, most people pass by their second try. Each time, make sure you have a licensed driver and car for your road test. In the meantime, practice what you missed and reschedule when you feel ready. 🙂