We know that taking your Texas 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 Texas, what you can expect on the road test itself, and then we recommend you practice a lot. Here we break down exactly what you need to know to pass your Texas road test.
What to know before your Texas road test
First, you need to have a road test scheduled. There are no walk-ins. Save time and book your Texas road test online. Feel free to book your test at any testing site in Texas, it doesn't have to be in the county where you live. To book online, just make sure that either 1) if you're a teenager: that you're over 16 and have had your learner's permit for at least 6 months or 2) if you're an adult: that you've already applied for your driver's license and passed the knowledge test. If you don't meet either of these two, you'll need to go the DMV in person to schedule your road test.
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 Texas 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.
What are the vehicle requirements for my Texas Road Test?
We've seen people show up on the day of their road test and be denied testing because their car did not meet Texas requirements. Here's what your testing vehicle needs to have:
- Current registration and inspection sticker
- Two license plates (make sure the front plate is attached to the bumper)
- Key safety requirements: working speedometer, horn, rearview mirror, seatbelts and windshield wipers.
- The passenger door must open from the inside and outside. And finally, all the lights need to work: brake lights, turn signal lights in front and back, headlights and taillights.
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 service for the Texas road test which you can reserve ahead of time online.
What to expect the day of your Texas road test
First off, get to the DMV early! We recommend arriving 15 minutes before your road test. If you're late, you'll have to reschedule. You'll check in either at the counter or computer (some locations have these). After check-in, the DMV rep will ask you and your sponsor to drive around to the side of the DMV for the test.
An examiner will meet you at your car and ask for the car insurance and registration. In Texas, your inspection and registration are on the same sticker, so most examiners will just look at your car sticker to very registration, but it’s good to have your paper copy on hand just in case. Then, the licensed driver will get out of the car (and can wait inside) while the examiner starts the test with you, which begins with the vehicle safety check. They'll ask you to show working lights, turn signals, hand signals and horn.
Then it's the driving portion of the test, which is 10-15 minutes. At the Houston DMV, for example, you'll be asked to parallel park first at the DMV then drive out to the road for the rest of the test. At the McMullen testing site, the 3 blocks around the DMV is where most of the test is done. Every DMV operates slightly differently and may test the maneuvers in a different order, but you can expect to be tested on these:
- Backing in a straight line
- Parallel parking
- Right and left turns (remember to always use your turn signal)
- Stopping in regular traffic
- Observing traffic
- Controlling the vehicle
A few tips based on where we see people get points off the most. When turning, always make sure you start and end in the same lane. Keep both hands on the wheel at all times (except when backing up) and use your mirrors in addition to looking over your shoulder. Many people get points off for only using their mirrors, so make sure to actually turn and look! Finally, when stopping at stop signs and red lights, make sure you're completely behind the line. This is another mistake many people make.
If you need any refreshers on signs, maneuvers or safety, check the Texas Drivers Handbook.
What happens after my Texas road test?
Congratulations on making it this far! At the end, your examiner will give you a print out of your score sheet so you can see what, if any, points you got off. Didn’t pass? Not to worry, most people pass by their second try. The examiners are usually happy to talk through anything you missed. Each time, make sure you have a licensed driver and car for your road test. In the meantime, keep practice and reschedule when you feel ready. 🙂