Driving Test Criteria

Driver Education illustration

Section 3 of 8

Pre-Drive Checklist (Safety Criteria)

Before you begin your driving test, the DMV examiner will ask you to locate and/or demonstrate the following vehicle and driver safety items. If an item listed in the Pre-Drive Checklist (Items 1–8 or 15–17) on your vehicle does not pass the criteria requirement (known as a “mechanical failure”), your driving test will be rescheduled. 

If you cannot locate and/or demonstrate the operation of 4 or more items from Items 9–14, your driving test will be counted as “unsatisfactory” (failure). 

Interpreters may be used during the pre-drive inspection for the identification and use of certain controls in the vehicle, but may not accompany you during the driving test.

Only the examiner is allowed to accompany you during the driving test. Exceptions are made for training, service animals, and certain law enforcement situations.

The requirements for each Pre-Drive Checklist item (Safety Criteria) are as follows: 

1. Driver windowThe window on the driver side must open. You will be asked to open the window if the window is closed.
2. Windshield The windshield must provide a full unobstructed field of view for you and the examiner.
3. Rear-view mirrorsThe vehicle must have at least 2 mirrors. 1 must be located outside on the left side of the vehicle. The other mirror may be located inside in the center or outside on the right side of the vehicle. Mirrors must be secure, unbroken, and provide clear visibility. 
4. Turn signalsBoth right and left turn signals on the front and back of the vehicle must be operational.
5. Brake lightsBoth brake lights (1 on the right side and 1 on the left side of the vehicle) must be operational. NOTE: This does not include the center light (usually on the rear window).
6. TiresEach tire must have 1/32 inch tread depth in any 2 adjacent grooves. NOTE: The vehicle cannot have bald tires.
7. Foot brakeThere must be at least 1 inch of clearance between the pedal and the floor board when the pedal is depressed.
8. HornThe horn must be: Designed for the vehicle and in proper working condition. Loud enough to hear from a distance of at least 200 feet. NOTE: The horn cannot be a bicycle horn.
9. Emergency (Parking brake)You must be able to locate and demonstrate how to use the parking brake (set and release). NOTE: Your driving test will be rescheduled as a mechanical failure if your parking brake does not work or if the brake does not set during the check.
10. Arm signalsYou must correctly demonstrate arm signals for: Left turn. Right turn. Slowing down or stopping. 
*11. WindshieldYou must correctly locate the windshield wiper switch and/or control wipers.
*12. DefrosterYou must correctly locate the front windshield defroster button.
13. Emergency flasher (Hazard lights)You must correctly locate the emergency flasher switch/button if the warning vehicle is equipped with emergency flashers. 
*14. HeadlightsYou must correctly locate the headlight switch.
15. Passenger doorThe front passenger side door must open and close properly.
16. Glove boxThe glove box door must be securely closed.
17. Seat (Safety) beltsAll vehicles designed with seat (safety) belts must have seat (safety) belts for both you and the examiner.
All seat (safety) belts must work properly and be used by the individual(s) in the car.
*During inclement weather, the driver must demonstrate that items 11-14 work properly or the driving test will be rescheduled.