What to Expect from the Texas Driving Test

Written by Staff Writer

The last step to getting your Texas driver's license is passing the driving test. While the prospect of taking the test may make you nervous, stay calm. The more you know about what to expect, the better prepared you'll be to pass. We've outlined the process below to give you an overview of how the testing will be.

How the Test Works

The road portion of the Texas driving test is always conducted with the student in the driver seat and a Department of Public Safety customer service representative (CSR) in the passenger seat. He or she will evaluate your driving skills and ask you to perform specific driving tasks (more information below on this). As soon as your test is over, your CSR will explain any mistakes you may have made, including tips on what you could or should have done. He or she will let you know if you've passed or failed — and if you have not successfully passed, your CSR will explain the retesting process.

Vehicle Inspection

The test will officially begin with the CSR looking over the vehicle you will take your test in. You must provide your own vehicle. The CSR will make sure it's legal and that it has passed an inspection.

Taking the Road Test

Here are some guidelines to follow for the driving portion of the test. Be sure to follow all the instructions given by you CSR. Remember that he or she will not ask you to do anything illegal. And don't carry on a conversation with your CSR during the test — it's an official examination and he or she will be too busy evaluating you to talk.

What You'll Be Evaluated On

During testing, all drivers are evaluated on four basic skills:

  1. Control — Being able to make the car do what you're trying to make it do.
  2. Observation — Being able to view and respond to what other traffic is doing, particularly where problems might come into play.
  3. Positioning — Staying in your lane.
  4. Signaling — Always using your turn signals properly.

In addition to these four basics, there are many other areas your CSR will expect you to be proficient in, including these:

  • Parallel parking
  • Stopping quickly, where you are asked to stop your car as quickly as possible from a speed of around 20 mph, without causing the tires to skid
  • Backing, where you are asked to drive the car in reverse for about 15 feet as straight and smoothly as possible — Be sure to go slowly and look out the rear windshield the entire time by physically turning your head
  • Obeying all traffic signs, particularly stop signs. Remember to come to a complete stop; do not roll through
  • Obeying all traffic signals
  • Using the clutch. If you have a manual transmission car for the test, be sure to press the clutch all the way in when starting the car, shifting gears, and once the car's speed goes below 10 mph when stopping. Be sure to release the clutch once the action is complete — do not coast with the clutch pressed
  • Driving properly in an intersection. Be sure to stay in the proper lane, and slow down and look both ways before entering the intersection
  • Turning smoothly while staying in the correct lanes
  • Maintaining right of way
  • Following, passing, and maintaining the proper lane
  • Maintaining correct posture — Keep your hands on the steering wheel and do not rest your elbow on the window

You will fail the test if you perform any of the following:

  • Violate the law
  • Refuse to follow instructions
  • Drive dangerously, including having a crash
  • Have more than 30 points deducted from your test