Illinois Drivers Test
If you are trying to obtain a drivers license in Illinois and you have never been licensed in another state, you will be required to take the Illinois drivers test at some point. If you are under 18 years of age, you may be able to take your Illinois drivers license test as part of the drivers education program if your drivers ed provider participates in the Cooperative Driver Testing Program. If you want to make sure that you pass the Illinois driving test the first time you take it, you should get as much driving practice hours as you can prior to chancing the real road exam. The Secretary of State recommends that you receive at least 50 hours of supervised driving instruction prior to taking a drivers license test, however there is no law that prevents you from exceeding this time.
Driver's License Test Requirements
Taking a drivers license test is the final step in the process of applying for an Illinois drivers license, so you will have to meet certain requirements before you can take this step. Requirements are age dependent, since all driver's license applicants under 18 years of age have to follow the Illinois graduated license rules.
Under 18 Years of Age
If you are 17 years 3 months or younger, you are required to complete an Illinois drivers education course prior to applying for a drivers license. In fact, you must enroll in the program even before you apply for a drivers permit, so signing up for the course should be your first step. You can make this step as soon as you turn 15, just visit a local driving school or check with your high school officials whether the course is offered at your school. Once you are signed up, visit a local SOS Drivers testing center, submit the required paperwork and take the Illinois drivers permit test. If the paperwork checks out and you pass the test, you are issued with an Illinois drivers permit and you can start your driving lessons.
You will have to hold your permit for at least nine months before you become eligible to take your Illinois driving test. During this time, you must observe all Illinois permit restrictions and keep a clean driving record. If you are convicted of a moving violation during this period, the holding time is reset and you have to wait another nine months before you become eligible for a drivers license test. You must also complete your drivers education program and receive at least 50 hour of supervised driving instructions from your parents or another eligible driver, including 10 hours at nighttime.
Please note that even though the minimum permit holding period is nine months, you have to be at least 16 years of age in order to be able to take an Illinois drivers test.
18 Years of Age and Older
If you are at least 18 years old, the graduated drivers license law does not apply to you, so you do not have to meet its requirements. All you have to do is visit a drivers license testing center, take a drivers permit test, receive your learners permit and practice driving. If you are looking for ways to prepare for the Illinois permit test, you may download a free copy of the Illinois driver's license manual from the SOS website and study the rules outlined there. Once you are done with the manual, help yourself to some free Illinois driver practice tests.
Please note that once you receive a drivers permit, you cannot practice driving alone and must have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age with at least one year of driving experience accompany you. Once you feel that you are ready, go ahead and schedule your Illinois driver's test with the SOS.
Scheduling the Drivers License Test
Drivers license testing is conducted per appointment only, so you will have to schedule the test in advance. There are two ways for you to schedule your Illinois driving test appointment - you can either call the SOS or you may visit a local SOS Drivers services office and schedule an appointment in person. Keep in mind that in order to secure the date that is convenient for you, you have to schedule your drivers test appointment well in advance. Summer months are usually the busiest since school's out and many teens choose this time to apply for an Illinois driver's license.
Cooperative Driver Testing Program
The SOS runs a Cooperative Drivers Testing Program and encourages high schools and commercial driving schools to conduct drivers license testing as part of the drivers education course. If your drivers ed course provider participates in the program, you may not have to take your road test at the SOS. In order to be eligible for this exemption, you must receive a grade of A or B on your drivers education course.
The SOS reserves the right to randomly test students who completed their driving test through the CDTP. This means that even though you might have already completed the driving test as school, you may have to retake the Illinois SOS drivers test at one of the state testing sites.
Things To Bring / What to Expect
One thing that you definitely have to bring is the vehicle. The vehicle that you provide for the test must be currently registered, titled and carry adequate insurance. The car should also be in good mechanical condition. If it does not satisfy any of these requirements, you will be denied taking the drivers license test.
During your drivers test, only you and the driving examiner will be present in the vehicle. You are not allowed to bring pets, parents or pals with you.
During the test, you will be expected to do the following:
- Start the vehicle - Check your vehicle controls, such as parking brake and mirrors. All the required equipment listed in Chapter 12 of the state drivers manual must be working properly. Make all adjustments to seats, safety belts, mirrors and other equipment before you move your vehicle.
- Back the vehicle - You will back the vehicle about 50 feet at a slow speed, straight and smoothly. Turn your head to the right and watch to the rear as you back.
- Turn about - You will turn around by using an alley on the left side of the street. Turn your left signal on before turning into the alley. Back the car out of the alley and stay on your side of the street.
- Park uphill - Turn on the signal for the side of the road on which you are going to park. Stop your vehicle parallel to the side of the road. If there is a curb against which you can wedge your front wheel, turn the front wheels sharply away from the curb. Your vehicle will roll against the curb. Set the parking brake or put the gear selector in “Park.” If there is no curb or a low curb, turn your wheels toward the side of the road on which you are parked. Set your parking brake or put the gear selector in “Park.” If your vehicle rolls, it should not roll into traffic.
- Start uphill - Release the parking brake, give the correct signal and look back. When it is safe, pull slowly out onto the street.
- Park downhill - Signal to the side of the road where you wish to park. Stop the vehicle parallel to the road. Whether there is a curb or not, always turn the wheels toward the side of the road where you are parked. When there is a curb, let your vehicle roll against the curb. Set the parking brake or place the gear selector in "Park". If your vehicle rolls, it should not roll into traffic.
- Start downhill - Release your parking brake and relieve pressure on your tires by backing a little. Turn your wheels from the side of the road and use your turn signal. Look for oncoming traffic. When it is safe, pull slowly onto the street.
- Control your vehicle - You must obey all signs, controls and rights-of-way. Care must be taken to observe lane markings and give turn signals correctly.
If you successfully meet the requirements of the Illinois drivers test, you will be issued with a drivers license. Drivers license applicants under 18 years of age will receive a provisional drivers license and will have to follow all Illinois provisional drivers license restrictions.
There is only one way to guarantee that your pass your Illinois driving test the first time you take it - and that is receiving as many hours of driving instruction as possible. Experience is everything, the more you practice, the better you become. Try to practice with a relative who has the most driving experience as you're sure to receive some helpful advise. Finally, taking a driving lesson with a professional never hurts - a professional driving instructor could run a mock up Illinois driving test for you and give you tips on what things need to be improved.