Michigan Drivers Test
Taking a drivers license test is the final step in the process of applying for a Michigan drivers license. For all first time drivers license applicants, taking a Michigan driving test is mandatory, drivers who currently hold a drivers license issued by another state, Canada or Germany may be exempt from taking a road skills exam. Drivers testing in Michigan is conducted by third-party testing agencies that are licensed by the Secretary of State, the SOS itself does not provide driver's license testing. The key to passing the Michigan drivers test is practicing as much as possible, experience is everything when it comes to driving.
Drivers License Test Requirements
The statement that taking a drivers test is the final step in the licensing process should have already tipped you off. Yes, you cannot just visit the drivers license testing station and take your Michigan driving test, you will need to meet a number of requirements before taking a road skills exam. Michigan drivers license test requirements are age dependent, since drivers under the age of 18 are subject to Michigan's graduated drivers license program.
Under 18 Years of Age
We have to tell you that should you choose to take a Michigan driving test before the age of 18 years, you will have it tough. Michigan's graduated drivers license system is very strict and requires you to complete two levels of drivers education classes. Considering the effort, you may just as well wait until you are 18 and take your drivers test then.
If you are not convinced and still want to try and take a driving test before you are 18 years of age, start by signing up for a Michigan drivers education class. At this point, you need to sign up for and complete a segment one drivers ed course. You will also take a learners permit test as part of your drivers ed course. Once the program is completed, you are provided with a green certificate of completion that must be taken to an SOS office along with other paperwork, where you can receive a first level drivers license. Your first level drivers license is similar to drivers permits that are issued in other states.
Once you have your level 1 license, you can start practicing driving with a parent, legal guardian or a licensed driver at least 21 years of age. You must hold a level one drivers license for at least six months before you become eligible for a Michigan driver's test. During this period, you must complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving with parent, including 10 hours at nighttime, and sign up for and complete a segment 2 drivers education course. If you meet these requirements, you are good to call a testing station near you and schedule a test for a Michigan drivers license.
If you think that this is it, you are wrong. Once you pass the driver's test, you are issued with a level 2 drivers license that still comes with various restrictions. So once again, think twice whether taking a Michigan driver's test before reaching the age of 18 years is worth it.
18 Years of Age and Older
Those who choose to wait until they are at least 18 years of age before receiving a Michigan drivers license have it much easier, since there are no graduated license rules to observe. If you are applying for a license at this age, go down to a nearest SOS office and take a Michigan permit test there. The test covers the state driving rules and road signs and you can prepare for it by reading the Michigan drivers handbook and taking free Michigan drivers practice tests.
When you pass the test, you are issued with a Michigan temporary instruction permit (TIP). The permit is intended to give you a chance to practice driving, but not to provide you with full driving privileges, hence you must observe all Michigan temporary permit restrictions while driving. The permit must be held for at least 30 days before you can schedule a Michigan driving test and receive a drivers license.
Scheduling A Driving Test
Since drivers license testing in Michigan is conducted by third party testers and not the SOS, you will not be able to schedule a driving test online through the SOS website. Instead, you will need to follow this procedure.
Look up drivers testing centers in your area. You can locate driver testing centers around you by looking them up in the yellow pages or on the SOS website. Write out details for at least 4-5 testing centers around you, then call each one of them. Make sure to ask about testing dates that are available and how much you will be charged, since the SOS does not set the price for the test.
Things to Bring / What to Expect
One thing you should really concern yourself with is the vehicle that you will use for the test. The vehicle should be registered, titled and carry proper car insurance. The vehicle must also be in good technical condition, with working seat belts. If the car does not meet any of these requirements, you may be denied a chance to take your Michigan driving test.
Those who are under 18 years of age must bring the following documents to the drivers testing station:
- certificate of completion for segment 2 drivers education (white certificate)
- level 1 drivers license
- a completed log form for 50 hours of driving, signed by a parent or legal guardian
Those who are at least 18 years of age must bring the following paperwork:
- a temporary instruction permit that was issued at least 30 days prior to the test date
You must also be driven to the testing site or have a supervising driver accompany you. The driving test in Michigan consist of two parts, the first one is conducted on a closed-course and requires you to perform a number of maneuvers that should prove that you have proper control of the vehicle. During this part of the drivers license test, you may be asked to perform such maneuvers as a U-turn, a Y-turn and parallel parking. This part of the test should take approximately 10 minutes and if you pass, you proceed to the second part of the drivers license test.
The second part of the Michigan drivers test is conducted on regular streets and you will need to demonstrate that you know the state driving rules and can apply this knowledge in real life situations. If you have practiced enough, this part of the driving test is easy since all you have to do is to demonstrate that you have developed safe driving habits. This section of the driving test will take 30-45 minutes.
Here is a list of things that will get you failed on the driving test, make sure not to commit any of them:
- Disregarding instructions or refusal to perform instructed maneuver.
- Refusal to wear a safety belt, unless you have a physician’s statement or waiver
- Causing an accident
- Committing a traffic violation
- Driving too slow, if you cannot maintain the minimum posted speed limit on the expressway (unless traffic or weather warrants lower speeds)
- Stall the vehicle resulting in hazardous action or obstructing traffic
- Lose control of the vehicle causing the examiner to take evasive action or assume control of the vehicle
If you fail the test, you can retake it the next business day, but we advise that you wait a little longer and practice things outlined by the driving examiner.
Those who pass the drivers test are provided with a receipt that must be taken to an SOS office where you can submit your application for a Michigan drivers license. You are issued with a temporary permit on the spot, while your actual license is mailed to you within a few weeks.
Keep in mind that every first time license applicant is issued with a probationary Michigan drivers license first. The probationary license period lasts three years. Teen drivers must still observe all Michigan drivers license restrictions that are forced onto them by the graduated license law.