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Apply for South Carolina Drivers License

Apply for South Carolina Drivers License

Most of the persons who apply for a South Carolina drivers license are dumbfounded by the amount of information that they need to sift through in order to get the application procedure details. The situation is complicated even more by the fact that teenagers and adults have to follow different application procedures. Throw a number of different licenses available into the mix and things get confused even more. We hope that our step-by-step instructions will make the process of applying for a drivers license in South Carolina a little less confusing for you and you will be driving in no time at all.

Application for Drivers License - Under 18 Years of Age

Those who want to apply for a South Carolina drivers license before their 18th birthday should be aware of the fact that they are required to meet many additional licensing requirements that do not concern older applicants. These requirements are known as the South Carolina graduate driver's license program and under the program, you are required to go through a number of intermediate stages before you achieve a full unrestricted driver license. If you are not in the rush, you should probably wait until your 18th birthday before applying for a driver license, it will save you both time and money.

If you're not convinced, visit the Department of Motor Vehicles and file your application for a South Carolina drivers permit. At that point, you will take a vision exam and a knowledge test on South Carolina driving rules. The permit needs to be held for not less than 180 days before you can go ahead and apply for a driver license. During these months, the DMV requires you to complete an approved South Carolina driver education course, practice driving with parents for at least 40 hours (10 of these hours must be done at night) and keep a clean driving record. There are other restrictions for you to observe during this stage, so make sure to check them out.

When the above requirements are met and you have your PDLA form, visit the DMV and apply for your first driving license. You will be required to take a road test at this point. The type of the license that you will receive depends on your age. If you are between 15 and 16 years of age, you are granted a conditional drivers license. Applicants between 16 and 17 years of age are awarded with a special restricted license. Those who are at least 17 years of age can obtain a full unrestricted South Carolina driver's license.

You may have guessed this from the names, but we shall mention this anyway: the conditional license and the special restricted license do not grant you full driving privileges and you must observe South Carolina drivers license restrictions that are applicable to this type of license under the graduated license law. When you meet all of the graduated license requirements are met, your license is upgraded to a full unrestricted driver license.

Applying for Driving License - 18 Years of Age and Older

Applying for a driver's license in South Carolina is much easier when you are at least 18 years of age. At this age, graduated license rules do not apply to you and you can follow a simplified application process.

You must start by obtaining a South Carolina driving permit. The permit will give you a chance to practice driving, but you have to pass the knowledge test and go through vision screening first. Keep in mind that the permit won't grant you full driving privileges and you will need to observe all South Carolina driver permit restrictions up until the point when you get a drivers license. The permit needs to be held for at least 180 days before you can go ahead and take a driving test.

Although the DMV does not require you to participate in any programs at this stage, we advise that you take one or two driving lessons with a professional driving instructor before you attempt to tackle the driving test at the DMV. The instructor will even be able to run a mock test for you and tell you whether you are prepared for taking the real exam.

Once you pass the driving test, you are issued with a full unrestricted South Carolina driving license. There are no limitation or restrictions for you to observe after that point.

Required Testing

Every first time drivers license applicant is required to take three tests: the vision exam, the knowledge test and the drivers license test. Your application will not be satisfied until you pass all of these tests.

Vision Test

Is there even a need to stress the importance of seeing well when it comes to driving? Surely, you realize that the vehicle you're traveling in is capable to cover great distances in the matter of seconds, so you must be able to see well ahead. In addition to that, you must also have proper peripheral vision that will allow you to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. The following minimum vision requirements must be met when you apply for a South Carolina drivers license:

  • visual acuity 20/40 or better in each eye
  • visual field of at least 110 degrees

If you do not meet these requirements, you are referred to an eye care specialist that will examine your sight and provide a complete report for the DMV. In certain cases, your driving privilege may be restricted to operating vehicles during daylight hours only. If your eye sight is well below the minimum standard and the situation cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, you may be denied the privilege to drive.

Driver Permit Test

One thing that does not stop to amaze us is the number of people who fail the drivers permit test the first time they take it. The DMV tells you exactly what you need to study, they provide you with a free book, practice tests and all these materials, yet most of the people just ignore all these things, go down to the DMV and fail.

Don't want to me among those who fail? Then just go ahead and study the rules before you take the DMV permit test in South Carolina. Read the book, then take a drivers practice test for South Carolina, check your score and revisit the chapters of the book that you may have missed. Once you start getting a stable score of at least 80-90 percent, you are good to go down to the DMV and take the test.

Drivers License Test

Taking a driving test is the final step of the application process. Drivers testing is conducted by the DMV and you will need to schedule the exam in advance, road tests are not given on walk in basis.

Although most people are under the impression that during the driving test, the examiner assesses only their ability to control the vehicle, this is not exactly true. The drivers license test in South Carolina was designed to test your overall driving skills, and that involves being able to apply your knowledge of the driving rules and regulations. This means that reviewing the South Carolina drivers license handbook prior to taking the road test may be a very good idea.

Paperwork Requirements

When you apply for a driver license in South Carolina, you are required to provide the following documents:

  • proof of identity
  • proof of birth date
  • Social Security Number
  • proof of South Carolina residency
  • proof of US citizenship or legal presence

If you are under 18 years of age when you submit your application for a driver license, you must also provide the PDLA form that proves that you successfully completed a drivers education program and the supervised driving hours.