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Tennessee Drivers Test

Tennessee Driving Test

Every state requires first time license applicants to prove that they are no strangers to driving rules and are able to control a vehicle and that is what the Tennessee drivers test is all about. Completion of the Tennessee driving test is mandatory for all first time license applicants and can be waived if you currently hold a valid drivers license issued by another state. Teenagers must satisfy graduated license program requirements before they can take a drivers license test in Tennessee. Making an appointment for the Tennessee driver test is a must and you may do so either through the Department of Safety website or by contacting the DOS over the phone.

Driver Test Requirements

Since taking a drivers license test is one of the final steps in the process of applying for a drivers license, you must meet certain requirements and follow a number of procedures before you get to this point. Those who wish to take the DOS driving test before their 18th birthday must meet the requirements of Tennessee's graduated drivers license program. The program was designed to allow teenagers to gain some driving experience before granting them with full driving privileges and this is achieved by breaking the licensing process into a number of separate steps or levels. Adult drivers license applicants are not required to follow the program, however they must meet the same testing requirements.

Under 18 Years of Age

You can enter the program once you are at least 15 years old, since you become eligible for a Tennessee driver's permit at this age. Visit a local DOS office, file all of the required paperwork, go through vision screening and take a drivers permit test. If you meet these requirements, you are issued with a driver permit and you can start practicing for your Tennessee driving test.

Remember that the permit was issued to you for the sole purpose of preparing for the drivers license test and you have to observe all Tennessee driving permit restrictions whenever you are behind the wheel. You are not allowed to drive alone and must have a licensed driver at least 21 years of age accompany you when you're driving. The permit must be held for at least 180 days before you can go ahead and take the road test. During this period, you must receive at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice from a parent, legal guardian or a professional driving instructor.

Those who meet the above requirements are good to schedule their Tennessee driving test. Remember that even if you successfully complete the road skills exam, you cannot be granted with a full license if you are under 18 years of age. You are awarded with an intermediate restricted license and you will have to make sure to follow all Tennessee intermediate restricted license restrictions until you proceed to the next level of the graduated license program.

18 Years of Age and Older

Adult drivers license applicants are not required to apply for a learners permit prior to taking a drivers license test, however you may wish to do so to have a chance to practice driving before you hit the Tennessee road test. Visit one of the Drivers License Service centers, file the required paperwork, take a vision test and the Tennessee driver's permit test that covers the state traffic rules and safe driving practices. If you wish to see what the test is like, feel free to take a Tennessee practice drivers test first.

Once you pass the test, you can have the DOS issue you with a drivers permit that will allow you to practice driving while being supervised by a licensed driver at least 21 years of age. You do not have to do this, but if you don't, you will not be able to drive until you pass your Tennessee drivers test and receive your driver's license.

Scheduling The Drivers License Test

The DOS provides a number of convenient options for scheduling an appointment for the driver's license test in Tennessee. The easiest way to schedule an appointment is to do it through the DOS website. The website is available to you around the clock and it contains a lot of additional information on state driving rules and licensing procedures, so you can browser around while there. The site can be found at tn.gov/safety.

Those who feel more comfortable scheduling an appointment on the phone can call the support line at 1-866-849-3548. The TDD service is available at 615-532-2281.

You may schedule an appointment for the driving test in Tennessee up to 90 days in advance. To ensure that you get the date that you want, make an appointment as early as possible. If you need to reschedule, contact the DOS at least 24 hours prior to your appointment time.

Things to Bring / What to Expect

Those who chose not apply for a drivers permit will need to bring the following paperwork to the testing site:

  • proof of Tennessee residency
  • proof of identity
  • proof of age
  • Social Security Number
  • proof of citizenship or lawful presence

Those who are under 18 years of age on the day of the driving test appointment must have a parent or legal guardian present at the testing site. The parent must sign a Teenage affidavit/ financial responsibility form and provide certification of 50 hours behind the wheel driving experience. Proof of school attendance or completion is also required.

It is up to you to prove a vehicle for the Tennessee road test, the DOS does not have any vehicles reserved for drivers license testing. The vehicle must be in good mechanical condition, be registered and insured. All of the equipment should be working.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your drivers test appointment to allow sufficient time for verifying your paperwork. Your drivers license examiner will also conduct a quick safety inspection of your vehicle.

During the driving test, you may be asked to do the following:

  • Preparation. Do you have your seat belt on, have you checked the mirrors and adjusted the seat belt if required?
  • Starting the vehicle. Check for other cars. Signal and wait until it is safe to pull out of the driveway or parking lot.
  • Controlling the vehicle. You have to accelerate smoothly, use the pedals and other controls correctly.
  • Intersections. Approach the intersection in the proper lane, pay attention to traffic around you, scan the intersection for pedestrians.
  • Stopping. You must stop smoothly, without endangering people following you. You may also be requested to perform an emergency stop when it is safe to do so.
  • Backing up. You have to look over your shoulder and keep the vehicle going in a straight line. You may also be asked to back into a parking lot.
  • Distance. You must keep safe distance from other cars around you at all times.
  • Sharing the road with others. This one is all about communication with other drivers, signaling while changing lanes and turning, making sure other drivers know what you are about to do.

If you contribute to a traffic accidents, that's an immediate fail, you will not be allowed to continue the exam. Other things that can lead to failing the Tennessee driving test are disobeying examiner's instructions, violating traffic laws or committing an action that is considered to be dangerous.

The test will take about 25-30 minutes and once you are done, the examiner will tell you what you did wrong and what maneuvers you may need to practice. You cannot retake the driving test the same day, the amount of time you need to wait depends on your test score and is as following:

  • 1-6 errors - Pass, no retest required
  • 7-9 errors - can reschedule for the next day
  • 10-12 errors - must wait 7 days before retesting
  • 13-15 errors - must wait 14 days
  • 16 or more errors - must wait 30 days

Use this time to practice the maneuvers outlined by your driver license examiner.

If you pass the driving test, you can be issued either with a full Tennessee drivers license or an intermediate restricted license, depending on your age.