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Apply for Wisconsin Learners Permit

Applying for a Wisconsin learners permit is the first step towards a drivers license for all first time applicants. Having a Wisconsin driver's permit will allow you to gain some driving experience before you can test for a license, minimizing the risk of you being involved in a traffic accident during your first months of driving. The application for learner permit can be submitted at any local office of the Department of Transportation. Those who choose to apply for a Wisconsin instruction permit before their 18th birthday are required to meet additional licensing requirements, as dictated by the graduated license program.

Graduated Driver License

The risk of average teenager having a traffic accident is about four times higher than that of an average older driver. A number of factors are at play here and lack of driving experience is just one of them. Teen drivers are generally more reckless and oblivious to possible consequences of their actions on the road and that is why the state had to step in. In order to reduce the number of people being injured on public roads every year, the Division of Motor Vehicles has developed a number of additional requirements and procedures that are presented before everyone who wants to apply for a Wisconsin drivers license before reaching the age of 18 years. These requirements are known as the Wisconsin graduate drivers license program. The program achieves its goals by dividing the licensing procedure into a number of steps and halting an applicant at each step for some time. This approach allows new drivers to gain some driving experience before being granted full driving privileges and thus reduces the likelihood of a traffic accident.

Testing Requirements

Every driver has to be aware of the fact that driving is a potentially lethal activity and, when approaches carelessly, can lead to drastic results. That's why before you are allowed to get behind the wheel, the DMV needs to make sure that you are physically fit and have the knowledge required for operating a vehicle. This is achieved by having you go through a number of testing procedures. When you apply for a Wisconsin drivers permit, you are required to take a vision exam and a knowledge test that covers the state driving rules and regulations.

Vision Exam

It's really hard to over-stress the importance of seeing well. You must be able to see well ahead and have proper peripheral vision too, which will ensure that you are always aware of the situation around you and if you look at the following numbers, you will see why.

Take a car traveling at 35 miles per hour. Not that fast, is it? However, this speed translates into 82 feet per second, which means that every second, your car covers the distance of 82 feet. What this should tell you is that if your eye sight only allows you to see a few hundred feet at most, you really don't have that much time to react to danger. Hence all states require drivers permit applicants to submit to vision testing at the time of the application. The following standards must be met:

  • 20/100 vision or better in at least one eye
  • 20 degree field of vision from center in at least one eye

If the above requirements are not met, an applicant may be referred to a vision specialist for recommendation. Depending on the outcome, the applicant may either have a restriction places onto the learners permit or be denied the driving privilege.

Learners Permit Test

The permit test in Wisconsin is quite similar to knowledge exams that are in place around the country. The test covers Wisconsin driving rules and regulations, road signs and safe driving practices. It consists of multiple choice questions and you can find answers to all permit test questions in the drivers permit handbook that is distributed by the DMV free of charge.

Why do you have to take a knowledge exam when applying for a Wisconsin drivers permit? The answer is quite simple - the DMV has to make sure that you know the rules on conduct on public roads. Although you may be looking for a quick fix now, searching for a way to minimize the time spent preparing for the exam, we advise that you stop and invest more time into learning the rules. After all, this is an investment into your future safety, take it seriously.

Those who would like to see whether they are ready for taking the real DMV test are more than welcome to try their wits against a Wisconsin permit practice test that covers the same rules as the real permit exam.

Paperwork Requirements

Your Wisconsin learners permit does not only grant you driving privileges, it also serves as primary means of identification, so before you are issued with a permit, the DMV needs to make sure that you are really the person you claim to be. The following paperwork needs to be presented when you apply for a Wisconsin instruction permit:

  • proof of name and date of birth
  • proof of citizenship or legal immigration status
  • proof of identity
  • proof of Wisconsin residency

There's a list of documents that are accepted for proof of identity available in the Wisconsin drivers permit handbook, so make sure to check it out. If you'll still have questions after checking the book, go ahead and get in touch with the DMV over the phone or visit a local branch in person.

Apply for a Learners Permit - Under 18 Years of Age

Those who choose to apply for a Wisconsin learners permit before their 18th birthday need to get parental consent first. Parental consent is a must for all minors, if your parents or legal guardians do not wish you driving, the DMV will not accept your application.

The minimum age for submitting an application for a driving permit is 15 years, 6 months. If your parents do not mind you obtaining a drivers permit, go ahead and visit the DMV to take your written permit test and a vision exam. No appointment is required and you can show up at any local DMV office during their regular business hours to take the tests. A parent or legal guardian will need to accompany you to the office. If all of these requirements are met, you are issued with a Wisconsin driver's permit.

Congratulations, you got a permit to go for a drive! However, don't get that excitement get the best of you. Your permit grants you limited driving privileges only and you have to observe all Wisconsin drivers permit restrictions whenever you are operating a vehicle. Thus, you are not allowed to drive alone and must have a supervising driver accompany you during all driving sessions. These restrictions are to be observed up until the point when you take your driving test and receive a Wisconsin driver license.

During the permit holding period, you must also completed a Wisconsin drivers education course that is approved by the DMV. The course must consist of at least 30 hours of classroom instruction, the certificate that you get at the end of the class must be presented at the DMV at the time when you file your application for a license.

Apply for a Drivers License - 18 Years of Age and Older

Those who are at least 18 years of age follow the same procedure when it comes to applying for a drivers permit, however you do not need anyone's consent or permission. Study for the permit test, when you feel that you are ready, visit the DMV, file your application, take a vision exam and the permit test. Those who pass are issued with a drivers permit.

Some people are under the impression that since they are already 18 years of age, the permit rules do not apply to them anymore and they can drive alone. This is not correct, you are forbidden from operating a vehicle whenever there is no supervising driver seated next to you. You cannot start driving alone until you pass your Wisconsin driving test and receive your drivers license.

If this is your first drivers license, it will be marked as provisional, no matter how old you are at the time when you receive it. Minors will need to observe a number of Wisconsin provisional license restrictions. Those who are already 18 years of age do not need to observe provisional license restrictions, however you should still keep in mind that points for your second and every subsequent violation double and if you acquire too many points, your driving privilege may be either suspended or canceled.