The driving test in Wisconsin is not much different from a driving test in any other state around the country. The main purpose of the test is to allow the Department of Transportation to determine whether you are able to safely operate a motor vehicle. You must either hold an out of state drivers license or obtain a drivers permit before taking your Wisconsin drivers license test. The road test will require you to perform such maneuvers as parallel parking, backing the vehicle and driving on public road ways.
Drivers Test Requirements
Taking a driving test is one of the final steps in the process of obtaining a drivers license and you will have to meet a number of requirements before you can get to this point. Drivers test requirements are age dependent, since everyone who chooses to take the road skills exam before their 18th birthday is required to follow Wisconsin graduated driver's license rules. The reason why teenagers have to go through these additional commotions is the fact that teen drivers have crash rates four times those of an average older driver. Lack of driving experience and failure to take basic safety precautions are two major factors that contribute to these dreadful stats.
Under 18 Years of Age
The first step for everyone who is trying to get a drivers license before the age of 18 is enrollment in one of the DOT-approved Wisconsin driver's education courses. You may also go ahead and complete the course now, however you are not required to do so, being enrolled is sufficient.
When you have your proof of enrollment at hand, visit a local DOT branch, file the required paperwork and take a vision exam and a Wisconsin driver permit test. The knowledge exam covers the state driving rules and traffic signs, you can check whether you are prepared for it by taking a free Wisconsin practice drivers test online.
When you pass the tests, you are issued with a Wisconsin instruction permit. The permit will allow you to gain some driving experience before you take your drivers license test. The permit holding period lasts at least six months and you must observe all Wisconsin drivers permit restrictions during this period. If you have not finished your drivers education course, now is the time to do it. On top of that, you must complete at least 30 hours of supervised driving with a parent, including at least 10 hours of nighttime driving. If all of the above requirements are met, you are good to schedule your Wisconsin drivers test.
One thing people tend to forget is that the license they receive once they pass the road skills exam is not a full license yet. All first time license applicants are issued with a provisional drivers license at first, so you will do well to check out what Wisconsin provisional license restrictions will apply to you.
18 Years of Age and Older
We have to tell you, you have it much easier than those who choose to get a Wisconsin drivers license before their 18th birthday. The graduated license rules do not apply to you, this means you do not have to take a drivers education class and there are less requirements that must be met before a drivers test can be scheduled. However, the essential licensing stages and testing procedures still remain the same.
If you have never been licensed before, go ahead and apply for a drivers permit. You will be required to take a knowledge exam and a vision test at that point. Once you have your permit at hand, you can start practicing driving, while being supervised by another licensed driver at least 21 years of age. There is no certain time that you need to hold your permit for and you can go ahead and schedule your Wisconsin driving test as soon as you feel confident enough behind the wheel.
Once you pass the DOT drivers test, you are issued with a provisional license, however most of the provisional license restrictions do not apply to you, there is no curfew and you are not limited in the number of passengers that you can carry. One thing you should remember though is that while operating under a provisional license, the points for your second and every subsequent traffic offense double, so it is very easy to lose your driving privilege.
Schedule The Road Test
There are two ways to schedule a driving test in Wisconsin. You can either go ahead and do so through the Wisconsin DOT website, dot.wisconsin.gov. Alternatively, if you are not much of a computer user, you can just call a local DOT office and schedule the driving test with them. Phone numbers for drivers testing locations are listed in the Wisconsin drivers handbook.
Things to Bring / What to Expect
One thing you should put your mind to well in advance is the vehicle you will be taking the test in. The DOT does not provide vehicles for drivers testing, so it will be up to you to arrange for one. The vehicle needs to be in good technical condition, with all equipment fully operational. The vehicle must be registered and you will need to present proof of insurance. The examiner will run a quick safety inspection before the road test begins, if the vehicle does not meet any of these criteria, you will have to reschedule for another date.
The following paperwork is in order when you take a drivers test in Wisconsin:
- proof of name and date of birth
- proof of identity
- proof of citizenship or legal immigration status
- proof of Wisconsin residency
If you are under 18 years of age, you must also come up with a drivers education certificate and a log form for 30 hours of supervised driving, signed by a parent or legal guardian. The signature must be notarized or the form needs to be signed in front of a DOT employee.
The common belief is that during the drivers license test, the driving examiner only looks at how well you control the vehicle. This is not true, as the examiner will assess many things, including your posture, alertness, your knowledge of driving rules and how well you communicate with other drivers. In a way, the driving test is the ultimate test of your driving ability, so it covers all aspects of driving.
During the test, you may be asked to do the following:
- Parallel parking. Parallel parking is a very common maneuver that you will need to be able to perform on daily basis. Practice this maneuver in a parking lot and on a real street.
- Quick stop. An emergency situation will be simulated for you, to check your ability to stop the vehicles quickly, while maintaining control over it.
- Backing. You will have to back the vehicle for 30-50 feet in a straight line, while looking over your right shoulder.
- Traffic signals and stop signs. You must prove that you can control the vehicle and observe all driving rules at the same time.
- Use of clutch. This skill is only required for those who plan to take the test in a vehicle equipped with manual transmission.
- Intersection observance. While driving through an intersection, you are to scan for traffic that may be approaching the intersection.
- Turns. Make sure to stay in the right lane once the turn is complete.
- Right-of-way. Yield to vehicles when appropriate.
- Passing. Make sure there is enough space for you to pass, return to your lane once the maneuver is complete.
- Proper lane observance. Lane straddling is a serious offense, try to stay in the middle of your lane at all times.
- Following. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
- Posture. Keep both of your hands on the steering wheel, stay alert.
These are just a few things you may be tested on. You have to follow your examiner's instructions closely, refusal to do so will result in an automatic test failure.
Once you pass the driving test, you are issued with your Wisconsin drivers license. As mentioned above, if this is your first license, it is marked as provisional. Make sure to check out what provisional limitations apply to you.
The key to passing the drivers license test is practice. You should practice as much as possible, that is the only way to guarantee that you pass the road skills exam. You may wish to practice with different drivers, this way you will be able to learn more tips and safe driving techniques.