Behind The Wheel

When can I start driving with someone?

Once you have your permit, you can’t actually drive with your parents or any licensed adult 25 or older until you complete one 2-hour lesson with a professional instructor and they sign your permit. When you get your permit signed by the instructor, you can start driving with any licensed adult 25 or older.

Can I drive alone with a permit?

No. Absolutely not! When you have your permit, you are only allowed to drive if there is a licensed adult 25 years old or older with you in the car. There are no restrictions on what hours you may drive during the day or night, but you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the late hours of the night.

How do I complete my behind-the-wheel hours?

For students who are 15.5 – 17.5 years old, you’ll need to enroll in a two-hour driving lesson with a professional instructor once you have your permit. After this initial two hour lesson, the instructor will sign the back of your permit and you can start working on the 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with your parents or guardians. Before getting your license, you’ll also need to complete two (2) additional two-hour lessons with a professional instructor.

If you are 17.5 years old or older, you aren’t required to take any professional driving lessons. Instead, if you’re 17.5 – 18 years old you can practice driving with a parent, guardian, spouse, or adult who is at least 25 years old or older and has a valid California driver license. You can then head to the DMV to take the driving test when you’re officially 18 years old.

If you’re 18 years old or older, you can practice with any adult who is at least 18 years old or older and has a valid California driver license. You can head back to the DMV to take the driving test whenever you feel ready to ace the test!

Where can I find a driving school?

Selecting the driving school where you’ll do behind-the-wheel instruction is a huge decision, and it’s important that you do your research beforehand. We suggest doing a quick Google search, such as “driving school + your zip code or city“.

Some things you should keep in mind are:

Cost – three 2-hour lessons at a state-approved driving school could cost anywhere from $200 to upwards of $400.

Location – How far is the driving school from where you live and go to school? How convenient is it for you to get to and from the driving school? How will you get there?

Schedule – Available instruction hours at driving schools vary and certain seasons are busier than others (such as summer). Does the class schedule work for you and your parents?

Reviews and ratings – What have other people said about the driving school you’re looking at? If the school has consistently received positive reviews and high ratings, maybe it’s a good idea to consider taking lessons there. Bad reviews from previous students and parents may mean you should continue your search.

How do I prepare for my driving test?

The California DMV has been lovely enough to provide some great resources:

Best of luck!

What do I do if my permit has expired?

In the state of California, permits expire after 12 months.

Let’s start with bad news first. You’ll have to reapply for a new permit ($34 application fee).

Now that that’s out of the way, I have A LOT of good news now!

You DO NOT have to redo the following requirements as long as you have proof of completion for each requirement:

  • 30 hours of online/classroom drivers ed
    • Prove this by bringing your drivers ed certificate. Need a new one from Aceable? Order one here.
  • 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a professional instructor
    • Prove this by bringing a DL388 or DL400 form provided and signed by your professional instructor.
  • 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice with a licensed adult at least 25 years or older
    • Prove this by bringing your expired permit with your parent/guardian’s signature.
  • Hold your permit for at least 6 months
    • Prove this by bringing your expired permit (the date of issuance is on there as proof).
  • Pass the written knowledge test
    • Prove this by bringing your expired permit (permits are not given out unless you have passed the written test).

Bring all of the above items in addition to the items on this page.

When you are ready to take your driving test, you MUST bring your expired permit, new permit, and the DL388 or DL400 form showing proof that you have completed 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training with a professional instructor. The reason that you need to bring the expired permit too is because it is your only proof of credit that shows that you have had your permit for at least 6 months. If you lose your expired permit without necessary proof of a previous DMV application, you have to wait the full 6 months before you are allowed to take your driving test. DMV does not keep your previous application once you have put in a new application for a new permit. It’s SUPER IMPORTANT not to lose your expired permit.

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