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Drivers Test Overview in Michigan

Knowing what is expected of you on your drivers test in Michigan is the first step towards obtaining your state driver’s license. Your Michigan drivers license test will be split into three parts: the vision exam, written drivers exam and the road skill test. The road skills test part of your drivers exam will also require your vehicle to meet specific safety requirements and failing to meet those requirements will result in a disqualification. For more information on the MI driver’s test, including the specific requirements that you must meet in each test, review the sections provided below.

Michigan DMV Drivers Test Vision Exam

The first portion of your driver test in Michigan will pertain to the successful completion of a vision exam. This portion of the drivers license exam will be provided to you during your visit to the Secretary of State (SOS) office and it is important to note that prescriptions or eye exam results that have been done elsewhere will not be accepted as a replacement for this exam. However, the SOS office could potentially require you to submit a statement of examination or a prescription for corrective lenses if you do not meet the requirements for an unrestricted license.

As part of this portion of your drivers test, you must have a visual acuity of at least 20/40 and a peripheral field of vision of at least 140 degrees to obtain an unrestricted driver license. Keep in mind that if you perform this driver’s license test with corrective lenses, your driving license will state that you are required to wear corrective lenses while driving.

If you cannot meet the 20/40 vision requirement during your driving exam, then you may still be eligible for a restricted license that will permit you to drive during daylight hours if you have a visual acuity of less than 20/50 to and including 20/70 without a progressive abnormality that is affecting your vision. You may also still pass the MI driver’s exam vision portion if you have a visual acuity of less than 20/50 to and including 20/60 with a progressive abnormality that is affecting your vision.

It should be noted that these restricted licenses will require a statement from an ophthalmologist or optometrist stating the above and you may have additional requirements to obtain a restricted license.

The driving test vision exam portion will be unsuccessful and you will be denied a Michigan driver’s license if you have a visual acuity of less than 20/60 with a progressive abnormality or less than 20/70 without one. Additionally, you will also be disqualified if you have a peripheral field of vision of less than 90 degrees.

Michigan Written Drivers Test

The next Michigan driver test that you will need to successfully complete is the written drivers test, which will also be required before you can apply for a temporary instruction permit, or learners permit. If you have participated in a drivers ed program previously, then you may have taken a drivers ed test that is similar to the written test required for a Michigan driving license.

Written drivers tests must be started at least one hour before the Secretary of State office closes to ensure that you have plenty of time to complete your test. The written drivers license test is given in English, but there are other languages available for printed translations and a sign language interpreter can be requested in advance.

This drivers test will cover Michigan traffic laws and safe driving practices and is composed of 40 questions that are taken from the Michigan Driver’s Manual, available at any SOS office. To successfully pass the written drivers exam, you must answer at least 30 of these questions correctly.

Michigan Driving Exam Vehicle Requirements

The first part of the road skills portion of your drivers test in Michigan will include a safety inspection of your vehicle. It is important to familiarize yourself with this portion as your test can be terminated and disqualified due to defective equipment. A Michigan SOS drivers test inspection will include the inspection of the following equipment:

  • Brakes and brake lights
  • Doors
  • Fuel level
  • Headlights and tail lights
  • Rearview mirror
  • Safety belts
  • Tires
  • Turn signals

Should your vehicle fail the driver’s test inspection, you will need to have the defect fixed before you can attempt another road skills test.

Michigan Driving Test Road Skills

The last part of your Michigan drivers test will be your road skills exam. The first part of this driving test includes a series of off-street maneuvers. After successfully passing this part, you will move on to the road skills test that you will need to pass to obtain your Michigan driver license.

Drivers test applicants should be aware of violations that will result in automatic failures, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Disregarding instruction or refusal to perform an instruction
  • Refusal to wear a safety belt, unless you have a physician’s statement or waiver due to a medical condition
  • Any accident that occurs during the drivers license test, no matter who is found at fault
  • Illegal action, such as running a red light
  • Driving on the curb or sidewalk
  • Failure to yield
  • Turning left or right on a red light where prohibited

In addition to the actions that could result in the automatic failure of your drivers test, you will also be tested to ensure that you can maintain the posted speed limit, that you do not drive more than 10 mph beneath the posted speed limit and that you are able to determine the proper gears if driving a manual transmission vehicle.

As part of your driving test, you will also be required to perform a number of basic vehicle maneuvers, such as parking, turning, stopping and approaching curves properly. Failing any portion of your test will result in a failure and you will need to schedule an additional test. In order to pass, you must not score more than 25 demerit points or receive any automatic failures.

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