Attention Adult Student Drivers:

How much practice does an adult student driver need to be a competent and safe driver?  

Initially, every adult driver’s situation is different.  Some adults just never got around to getting their driver’s license and have absolutely no experience, at all.  Some, have been driving and practicing, but aren’t quite sure if they’re ready for the drive test.  Some adults are newcomers to the United States who have been driving in their native country, and need instruction on American traffic laws and rules of the road.  No matter what’s  your situation, everybody is required to be able to perform the same driving maneuvers and obey the same traffic laws and rules of the road.

The DMV does not have a required pre-determined amount of behind-the-wheel practice for adults.  For teens, the DMV requires 6 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction from a licensed driving school and 50 hours of additional practice with their parents/guardians. Although all students learn at different rates, we recommend that adult student drivers have at least 24-25 hours of behind-the-wheel practice (half of the required practice time for teens) in order to master basic driving skills and gain confidence to drive competently and safely.  

How do you know if you’re ready for the DMV drive test?

You will know when you are ready to take the drive test when you are a competent and safe driver.  

Competent drivers are able to control and operate the vehicle. During the DMV drive test you will be evaluated on your ability to perform basic driving maneuvers. These maneuvers include: parking lot driving, driving through intersections, right and left turns, left lane change and right lane change, driving in residential and business areas, and curb parking with back-up. Competent drivers must also know and obey all traffic laws and rules of the road while they are driving.

Safe drivers are able to apply defensive driving techniques while driving.  

Here are some tips for defensive driving techniques:

  • Traffic checks: check cross streets before entering the intersection.
  • Keep eyes moving:  in addition to traffic checks, checks signal lights and road signs.
  • Follows at a safe distance: 3-seconds distance rule or give one car length distance for every 10 mph you’re travelling between you and the car you’re following (ex: if you’re travelling 30 mph it has to look like you can fit 3 car lengths between you and the car in front of you.)
  • “Space Cushion”: allow a safe distance from cars in front, behind, and on both sides of you.
  • Safe lane change around obstructions: Use S.M.O.G for safe lane change around obstructions in your lane.  


If you are still not sure if you’re ready for the test, ask an expert!  Driving schools usually offer individual lessons to assess your driving skills and help you in areas that need improvements. 

Remember to use feedback and recommendations you receive from the instructor while you practice. Good luck!


Drive Safe, Drive Responsible, Drive Respectful.