Your California Learner’s Permit & Next Steps

California Permit & Driver License 

Congratulations! You’ve just obtained your California learner’s permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This exciting step signifies that you’re well on your way to becoming a licensed driver. However, getting your learner’s permit is just the beginning of your driving journey. In this article, we’ll outline what to do next to ensure a smooth and successful transition from learner’s permit holder to a confident, responsible driver.

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Step 1 | Read & Understand the Driver’s Handbook Thoroughly

Your California learner’s permit comes with a responsibility to understand and follow the rules of the road. Begin by reading the California Driver Handbook, which can be easily accessed on the DMV website or obtained in print at your local DMV office. This comprehensive guide covers essential information about road signs, traffic laws, and safe driving practices.

Step 2 | Teen Requirements BEFORE Driving Practice

For teens under 17 1/2 years old, their instruction permit is not valid until they have completed the first day of behid the wheel training or reaches 17 1/2 years old.  A licensed or authorized driving instructor must sign your instruction permit to validate it for you.


Step 3 | Practice Driving Safely

TEENS: One of the most crucial steps after obtaining your learner’s permit is practicing your driving skills. California law requires permit holders under 17 1/2 years old to complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice, with ten of those hours taking place during nighttime. Ensure that your supervising adult is at least 25 years old and possesses a valid California driver’s license. This person must ride in a position to instruct you and control the vehicle if necessary.

ADULTS: The DMV does not require adult permit holders to complete driving practice hours. However, it is advised that you practice driving until you are confident of your driving skills, ability to follow and obey rules of the road, and utilize defensive driving techiniques accordingly. Ensure that your supervising adult is at least 18 years old and possesses a valid California driver’s license. This person must ride in a position to instruct you and control the vehicle if necessary.

Step 4 | Schedule Your Behind-the-Wheel Test

Once you feel confident in your driving abilities and have completed the required practice hours, it’s time to schedule your behind-the-wheel driving test. You can do this through the DMV’s online appointment system. Prepare for the test by reviewing your driving handbook and practicing with a licensed adult.


Step 5 | Continue Learning and Improving

Remember that driving is a lifelong skill, and there’s always room for improvement. Stay vigilant, obey traffic laws, and practice safe driving habits. Consider taking additional defensive driving courses to enhance your skills and knowledge.

Obtaining your California learner’s permit is an exciting first step towards becoming a licensed driver. By following the steps outlined above, practicing safe driving, and continually improving your skills, you’ll be well-prepared for a lifetime of responsible and confident driving on California’s roads. Remember to consult the official California DMV website for the most up-to-date information and requirements throughout your driving journey. Safe driving begins with knowledge, practice, and adherence to the rules of the road.

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