Taking the test may be a bit intimidating, but acquiring your learner's permit is an important step toward financial independence. Being able to drive to work, rather than depend on public transportation or the kindness of others, opens up your employment options -- not to mention your social ones.
While specific questions and answers will vary depending on your state, you can expect your test to contain multiple choice-format questions from several standard areas.
Signs and Signals
The test may include questions about the meaning of certain street signs and traffic signals, often showing a photo of the sign and asking what it means. You can expect to see common signs such as "Do not enter" or " Stop," but also less common ones such as "Dip" or "Low-ground railroad crossing" You may be asked to give the sign's literal meaning or describe where you might encounter a specific sign or how you would react to it.
The test will attempt to determine your knowledge about speed limits. For example, you may be asked to give the maximum speed limits for interstates in rural areas, the maximum safe speed in a school zone or residential area, or the meaning of yellow speed limit signs on exit ramps. Expect questions about stopping distance at various speeds, as well. For example, the stopping distance if you are traveling 55 mph on dry level pavement is about 290 feet.
The test will typically ask questions about which lane to drive in, such as driving in the right lane if your speed is slower than most vehicles, or when passing is legal or not, such as when there are two solid yellow lines dividing traffic. Questions about how to correctly change lanes also may be asked.
Expect questions about what to do in emergencies or unusual circumstances. For example, the test might ask what to do when you feel your car going into a skid (ease off the gas and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go) or when your car stalls on the railroad tracks (get out of the car and walk away). Other examples are questions about how to stop on a slippery road (apply brakes in slow, steady strokes) and about how to signal a turn or stop if your turn signal fails. Typical questions also include what to do if an emergency vehicle seeks to pass.
The test likely will also ask questions about the use of alcohol and other drugs while driving. For example, it might ask about the equivalency of a 5-ounce glass of wine to other alcoholic drinks (a 12-ounce beer). The test might also ask about highway hypnosis, which occurs from staring at the road for too long during a long drive, or about the impact of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.