Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions about the process of getting a license, whether you’re a teenager or an adult.

How do I get my Driver License before I turn 18?

This is the procedure for getting a Driver’s License before you turn 18:

1. DRIVER EDUCATION CLASS

Complete Driver Education class at Roadrunner Driving School and receive a Driver Education Completion Certificate.   (There is a reissue fee if you lose a certificate.)

2. LEARNER’S PERMIT 

If you are at least 15 1/2 years old, you may go to the DMV and take the written test. The test is 46 multiple choice questions, and you can miss 8 and still pass. An appointment is recommended but you may try walking in without one.  They will not give the test if you arrive after 4:00 pm.   To schedule an appointment, call the DMV at 800.777.0133, or schedule online at dmv.ca.gov.

FOR THE DMV WRITTEN TEST, YOU MUST PROVIDE:

  • 1.  $36.00 application fee.
  • 2.  Confirmation code you receive after completing CDL application (DL44) online at dmv.ca.gov.
  • 3.  Birth Certificate or passport – NO photocopies
  • 4.  Social Security card – NO photocopies
  • 5.  Two (2) legal presence documents – photo copies are accepted (See dmv.ca.gov for examples)
  • 6.  Driver Ed Completion Certificate (blue for class room, pink for online) $20.00 fee for duplicate
  • 7.  If you are a minor, Parent/Guardian signature required on DL44.

CALL 546-3238 TO SCHEDULE YOUR FIRST DRIVING LESSON.

You must provide permit number and issue/expiration dates before you can schedule a driving lesson.  State law requires that drivers license applicants under the age of 18 have at least 6 hours of Driver Training with a DMV certified instructor.  (Three 2 hour sessions)

PRACTICE DRIVING BETWEEN LESSONS

You must practice driving between lessons with a California licensed driver over the age of 25 years. This person must be seated next to you, awake and not under the influence of drugs and or alcohol. Supervised practice must include no less than 50 hours of drive time, including 10 hours at night. It does not include the 6 hours with licensed instructor.  Keep the written log we provide (during your first lesson) of your driving hours and bring it to each lesson.

Do not just drive to school and back and in familiar areas over and over again. New drivers need exposure to new situations to help them develop their visual search pattern, timing and judgment, and ability to anticipate other roadway users. Driving takes practice, just like math,sports, music, art or any other skill. The 50 hours practice are critical for new drivers to develop their driving skills.  There are skills involved with driving that nobody can teach.  The new driver has to develop them as they drive. (Ex:  Do I have time to turn left ifo the oncoming vehicle?  Do I have space enough to change lanes ifo the vehicle I see in my left mirror?  What is that skateboarder going to do next?  Who goes first at this busy 4-way stop?  Is it safe to enter the freeway ifo this big rig in the lane to my left?)  After your third driving lesson, you will receive a  Driver Training Completion Certificate (gold).  (There is a $20 reissue fee if you lose a certificate.)

4. DRIVER’S LICENSE

When you have completed six hours of Driver Training and at least 50 hours of practice,  have had your permit for at least 6 months and you are at least 16 years old, you are eligible to take the DMV driving test. You should be able to schedule the test up to 60 days prior to the date you want to test.  That time varies wildly with the DMV.

FOR THE DMV DRIVING TEST YOU MUST PROVIDE:

  • Your Permit – second page signed by instructor and parent/guardian
  • Driver Training Completion Certificate (gold)
  • Proof of Insurance for the car being used for the driving test
  • Current Registration for the car being used for the test

May I take Driver Education before I reach the age of 15 1/2?

Yes, but you will be covering a lot of material during this course. Most students prefer to take the class close to when they take the DMV written exam, so the information is fresh in their mind. At the end of class, you will keep your study materials and books, so you will be able to review.  For additional practice, there is a free App called DMVCA.  Download to your iPhone and you will have over 300 multiple choice questions and answers to help you prepare for the Permit exam.

I’m 17 1/2 years old. Do I have to take Driver Education and Driver Training?

No. You don’t have to take Driver Ed or Driver Training to get your permit, but you will not be able to get your Driver License until you are 18 years old. You must pass the written test at the DMV and you must practice driving at least 50 hours including 10 at night. Your insurance company may offer a discount if you voluntarily complete Driver Ed and Driver Training. Insurance companies know that professional driving instruction combined with 50 hours of supervised practice reduces the crash, injury and death rate of newly licensed drivers and other roadway users.

What if I’ve lost my permit, or it was destroyed in the wash?

Go to the DMV with a parent. A new permit will be printed out for you so you can continue to drive. The next time you have a lesson, your instructor will sign it.  There is no law in the California Vehicle Code that says your permit needs to be signed by a driving instructor.  Your permit is legally valid if you passed the permit exam and the DMV issued the permit.  The only page of your permit you are legally required to carry when you drive is the first page with your name, address and licensing information on it.  (…but it is best to keep the pages together as you will need the second page attached and signed when you go in for your DMV driving exam after you complete your training.)

My first driving lesson is today after school and it just started raining. Will I still have a lesson?

Of course! Lucky you. Learning to drive in the rain may seem scary, but what a great opportunity to develop your skills and confidence. Your instructor is there to teach, guide and reassure you. Remember, instructors have a brake on their side to assist the learning driver. Safety of the student and other roadway users is a tremendous responsibility and an inherent part of the instructor’s job. Conscientious and professional driving instructors are keenly aware that their careers, their reputation, and the reputation of the school they represent depends on their ability to avoid crashes and traumatic situations that could be a huge setback for a learning driver. In light or heavy traffic, rain or shine, night or day, anything can happen. Anything that occurs during a driving lesson can become part of the learning experience.

I’m going to be teaching my teen to drive. I don’t have a brake on my side. Where do I start?

A good start for parents and teens is to read the free pamphlet “PARENT TEEN TRAINING GUIDE” from the DMV (available online dmv.ca.gov) so you have an idea what and how to teach.

Then, choose a great driving school like Roadrunner Driving School!  : )

After your teen’s first lesson, when we know what their strengths and challenges are, we will give you helpful advice and recommendations on how to work with them.  Most students develop quickly working with a knowledgeable instructor who cares.  It really helps that we have a brake on our side.  It is much easier for the atmosphere in the training vehicle to remain calm, and for the student to develop skills and gain confidence.  If a student is still struggling with basic car control skills after the first lesson, the instructor will suggest you schedule a second lesson sooner rather than the usual recommended 6 to 8 weeks.

Try driving with your teen in familiar areas.  Do NOT begin by backing the car out of the garage.  Get the car on level ground in a position where they can begin going forward.  Be sure you discuss proper seat, steering wheel and mirror adjustment as instructed during the lesson.  Drive in very familiar areas to begin with.  If your teen freaks you out, or if you freak them out, call us for that next lesson.  Do NOT stop driving.  You have made a big investment in the first driving lesson.  Keep the ball rolling in the direction of completing supervised driving practice and driver training and getting that driver license before the permit expires one year from the date you turned in your Driver License Application (DL44) at the DMV.  Be sure you know the date of expiration on the permit.

If something scary happens, call us.  We may be able to offer simple advice over the phone to help you deal with the situation.

What if I’m worried I won’t be able to pass the DMV behind-the-wheel test?

If taking the DMV drive test has you in knots, maybe you’re not quite ready to get a license and drive unsupervised. Do not schedule your drive test until you have the skill and confidence to change lanes and merge in slow or busy conditions, back your car safely, determine right of way in any situation (ex: at stop controlled intersections, uncontrolled intersections, turning right on red, left against solid green, merging, entering traffic from a side street dealing with road hazards). You should be able to do these things even in areas you’ve never driven before. Think it over. Do you have the necessary skill to prevent causing a crash, or to recognize and avoid an unsafe situation caused by another roadway user?

You may say, “I’m only going to drive to school and home until the end of the year.” You are most likely to crash in areas you drive the most.

A collision will cost a lot more than an extra driving lesson, renewing your permit, or a few more hours of practice. Take more time to develop your skills and confidence.

Our driving instructors assess your abilities and help you with skills that need improvement during each lesson, but six hours is not enough time to qualify any new driver to drive alone. Use the log we provide to write down the hours you practice driving with you parent and the type of skills practiced. This will help you track your progress.

**Passing the DMV Drive Evaluation does not prove that you have all the necessary skills and experience to be a safe driver. It means you demonstrated the most remedial level of skill accepted by the state of California to attain a driver’s license. You will not have to drive on the freeway, parallel park or complete a three point turn during the test.

The efforts of this driving school, parents, and the DMV are worthless if you pass the DMV driving test and then make poor choices when you drive unsupervised. Honor the privilege you’ve earned. Set a goal to be the best driver you can. Be proud every day you drive safely and courteously.
(A future employer may request a copy of your DMV record as part of the hiring process. Your DMV record reflects if you’ve been responsible in the past.)

If you feel more nervous than enthusiastic about learning to drive, don’t worry. We’re here to help you develop your skills and confidence. We want Roadrunner students to feel as comfortable as possible even when they make mistakes and have questions to ask. We look forward to working with you.