North Carolina DMV Driver’s License Test Study Guide

It’s funny when you get it…

This study guide used to be found on a few websites for free, but now most of them want to charge you for it…if you can find it at all (which is absurd given that this is nothing more than a word-for-word transcription of parts of the NC DMV Driver’s Handbook). If you’re needing to take the NC DMV driver’s license exam and you’ve stumbled across this post, you’re in luck! I printed the list out a while back when I took the test (back when this info could be found for free) and I just so happened to find the crinkly old piece of paper the other day. I figured it’s a darn good study guide for a test that can throw some crazy curve balls when it comes to questions related to a driver’s skill and knowledge (in my humble opinion). That said, there are some good questions that make you think–and we could absolutely use some more drivers on the road that can think! That leads me to my point of posting this info…

Some may get mad and think I’m posting a cheat sheet to the driver’s test and subverting the purpose of testing drivers. Others may be looking for a lazy way out of testing and want all of the answers without studying. I can see all sides of the equation and my take on it is that this is nothing more than a piece of the pie of becoming a NC licensed driver. For brand new drivers (never licensed anywhere else or just turned 16), there’s still much more to becoming licensed than this test. For those who’ve been licensed somewhere else (for instance, someone that just moved to NC but had a driver’s license in their former state), they’ve been through the motions and have hopefully proven that they know the basics of driving–something that this guide is not going to help anyone pass or fake! Even if this guide is committed to memory, the reader is learning something. I’m willing to bet a few of these examples will stick in your mind for a long time to come!

So without further ado…

  • In densely packed snow you should use chains or snow tires.
  • If you must drive during heavy snow or fog, use your low-beam headlights.
  • Alcohol-related highway deaths account for 38% of all traffic fatalities.
  • If you accumulate 7 or more points on your traffic record you may attend a Driver Improvement Clinic to deduct three points from your driving record.
  • The traffic conviction that adds the highest number of points (5) to your driving record is passing a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children.
  • “Secondary roads” are roads where hills are more likley to be more steep and curves are likely to be more sharp than on primary roads.
  • Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit in cities and towns is 35 miles per hour.
  • To have a revoked driver license restored, you must visit a driver license office, pay a restoration fee, and reapply for a license.
  • When three vehicles reach a 4-way stop at the same, the right of way belongs to the car on the right.
  • If a vehicle sways freely, leans heavily to one side during a turn or seems to bounce continuously, there may be a problem with the suspension system.
  • If you experience a breakdown, you should call a law enforcement officer.
  • To maintain a safe driving distance between your car and the car in front of you, you should use the two-second rule.
  • If you take any medication before you drive, you should find out what effect the medicine has.
  • If you are planning a long road trip, you should stop and rest every 100 miles.
  • Before passing another vehicle, you should look ahead to ensure that there is enough room for you to pass.
  • When driving down a very steep hill, you should shift into a lower gear to control your speed.
  • If you run off the side of the road, you should gradually take your foot off the gas pedal.
  • When travelling on rural highways, farm equipment usually travels at its maximum speed of 15-20 mph.
  • If you are driving into a circle you should yield to cars already in the circle.
  • If you are in a crash, you should move your car off of the road. (there has been some question to this one…research on your own!)
  • School buses are required to stop at all railroad crossings.
  • In city traffic, you should be alert for drivers who make quick stops.
  • Truckers have serious blind spots into which cars can disappear from view.
  • Unless there is a sign indicating no turn on red, you can turn right on red after stopping and making sure that the turn can be made safely.
  • For any underage person who aids or abets another attempting to purchase any alcoholic beverage, the law requires a one-year driver license revocation.
  • Your license will be revoked immediately if your blood alcohol concentration is at least 0.08 percent.
  • When aproaching a road that is blocked from view you should stop and proceed with caution.
  • Defensive drivers check their rear view mirror and side mirrors roughly every 10 seconds.
  • If going 45 miles per hour, how far ahead should you signal before turning? 200 ft.
  • If you plan to turn and are not in the proper lane to do so, you should continue to the next intersection, then turn.
  • The most common type of accident on a highway is a rear-end collision
  • When driving behind someone you should not use your high beams
  • To dry wet brakes, gently apply the brakes
  • “Don’t hang out in the No zone” refers to not be in truckers’ blind spots
  • When approaching a railroad crossing slow down and prepare to stop
  • If you pull up to a red arrow, the turning lane is the only lane that should stop
  • if you are a pedestrian walking along side the road at night, you should carry or wear something white
  • Use high beams when driving on a highway and no car is approaching
  • Slippery roads are most likely to occur when it has just begun to drizzle or rain
  • When traveling behind a farm vehicle on a two-lane road wait until the farm vehicle has the chance to pull over to the side, then pass with caution
  • Large trucks (tractor trailers) have large blind spots to the side and rear
  • When preparing to make a right-hand turn turn on your turn signal and approach the right-hand side of the road
  • A “shoulder check” is a quick glance over your shoulder on the side in which you intend to turn or change lanes
  • When you get tired on a long trip, you should stop and rest
  • When taking a long trip, you should plan to stop and rest every 100 miles
  • If you are following a car at night, how do you know if the road is bumpy? You watch the tail-lights.

There is also a visual test where you will be asked to identify common traffic signs by their shape and color only (see the NC DMV driver’s handbook for a guide to this). For example, they might show you a red octagon and you must identify it as a stop sign. Here are a few other examples:

  • A blank white square with black border: Speed Limit
  • An orange triangle on its side, pointing to the right: No passing sign
  • A yellow circle with a large X in it extending to the sides of the circle: Railroad crossing
  • Inverted red triangle with a white center: Yield

For more info, visit the NC DMV’s website at:

UPDATE: The old online driving testing I had posted here previously is now inactive.

239 thoughts on “North Carolina DMV Driver’s License Test Study Guide

  1. These are the same questions, i took my test today and passed with a 100%, they may change some words around but with the knowledge of these answers, you can figure it out.

  2. Most of the questions were on this sheet. Couple that weren’t:

    – What do you do if a car is approaching with their high beams on… Look straight ahead and don’t lose focus
    – A leaky exhaust is bad because it can…. Cause poisonous gas to enter the vehicle
    – Rural roads you have to be more alert for… Farm machinery on the roads

    Can’t remember if there were other things missed. Below are some things to add to the study sheet

    – A non-commercial driver is intoxicated if blood alcohol level is 0.08%
    – A leak in the exhaust system can allow poisonous carbon monoxide gas to enter the passenger compartment of the vehicle. it is suggested that you keep a window open about one inch while traveling
    – Two of every five persons killed by motor vehicle crashes are pedestrians
    – North Carolina law prohibits children less than age 16 from riding in the open bed of a pick-up truck.
    – Stop for yellow light, unless too far into intersection
    – drive carefully in rural areas because of farm equipment
    – When do you brake during a curve? Brake before the curve
    – what happens if you are pulled over inebriated…. you will be asked to take a chemical test of your breath or blood
    – Refusal to perform any required test will result in the immediate revocation of your driver license for at least 30 days and an additional, minimum 12-month revocation by the DMV.
    – It is dangerous to drive very slowly … just after crossing the crest of a hill or rounding a curve
    – For right turns, stay close to the right edge of the road, so that another vehicle cannot move between your vehicle and the curb. Reduce the vehicle’s speed before making the turn and then accelerate slightly.
    – Most accidents occur at … intersections
    – All motor vehicles registered in NC must be inspected … every twelve months
    – Littering is … punishable by a fine not less than $250 and not more than $1000

  3. so im 25 and been putting this off for about a couple of years now lol…are these really the questions and answers for the actual test??

  4. I got at 100%! Study this and your signs. Take a few practice quizzes too. Also, skip all questions you aren’t absolutely sure about it, trust me. You’ll do great. Best of luck!

  5. I paid for the dmv cheat sheet and I studied it word for word and still failed. Only 3questions for the cheat sheet were in the test. The test I did has all the questions thats on here so I wish I had studied this one. Fingers cross I pass this time!

  6. Seriously, you do need to “know it”. This guide has a majority of the questions. It’s a bit tricky, but don’t worry about missing a few, you’ll do fine.

  7. Okay, this is AMAZING!! I failed the first time and and I took it again and I completely nailed it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

  8. I failed my test and most of the questions were on here.

    Going back on Wednesday (2 days from today) to retake it.

    I didn’t even know you could skip questions – doh!

    I’ll let you know how I do.

  9. I passed 1st attempt after reading this. Make sure u read instruction before answering any question and yes u can skip if u don’t know it

  10. How does skipping questions work? Are you graded on percent correct or number correct? If percent is there a minimum you need to answer? Just moved from out of state and taking the test later this week and trying to figure how to “game” it

    Thanks for the great resource!

  11. So I posted a few days back – I failed the test initially and then I found this cheat sheet. I just took the test today (i had planned to take it a few days back but stuff came up).

    Anyway, I got 100% right today and it’s all due to this cheat sheet.

    What you should do is make sure you know the DUI stuff, and the points you get for that – and how much the fines are for that crap. That’s what I failed on the first time around.

    I have to say the test seemed a lot easier this time around. Not sure if that was because of the cheat sheet or what.

  12. You’ll agree, you do have to study and if this cheat sheet helps then good for you. Really, I thank Steve for putting it together as it puts many of the questions in one place making it a really nice reference. It helped me decide which areas to cover in the book, as well.

  13. My birthday was three weeks ago and I have taken the test 3 times and failed each time. All the websites I have used have not had accurate questions. I have seen all of these on the tests. Wish me luck!

Leave a Reply