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.

UPDATE 2: I get countless emails and comments on this thread about how this study guide has helped folks pass their exam. This post is what brings the vast majority of folks to my tiny slice of the internet. If this has helped you at all and you’re feeling generous, it would help pay the hosting fees (approximately $100 per year) if you dropped a donation of any amount via PayPal. You can do this by visiting my PayPal link here: Any amount is greatly appreciated. Even if you don’t donate anything, I hope this guide helps you learn something and pass the exam!

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

  1. Give or take a few questions this helped a lot. Took the written/sign test today and got a perfect score. Definietly use this.

  2. Matt yea bro the test has 25 questions an you can only get 6 wrong so just study an memorize those questions up top I did so an scored an 80%

  3. Failed mine today and had some the same and some different answers than the ones on top like. Ill study this tonight and go tomorrow. Wish me luck!!

  4. Only if you study it really well, that is, memorize the answers and compare them with the booklet. You do have to know this stuff. Best to you.

  5. Can someone help on studying ? as In how many questions should I study a day and how long for best results ?

  6. I passed!!!! Highly recommend this! Almost all the questions were these^^^ so yes study this and you will do great!

  7. I failed ….. Some of the questions was on the text but some want , do anyone know where I can go to find more answers ?

  8. Jamaica…I feel you almost need to memorize the questions here and their corresponding sections in the book. Be prepared to miss a couple of the “tricky” ones, but nail the rest. Good luck…you’ll get it. You can do a search for other sites with questions and answers, but I found this one to be the most complete.

  9. i failed the test today. i found this right after and there were all the questions i didnt know that made me fail on this. I knew some other ones but these were the ones i failed on.GOOD LUCK AND BE THANKFUL IF YOU FOUND THIS SITE BEFORE TAKING IT AND IF YOU PADDED.
    PLEASE WISH ME LUCK! im retaking this tomorrow, lets hope i pass (:

  10. I just want to say wow , I didn’t even study the hand book it seemed to me it was to much and allot to study these notes are the same just the important information is pulled out . Oh yeah BTW I made a 100% first try on my test . If you haven’t taken this test yet or study any of this I studied this for a month and dont forget to study the warning signs and go take your test and study 30 minutes every day you will ace the test !

  11. Omg omg omg i truly want to thank GOD for allowing me to find this study guide! Thank you Steve for this study guide! It is the exact same questions on the test!!! I passed and im so excited! Thank you again!!

  12. This is an incredible resource. I did my test today and blitzed it. Didn’t even need the 25 questions as I got 20 correct and the test stopped.

  13. Not all of these questions I took are on here but beware as there are some that are correct but there wrong at the DMV that I went to like the rear-end one my brother got that but it was wrong so be carful and hopefully you can pass, we failed ours but were ready now and good luck to you all

  14. PERFECT, i passed with a 80% after studying this answer’s for a hour. although some of the question on the test aren’t worded out exactly like on here, you can still tell which answer goes where.

  15. Taking this test tomorrow in hopes that I’ll pass it the first time. So many good reviews. I’ll be studying this all the way up until tomorrow. Wish me luck! ^_^

  16. Believe me, it will help. Read the comments to get tips on making the most of your study time. Best.

  17. I failed the test today, and just found out about this, all 6 mistakes were all here, need to go back tomorrow, hope I’ll hack it this time

  18. hauling my ass to the DMV right when it opens tomorrow to take this test. pray for me, fam. #stickshift

  19. Thanks for posting very very very important questions which really helped me to pass the exam !!!! Not all of them were similar but close .

  20. I swear I was studying that entire DMV booklet forever and went to take the test and failed but once I studied THIS and memorized everything on this particular study guide, I went and passed without getting a single answer wrong .

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