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!

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

  1. These are the common questions when taking computer test at DMV, failed once, and after reading this, the 2nd time it was smooth

  2. It helps A LOT ,trust me it do , even for someone with a bad memory like me , just read over it once a day a week before taking the test and read over it couple min before taking it and you should be fine :)

  3. I really hope this study guide works. I’ve already taken the test 3 times and I’ve been too scared to go back. Is there a website where I can test myself on these questions?

  4. Mannnnnnn look, BECAUSE of this study guide I passed. Of course I read the comments and was still skeptical but anyways I studied my ass off after failing two times! I went in there confident and ready to pass and guess what??? I paid. I missed 1 once I got to number 18 but when I got to #22 I got it right and it stopped! I was so happy so to the guy who made this THANK YOU SO MUCH! ❤❤❤ you just don’t know how much this has helped me. If you wanna pass, study this and still look over for DMV book and you’ll pass with flying colors!

  5. @Laylay I hope so because I failed teice as well I hope and pray these are the common questions used on the computer test

  6. Tierra, Laylay’s last sentence is right–study/memorize thoroughly both the book and the questions. Quiz yourself and relax, but go in when you are ready. Good luck, you’ll do fine.

  7. I came from NY and decided to just go to the DMV and take the test, but the laws are different and the first time I didn’t pass the test (yesterday), I found this guide and I studied it yesterday. Today I did the test in less then 15 min and got all the questions correct! Thank you so much!! Great guide!

  8. Good for you. I came from out of state too. Lesson learned, every state is different and it’s worth the effort to study up.

  9. I’m
    Going to the DMV in Rocky Mount Nc this Friday will this help me pass . Because they do trick you up on questions

  10. okay, confused, there’s a huge list of questions with NO answers! How is this a study guide!?

  11. Jonathan, use this in conjunction with the DMV booklet. It pretty much gives you a good guide to know what questions are going to be on the test. It narrows down memorizing the entire booklet…which is far better than nothing at all.

  12. Jonathan, it does have answers. Just read through each line, memorize everything because they will try to trick you. Those sentences are where the answers come from. It doesn’t give you YES answers but believe me, what you read is what you gonna see on your test. I failed once and after reading through this i came out smiling.
    *Example: 1, In densely packed snow you should use, “answer” should be “chains or snow tires”.
    *Example: 2, If you must drive during heavy snow or fog, “answer is “use your low-beam headlights”
    *Example: 3, Alcohol-related highway deaths account for 38% of all traffic fatalities. In this sentence the ANSWER is 38%. DMV will ask it as a question while this show it as a sentence.
    *Let me know if you understand it or you need more classification

  13. Thanks you help get my license 8 years ago I forgot to say thank you then
    but it’s never to late

  14. Definitely help me I didn’t study the book at all and passed the first try. Thank you so much <3

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I failed the permit test two days in a row– then my Mom found this and I read it over and over and this morning I passed! I would say that the third time is a charm but really this post is a charm! Thank you so much!

  16. I took the test twice and failed and my mom found this and I studied it once a day for 3 days and then right before I took the test and I passed!!!! Thank you so much

  17. I read over this a few times and passed the test on the first try easy! It really helped me a lot. This is pretty much the whole test. Thanks!

  18. I got to say this helped so much I took the test the first time and didnt pass when i studied these points I got 18/25 right and you must get 19/25 so no I didnt pass but this helped so much going back again next week but use these points.

  19. Anna, sorry to hear this, but don’t give up. When you study, I found, I had to literally memorize the answers as well as what the book was saying on the topic. The guide helps narrow down what you need to look at in the book. Good luck.

  20. I passed my drivers education course but it was in Va and then i moved to NC. Is there anything majorly different between the two that could cause me to fail?

  21. Suggest studying this to avoid disappointment. It’s not the same…I’ve had a VA license too.

  22. This study guide help me pass on the first try believe it or not! Thank you so much for the help literally my test was this study guide! Before I took the test I read over these comments and thought it was bs but honestly if you’re going to take your test, study this!!!! This is all you need plus your road signs!

  23. I came from New York and took the test twice and failed both. After I failed I searched up one of the questions and your blog popped up. All of the questions you showed were on the test the two times I took it. I’m going back tomorrow to take it again hopefully I pass.

  24. Thank the lord i found this, this is very helpful. I didn’t study the first time around and failed, hopefully next time i take it i pass, which im certain of it, all of the study guide is on the test. Thank you so much, I hope everyone passes !!!

  25. Yes I passed yesterday with only 3 wrong. When is it extremely dangerous to drive slow:
    The other two I can’t remember at this time but this website really helped me to study and pass. I would like to leave a donation but I don’t have a PayPal account, if you do cash app please let me know. Stevefrey.

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