District of Columbia DMV Practice Tests for Your GRAD Permit

District of Columbia Driver Knowledge Test

Quick facts for your driver license and permit test in Washington D.C.:

Number of Questions: 25 (standard non-commercial)
30 (GRAD or Learner Permit Knowledge)
Correct answers needed: 20 (standard non-commercial)
24 (GRAD or Learner Permit Knowledge)
Passing score: 80 percent
Time limit: 60 minutes (standard non-commercial)
75 minutes (GRAD or Learner Permit Knowledge)
Earliest retest upon failure: 4 days



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#1. Why is it wise to slow down a little at night?

It is wise to slow down a little at night.

At night, you do not see as far, as soon, or as much and everything has a different appearance. Keep your speed low enough to be able to stop within the distance you can see ahead.


#2. What is a no-zone in terms of driving?

No-zone is a highway safety term that describes areas on the side, front, and rear of large trucks where passenger vehicles disappear from view and where accidents are most likely to occur.


#3. If it feels like your tires have lost traction with the surface of the road you should:

Chances of hydroplaning increase as speeds increase.

As soon as you feel any loss of control, take your foot off the gas pedal. Hold the steering wheel firmly in the direction you intend to go. Allow your vehicle to slow until you regain complete control.


#4. Who should be given the right-of-way at a roundabout?

A driver entering a traffic circle or rotary must yield to drivers already in the circle.


#5. What should you do when you approach a railroad crossing?

Advance warning signs are posted before you reach the crossing and tell you to slow down, look, listen, and be prepared to stop at the crossing ahead. When approaching a railroad crossing that does not have any warning system it is especially important to slow down, look and listen for any sign of an oncoming train and then stop before the tracks if there is one coming.


#6. You may not cross a double solid yellow center line:

Two solid yellow lines between lanes of traffic means neither side can pass. You may cross a solid yellow line to turn into a driveway if it safe to do so.


#7. After a small accident without injuries, the most important thing you can do to reduce the chances of secondary crashes is:

If possible, move your car away from the line of traffic.

Turn on your emergency flashers to show you are having trouble. Never stand in the roadway.


#8. The law allows parking in the following places, except:

You cannot park within 10 feet of a fire hydrant.

This question asked where you cannot park.


#9. When should you use your high-beam headlights?

Use your high beam headlights whenever possible in open country or dark city streets whenever needed to see persons or vehicles ahead.

Dim your lights when necessary. Do not use high beams in fog, heavy rain, or snow.


#10. If you drive in an imprudent manner that endangers any property or the life of any individual, you are guilty of:

A person is guilty of negligent driving if he or she drives a motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner that endangers any property or the life of any individual.

Note the difference between negligent and reckless driving.


#11. A condition known as highway hypnosis is often brought on by:

Highway hypnosis is a condition of drowsiness or unawareness brought on by monotony, the sound of the wind, the tires on the pavement, and the steady hum of the engine. Always stop driving if you feel drowsy.


#12. When entering an interstate or other limited access highway you should always:

Do not force yourself into traffic. You must yield and wait until it is safe to enter the traffic flow on the highway.


#13. With a learner's permit you may drive alone:

You cannot drive alone. You must be accompanied by and under the instruction of a driver who is 21 years or older, has a valid full driver license, and is seated next to you in the passenger front seat.


#14. If you have a driver license and move, you must report your new address within:

Residents are required to update change of address with the Department of Motor Vehicles within sixty (60) days.

Note: Old rule said 5 days.


#15. If you encounter a flooded roadway, you should:

Do not drive through flooded areas. If you see a flooded roadway ahead, turn around and find another route to get to your destination.

Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, do not attempt to cross a flooded road. Water can hide dips, or worse, floodwaters can damage roadways by washing away the underlying road surface.


#16. What does this sign mean?

Slippery when wet.

This section of highway is more slippery than other roads when wet. Reduce your speed.


#17. Adult passengers in a car must always wear safety belts:

The District of Columbia law requires that the driver and all passengers wear seat belts in passenger cars, trucks, tractors, multi-purpose vehicles or passenger buses. A person may not operate any of these vehicles unless the operator and each occupant is wearing a seat belt.


#18. An arrow panel displaying either of the following messages means:

Caution. An arrow panel displaying either of the following messages indicates there is a work area ahead adjacent to the travel lane and to drive with extra caution.

Arrow panels are used both during the day and at night to give advance warning and directional information to tell drivers where it is necessary to move into another lane to the right or left.


#19. Under the Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) no accidents or moving violations are allowed during:

Remedial Driver Improvement applies to all drivers under age 18. Driver will be referred if involved in one moving violation or involvement in an accident to which the driver contributed. DOT may impose additional driving restrictions or impose a suspension. Must begin 6-month or 12-month accident- and violation-free driving period again to qualify for next licensing level.


#20. Usingstay-awake drugs while driving:

Do not depend on stay-awake drugs. They are apt to make your driving even more hazardous.


#21. What does this sign mean?

Reverse turn. The road ahead turns sharply right, then left.

The reverse turn sign is used to mark a road with two turns in opposite directions.


#22. With a learner's permit driving is prohibited between the hours of:

With a learner’s permit permissive hours are between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.


#23. A HAWK signal with a yellow flashing light means:

High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) is a signal beacon designed to help pedestrians safely cross busy streets. If there is a YELLOW FLASHING LIGHT, slow down, because this light indicates that a pedestrian has activated the push button. Approach at a speed that will allow you to stop if the light changes.


#24. Regulatory road signs are normally:

Black and white (or red and white) are used for regulatory signs.


#25. What does this sign mean?

Stop sign ahead. When you come to this sign, you should slow down and be ready to stop at the stop sign ahead.


#26. Which car or cars are best positioned for a left turn on this one-way street?

When making a left turn from a one-way street, get into the lane furthermost to the left well ahead of the turn. Do not start the turn at the edge of the intersection. Instead, drive into the intersection and turn sharply into the lane shown.

Remember to turn from the lane that is closest to the direction of travel and turn into the lane closest to the lane from which the turn is initiated. Do not turn from the middle lanes.


#27. Under the GRAD program, how long must you hold a permit before you can get a provisional license?

To obtain a provisional license you must be at least 16 years, 6 months old. You must have held a valid learner permit for at least 6 months and have no pointable violations.


#28. When you see a sign with this shape, color, and symbol, you must:

Do not enter.

The sign marks a one-way roadway with traffic coming against you. You must not enter from the direction you are traveling.

Remember, this is a square sign with a white horizontal line inside a red ball. The sign is not circular, which you may be led to believe by some illustrations in the DC driving manual.


#29. If another vehicle is about to enter the street between you and where you plan to turn, you should:

Do not confuse other drivers by signaling too early. If there are intersections, streets, driveways, or entrances between you and where you want to turn, wait until you have passed to signal.


#30. When you see a truck with an oversized load ahead of you, you should:

If you cannot see the truck driver’s rear-view mirrors, there is no way the truck driver can see you. Tailgating a truck is dangerous because you take away your own cushion of safety if the vehicle in front of you stops suddenly.

Increase your following distance and position your vehicle so the truck driver can see it in the side mirrors, then you will have a good view of the road ahead and the truck driver can give you plenty of warning for a stop or a turn.

See result

What is the Difference Between the Two D.C. Tests?

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in District of Columbia will give you one of two different tests.

The basic questions about rules of the road, common road signs, traffic signals, and safe driving are the same on each test. The test for graduated license (GRAD) or learner permit has additional question addressing driving restrictions during the graduated licensing phase, rules that apply to teenagers, and common traffic mistakes made by new drivers, including speeding and impaired driving.

On either test, you need a passing score of 80 percent.

Practice Tests for the GRAD Test

This practice test has 30 questions, just like the GRAD test.

If you want to skip questions related to the GRAD Program, you can take the 25-question test here: Practice Tests for Your D.C. Driver License

What You Should Know about the D.C. Knowledge Test

The test can be taken in many languages, including:

  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Cantonese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Mandarin
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese

Audio assisted tests are also available for those who need assistance with reading.

If you fail the test, you must wait three full days before you can take it again on the fourth day. Use this time to study the manual and take more practice tests.

The District of Columbia DMV knowledge test is timed, but the allotted time is generous, and it is not likely that you will need more than 15 minutes to complete the examination.

Questions on the knowledge test are based on the information in the D.C. Driver Manual. You should always get a copy of the manual from a service center or download a PDF-version online . You are less likely to pass the test if you skip the manual.

Practice tests are just a supplement to manual. To increase you chances of passing the test the first time you should study the manual and use these practice tests to verify your knowledge.

The Gradual Rearing of Adult Drivers (GRAD) Program

District of Columbia DMV has introduced the GRAD program to help novice drivers under 21 years to safely gain driving experience before getting their full driving privileges.

If you are 21 years or older, the GRAD program does not apply to you. You can apply for a permit and after passing the necessary tests, you may practice driving with a supervising driver. You do not need to log your driving practice or wait a specific period before applying for a full license.

District of Columbia Learner Permit

You must be at least 16 years to apply for a GRAD learner’s permit in D.C.

You must also bring documents that prove you are eligible for a DC DMV learner permit. These documents include proof of:

    Identity and date of birth
    Your Social Security number
    Current District of Columbia residency
    Parental approval (if under 18 years)

Before District of Columbia DMV issues the permit, you must pass a vision test and the 30-question GRAD knowledge test.

After passing the knowledge test, a clerk will take a photo for your DC DMV REAL ID learner permit. The photo must be a full-frontal digital photo that will show either the ears, or up to the hairline without showing the hair.

You will also pay the fee for your permit.

The first proof of your new permit is just a temporary permit on paper. This temporary permit is valid for 45 days, but you will receive the real learner’s permit in the mail after just a few days.

Practice Driving with a Permit

With your the learner’s permit in your hand you can start practice driving.

You must be accompanied by and under the instruction of a driver who is 21 years or older, has a valid full driver license, and is seated next to you in the passenger front seat. Under no circumstances can you drive alone.

You must always carry the permit with you when you are behind the wheel. You must also make sure that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.

The learner permit also comes with these restrictions:

    No passengers other than the supervising driver
    No cell phone use
    Night curfew between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
    No driving for compensation
    You and the supervising driver must always wear seat belts

The learner permit is valid for two years and is non-renewable. If you are not a U.S. citizen, the permit can be valid for a shorter period, depending on your legal status.

If you let your permit expire without applying for a license, you must start over with a new application and take all tests again.

Provisional Driver License

A provisional driver license is the second step in the GRAD program.

To get a provisional driver license you must:

    Be at least 16 years, 6 months old
    Have held a valid learner permit for at least 6 months
    Have no pointable moving violations
    Completed 40 hours of driving experience with a supervising driver
    Pass the road skills test

The provisional license is valid for one year and is renewable.

Provisional Driver License – Restrictions

With the provisional license you can drive alone, but there are several restrictions placed on your license.

  Passenger restriction

You can only drive with one (1) passenger that is the holder of a valid full driver license who is 21 years of age or older, occupying the passenger front seat next to you and is wearing a seat belt, and any other passenger who is your sibling, child, or parent. You cannot drive, as an example, with friends under 21 years.

  Night curfew

Driving is restricted to:

  • September – June: Monday – Thursday, 6:01 a.m. – 10:59 p.m., Friday – Sunday, 6:01 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.
  • July and August: Everyday, 6:01 a.m. – 11:59 p.m.

You can only drive during the night curfew if you are driving to or from work, a school-sponsored activity, religious or an athletic event, or related training session in which you are a participant, sponsored by the District of Columbia, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility, or if accompanied by the holder of a valid driver license who is 21 year or older.

  No driving for compensation, unless you are 18 years or older

  You and passengers must always wear seat belts

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