Ohio DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ

If you’re getting ready to apply for your Ohio state driver’s license, then it’s important that you review and learn all of the information to be found in the Ohio state DMV handbook before taking your test. However, you may also find some helpful information in the following FAQ in the meantime. To help increase your chances of passing your written test on the first attempt, consider making a practice test a part of your study routine.
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What types of tests do I need to pass in order to be eligible for my Ohio driver’s license?
Everyone looking to acquire their Ohio state driver’s license needs to pass both a written exam and a vision screening test before they’ll be able to obtain their learner’s permit. Once you’ve completed the necessary hours of supervised behind-the-wheel driving instruction, then you’ll be able to take your road test. Should you pass that, you’ll have your official license.
What documents do I need to bring with me when I apply for my Ohio state learner’s permit?
As is the case with other states, you will need to provide government-recognized proof of your identity, your date of birth, your residency in the United States, and your residency in the state of Ohio. You will also need to provide the Ohio DMV with your social security number. Proper ways to prove identity include the following:
  • United States passport
  • Military ID
  • Student ID
  • Out of state ID card
You can prove your date of birth with a certified copy of your birth certificate. Ways to prove residency in Idaho include school enrollment records, bank statements, rental agreements, and utility bills. If you’re unsure whether a given document you’d like to use would be acceptable, consider contacting your nearest DMV field office and speaking to a rep.
How old do I have to be before I’m eligible for my learner’s permit or license?
In the state of Ohio, you must be 15 ½ years old before you’re eligible for your learner’s permit. You qualify for your probationary license at 16 years old and your permanent driver’s license complete with full driver’s privileges at 18 years old, providing all other requirements are met.
When can I enroll in driver’s ed? Can I get a head start or do I technically need to be old enough to hold my learner’s permit?
You need to be 15 ½ years old before you can apply for your permit, but you can sign up for driver’s ed a month in advance. You need to be 15 years and 5 months old before you can qualify. Make sure that if you don’t take the course through your school that the class you do sign up for is state recognized.
Do I need a parent’s consent before I can apply for my learner’s permit?
Yes. As in all other states, Ohio requires underage drivers to bring a parent or other legal guardian with them when they arrive to apply for their learner’s permit. The parent will not only need to sign your application in order to show their legal consent, but they’ll be expected to show two valid forms of identification as well.
When I take my behind-the-wheel test, what will I be tested on?
Generally speaking, your behind-the-wheel test will cover both your basic driving skills and your ability to successfully maneuver the vehicle. The driving portion will test you in regards to routine driving basics like backing up, starting and stopping the vehicle, making turns, parking, and properly using lanes on streets and highways. The maneuverability portion of the test will require you to successfully navigate a set course outfitted with markers. Should you happen to hit any of the markers, you will automatically fail the test. That said, many Ohio residents facing their behind-the-wheel test find it a good idea to practice extensively beforehand. You’ll also be evaluated on how confident and capable overall you appear while operating a motor vehicle. Again, practice makes perfect here. Consider having a parent pre-test you on different maneuvers and functions in regards to your vehicle.
Will I be required to provide my own vehicle for my road test or will the DMV provide one for me?
You are required to provide your own car when you arrive to take your road test. Make sure that the car is in pristine condition from a safety standpoint, as it will be inspected. All gauges and instruments must work properly. Tires may not be bald (or close to it), nor can they be damaged. You’ll also be required to prove that the vehicle is properly registered and insured according to state law. Before you arrive to take your road test, you should practice beforehand in order to ensure you can identify and operate everything to satisfaction, as you will be asked to do so. Some people find it helpful to complete their supervised behind-the-wheel training using the same vehicle they’ll be taking the test in.
Am I allowed to drive unsupervised once I have my probationary license or do I still need to drive with another licensed adult?
Once you earn your probationary Ohio driver’s license, you are allowed to drive unsupervised except during certain hours. If you are between 17 and 18 years of age, you may not drive between 1AM and 5AM unless you are accompanied by one of your parents or other legal guardians. If you are younger than 17 years of age, then those hours fall between 12AM and 6AM instead. You also may have age-related limitations on the passengers that can be present in your vehicle if you only hold a probationary license. If you are under 17, you may not have more than one passenger in your car at a given time that is not a parent, sibling, or other member of your immediate family. This restriction is only lifted if you are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Once you reach 18 years of age and attain your unrestricted adult driver’s license, all of these restrictions are lifted and you can drive while enjoying the same privileges as any other adult.
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