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You have already taken the first step toward learning how to drive and what the stages of getting a New York driver license are.

Here, you’ll find your one-stop guide to everything you need to know in order to drive in Brooklyn, New York.

By following these steps closely, you’re guaranteed of getting the correct information, knowledge, and skills needed to be a safe driver.

As of 2016, New York is the 4th state with the most number of licensed drivers, at just under 12 million! However, reports show that almost 40,000 people are involved in fatal car crashes in the U.S. annually.

That means it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the constant safety of themselves and those around them. So… without further ado…

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

Step 1: What’s the importance of a license in the U.S.?

This may come as a surprise, but in the U.S., your New York driver license is arguably the most important document you could have in your wallet! Why is that? For various reasons, including…

  1. Identifies you as a licensed driver
  2. Serves as your primary form of identification
  3. Can be used as your travel I.D for national flights
  4. For certain jobs (like the New York Police Department) you are required to have a driver’s license
  5. If you lose your wallet, your license is the easiest way for someone to determine your contact information
  6. Last but not least… it states whether you are an organ donor!

Let’s hope this will never be needed for you… but in the case of a fatal crash, your New York driver license helps emergency personnel determine if you are an organ donor or not. Phew!

Now we know just how beneficial a driver’s license is for someone living in the U.S. To summarize, if you want to be a functioning member of the society, you better have a driver’s license!

But what does it take to get one? (If you are under the age of 18, please skip to step 3)

Step 2: Will I need a New York Driver License? What Are the Requirements?

In this step, you will learn exactly what you’ll need to be eligible to apply for a driver’s license in the state of New York.

First things first: Have you recently moved to New York from another state? If yes, start at part A. If no, skip to part B.

Part A: Welcome to New York! In short, you must surrender your out-of-state license and transfer to your NYS license within 30 days of establishing residency.

You can find a complete guide on this platform.

Hope your transition goes smoothly!

Part B: If any of the following criteria apply to you, you are required to obtain a new driver’s license: – You have never been previously licensed in New York and at least 18 years old – You are licensed to drive in a foreign country (other than Canada)

Step 3: What is a learner permit?

A learner permit is your first step toward getting a driver’s license in most US states, including New York.

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for one. You will need to pass a written test that covers laws and regulations of driving in the state of New York. Learn more about it by following the steps outlined here.

Step 4: What does the written test look like?

The written test is an important part of your education to getting a driver’s license.

It will teach you the theory of driving, driving laws and how to interpret driving situations. By carefully studying for the exam, you will stand a better chance of passing and getting one-step closer to being a legal, safe driver in the state of New York.

To pass the test, you must get at least 14 of the 20 multiple choice questions correct (including getting at least two of the four questions on road signs correct).

 In order to study for the test, please access the following link on the NY DMV page here. You can also check out this DMV interactive link:

This option includes interactive testing for each chapter for you to assess the progress you are making in your studies!

Step 5: In what languages can I take my written test?

a written test in essential in getting a New York driver license
Take a written test to know driving in NY

Class D and M permit tests are available in 14 different languages: English, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.

Step 6: What are the learner permit restrictions?

Since the permit is not a full driver’s license, drivers must abide by some restrictions to remain legal drivers in the state of New York.

Regardless of your age, if you are driving with a learner permit, someone who is at least 21 years old and has a valid, unexpired driver’s license must accompany you.

Furthermore, if you will take your vehicle from Brooklyn into New York City, you may not drive on any street within a park. It is important to note that if you are under the age of 18, you must wait a minimum of 6 months with your valid permit to schedule a road test.

Here is a document released by the DMV that further explains what you can and can’t do with a driver’s permit:

Step 7: What are the different types of permit and licenses, anyway?

Below, you will see a full description of all the types of licenses offered in the State of New York. Please note that you can also access information on different types of New York driver licenses here:

Step 8: What is the process of getting a driver’s permit?

Beyond the written test mentioned above, the future driver will need to follow a few steps in order to successfully apply (and hopefully earn) a driver’s permit in the State of New York. These are easy steps if planned out:

  1. Provide proof of identity (totaling 6 points).
  2. Submit a completed Application for Driver License or Non-Driver ID Card (Form MV-44). Your legal guardian must sign the application if underage
  3. Pay the fee.
  4. Pass a vision test.
  5. Pass the written test mentioned above. Once you have successfully obtained a driver’s permit, you are ready to begin practicing driving. However, make sure you are always being safe and abiding by the laws (and what your parents / legal guardians say!).

Step 9: How can family help their teen drivers get experience in driving?

As the family of the young driver, you have a lot of responsibility for ensuring safety. Here are some tips to guise you before a training session:

– Plan out a route instead of driving randomly

– Avoid busy streets or highways, plan to drive in smaller, quieter streets

– Make sure rear and side mirrors are adjusted appropriately for the new driver

 – Remind yourself to remain calm and refrain from raising your voice during the drive.

 Once the driving training is already underway, here are some things to consider:

– Warn the driver far in advance of any lane changes, such as signaling, turns, and merges coming up

– Avoid talking too much as this can be distracting for the driver

– Point out any dangerous decisions or blatant errors as the training is going on, as opposed to waiting until it is over

– DMV New York recommends keeping sessions under 20 minutes, to begin with. However, it is highly recommended you hire a driving school instructor in order to provide professional lessons to your child.

Step 10: How do I choose a reliable driving school and what do I look for in them?

Finding the right driving school for your child is very important.

Most people are not aware of what makes a good driving school, so please read carefully before just calling up anyone willing to teach your child!

Before committing to a school, you will need to consider a few items including your budget, how quickly you’d want to complete the training and whether you’d like one-on-one training or in a group setting.

Firstly, in short, a driving school is an authorized business by the DMV’s Bureau of Driver Training Programs. Although there are many different regulations stipulated by the DMV, (which I recommend you read here. These are some basic things to look out for at first glance.

The businesses must:

– Have a license clearly displayed at the business location

– Have an office that is open to the public with at least 50sq ft. Dedicated to the operation of driving school business

– Use acceptable receipts and contracts the school may provide the DMV approved 5-hour Pre-licensing Course to drivers looking to earn their New York driver license.

More information can be found on the DMV site.

Step 11: How many lessons should I take & when will know if I am ready to drive?

Take the required lessons to know how to drive.

As per New York State regulations, teens are recommended to have 50 hours of supervised driving experience before they take the road test.

Furthermore, if you are 16-years old, you must wait at least 6 months before taking the test. Once you have completed at least 50 hours of supervised driving, you should speak with your driving instructor on your ability to tackle the driver’s test.

Not only should your instructor be able to confidently say you are prepared to take your driver’s test (and be a safe driver beyond the test), but you also must feel comfortable with the idea of driving by yourself.

If you do not feel comfortable or your instructor does not believe you are fully ready, you should continue practicing supervised driving. There is no need to rush toward a New York driver license – remember safety first.

Once you, your instructor and family all agree that you have had enough driving experience, feel free to register for the road test.

Step 12: Is there any more training required beyond the 50 hours?

Yes. Once you’ve finished your supervised driving training, your parent or legal guardian must complete a Certification of Supervised driving (FORM MV-262). The form can be found on the DMV site right here.

 Please note that the DMV recommends 50 hours of supervised driving hours where the recommended breakdown is as follows: – 10 hours in medium / high traffic – 15 hours at night – 25 hours at regular driving conditions.

Step 13: What are the advantages of enrolling at a driving school as opposed to learning from family and friends?

You may feel reluctant to invest in a good driving school, but please read below to understand just how beneficial this investment can be.

Some of the advantages of learning how to drive through a school include:

– Being taught by industry professionals who are specialized in teaching new drivers the skills needed to be safe on the road. Family members and friends are not properly trained to give lessons. These professionals are ready to deal with any dangerous situations that may arise during practice sessions to guarantee your safety.

– Once you confirm the classes, there is no going back. The scheduled training times and strict guidelines will teach your child how to have driving discipline, which will stay with them for years to come.

– Regular practice and proper road knowledge think about it this way. Whatever professional field you may work in – you wouldn’t let an outsider do your job and expect it to be done well, would you?

So why would you assume family and friends could competently fill in as driving instructors when there are professionals specialized in that specific skill? Be wise. Invest in your child’s safe driving. At the end of the day, safety is always first.

Step 14: How can I keep calm and handle my nervousness as a beginner driver?

control your driving fear to drive confidently on NY roads
Learn to stay calm while driving.

If you are nervous at the thought of driving, don’t worry! You are not the first and definitely won’t be the last.

While a certain level of nervousness is natural for someone who is just starting to learn how to drive, it should not be excessive to the point of hindering your ability to drive safely and listen to instructions.

In this section, we will learn a few things that will help control your driving fear.

  1. Make sure you are well rested and hydrated.
  2. Before getting in the car, breathe calmly and remind yourself that it will all turn out OK.
  3. Ensure you have an experienced driver in the passenger seat to give you confidence (see above regarding the importance of driving schools).
  4. Ask the experienced driver any questions you have before beginning; feel free to share any insecurities or point of concerns.
  5. Initially, avoid driving at night and during peak times
  6. If while driving you feel excessively nervous, feel free to let the experienced passenger know and safely pull over or park the car if need be.

Step 15: Should we be concerned about other drivers and aware of our surrounding?


In order to appropriately practice safe driving, you will need to always be aware of your surroundings, including other vehicles, motorbikes, pedestrians, cyclists, road condition, traffic signs, weather, and any other external (and internal) variables.

While driving, make sure you are constantly using your side mirrors and rear mirror to drive within safe distances of surrounding car. For example, if you are looking to change lanes, always use your side and rear mirrors, and blind spot to check for safety.

Step 16: Is there a difference between daily driving and night driving?

Yes! Make sure that you have ample practice driving at night, as this is a completely different experience with added dangers on the road. You will need to drive on alert, always checking side mirrors and rear mirror.

Firstly, and most obviously, the night-time brings reduced visibility. While many highways are well lit, this is not the case for every street.

When driving at night, always remember to turn on your light beams, as this is the easiest way for surrounding drivers to notice your car.

Always ensure that your brake lights are functioning properly and that you use turn signals whenever needed.

In the cold Brooklyn winters, rush hour is often during night-time. Make sure you pay extra attention to surrounding drivers, your speed in comparison to the speed limit and staying within your lane.

Night-time also brings the possibility of drowsy driving, especially if you are a beginner driver. According to a study published by the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation causes 6,400 deaths and 50,000 serious injuries annually in the US.

Always ensure you are well rested, take breaks as necessary and avoid drivers who are swerving or drifting.

Step 17: How do I handle unexpected situations?

Sometimes, it may be difficult to plan for an unexpected situation, because… well… they are unexpected!

But, there are certain steps we can take to firstly avoid unexpected situations and handle them effectively when they do come up. Unexpected situations may very likely arise due to some type of vehicle issue or failure. If so, it is important to

– Remain calm

– Pull over safely whenever possible

– Set out reflective triangles or turn on emergency blinkers. Position any device at 100- foot and 200-foot increments behind your car.

– If you cannot correct the problem, signal for help.

Alternatively, you should always have an emergency contact number of a family member or trusted professional to help you in  emergencies

Unexpected situations will occur, often when you least expect it. By always driving within the law and being aware of your surroundings, you will be able to reduce the chances of being part of unexpected situations.

Step 18: How severe are traffic violations and how can I avoid them?

Firstly, it is important to understand that there are many different types of traffic violations.

Depending on the severity of your violation, you may expect fines, points deducted in your license, suspensions or even cancellations of your New York driver license. You can find more details here on the DMV site.  

You can avoid traffic violations by being a responsible, law-abiding driver. You must always adhere to the local laws, paying attention to the signs and speed limits.

Guard your New York driver license by avoiding traffic violations
Pay attention to road signs to avoid traffic violations.

Often, you will need to use your best judgment to interpret certain situations. If ever you are uncertain of what you can or can’t do, steer on the safe side. Contact an experienced professional with any further concerns you may have.

Also, keep in mind of driving behaviors that may annoy or offend surrounding drivers. According to a statistics report, texting while driving and tailgating are the two worse driving behaviors according to surrounding drivers.

Every year, 421,000 people are injured in crashes that have involved a driver who was distracted in some way.

Step 19: What is the difference in driving on the highway vs. in the city?

There are various differences in driving down a highway or in city blocks. Below is a summarized break down of what you can expect at each one:

get driver license new york to drive on highway
Drive safely while on highways.

In both cases, you must always follow the law and be aware of your surroundings to ensure you are practicing safe driving.

Step 20: Confidence building and readiness to drive.

Having the confidence to know that you are able to drive is an important part of actually being able to drive well.

With experience, you will naturally gain confidence and know how to use your best judgment to make decisions on the road. Remember, learning how to drive with a good school is a huge step toward gaining confidence!

Step 21: How can parents monitor their teen drivers?

Great question! As the parent of a new teen driver, I suspect you would like to know exactly how you monitor if they are being safe drivers. Well, there is good news. The Department of Motor Vehicles of New York has set up a program called Teen Electronic Event Notification Service (TEENS).

The program notifies the parents of a driver younger than 18 of any driving incident that has happened through a record system. It helps the parents to stay informed and prevents any poor driving habits before escalating.

More information about the TEENS program can be found on the DMV website page.

Step 22: Once I have completed the driver’s permit, what about the driver’s test?

How long is it? Congratulations on being ready to take the road test! Firstly, you will need to schedule a road test.

You will need both a valid New York State learner permit and an original, unexpired Pre-Licensing Course Certificate (MV-278) (or a Driver Education Certificate (MV-285)). Your test will last around 20 minutes, which will be enough time for the DMV examiner conducting the test to assess your ability behind the wheel.

The examiner’s evaluation will cover various aspects of driving that you should prepare for. You can find further information regarding how to prepare for your road test here:

Step 23: What else will I need to bring with me on the road test?

Below is a complete checklist for what to bring to a road test. Make sure you have everything listed, as you will not be able to take the test if you forget something.

Step 24: Will the DMV provide me with a car to take a test with?

 No. It is not the DMV’s responsibility to provide a vehicle for your test.

What is most recommended is using the best driving school to help you. Oftentimes, they will be able to pick you up, allow you to use their car for the exam, and drop you back off at home.

Please contact your preferred driving school that you have done your lessons with to schedule pick-up & drop-off times for your road test.

Step 25: Will I be able to ask questions to the examiner during the test?

No. Speaking should be kept to a minimum and only relate to clarifying any instructions you receive from the examiner.

Refrain from asking any other questions, as this could very easily cause you to fail your test.

Step 26: Can I schedule to take a test right after I get my permit?

If you are over the age of 18, you may schedule your road test right away.

However, if you are not yet 18 years old, you must wait six months before scheduling your road test.

Step 27: I am a teen; can I drive right away after passing my road test?

As a teen, once you pass your road test, you will be given a junior driver’s license, which is one step away from a senior driver’s license.

At 17 years old, you may change your junior driver’s license to a senior license by completing a state-approved Driver’s Ed course.

You must present your Driver Education Certificate (Form MV-285) to the New York DMV.

However, if you wish not to complete the Driver’s Ed course, you will need to wait until you turn 18 years old to get a senior driver license.

Step 28: What happens if I don’t pass the test?

If you fail your road test in New York, you can reschedule the second attempt at no cost. If you fail the second road test, you will need to pay a $10 fee that grants you two more attempts.

However, please note that you may only take road tests for as long as your learner permit is still valid. If you failed a road test, strongly consider the option of taking some more driving classes with your driving school.

Failing a test does not mean you are a bad driver. It may have been a couple of simple mistakes that added up to too many lost points.

Don’t lose motivation; keep practicing, and you will soon pass! If it makes you feel better, NY Daily News reported that in 2012, less than half of the New Yorkers who took the road test actually passed.

Step 29: My permit expired, and I still haven’t gotten my New York driver license, what should I do?

 You can find full information regarding how to renew your learner permit directly from the DMV website right on this page.

Step 30: So what now?

We hope this post clarifies all the questions you had regarding how to legally drive in Brooklyn, New York.

We are excited that you are considering, or already embarked, on the journey to getting your driver’s license with your photo on it. Please feel free to reach out to us and tell us how we may help facilitate the process.

Contact Brooklyn’s #1 Driving School today to begin the process of becoming a safe, certified driver in the state of New York! Info below:


Address: 891 Clarkson Ave

Brooklyn, NY 11203

Phone: 718-576-6277

Step 31: ENJOY!