Behind the Wheel

All Teenagers (under 18) are required by the Virginia DMV to complete the Behind the Wheel road skills test to get their Driver's License. There are 7 appointments total, each lasting at least 1 hour and 40 minutes. At each appointment, the student will spend at least 50 minutes driving and 50 minutes observing someone else drive.

The first 6 appointments are for the driving instructor to provide practice and improvement, while at the 7th appointment the driving test is performed. When the student passes the test, the instructor will issue a Driver Training Certificate (also known as a DTS-B) for the student, which is valid for 180 days. A Learner's Permit along with the DTS-B serves as a Driver's License and doesn't become valid until the teenager is 16 years and 3 months of age and has had their Learner's Permit for at least 9 months.

After completing the course, we send a copy of your Driver Training Certificate to the DMV, where it's kept on file. Within 3 months the local Juvenile Court will send you a postcard with the date and time of the licensing ceremony where the student will receive their actual Driver's License.

Requirements for Behind the Wheel

  • A valid VA Learner's Permit
    • The Driver Training Certificate you get for completing Behind the Wheel won’t be valid until you’ve held your Learner’s Permit for at least 9 months, and the student is at least 16 years and 3 months of age.
  • A signed Driver Education Certificate of Completion. Usually, a pink sheet is given to you by your high school, or wherever you completed Driver Education.
  • A Driving Log showing at least 45 hours of driving, with at least 15 of the hours being from after sunset.

What to Bring to Your First Appointment

  • Payment in the form of Cash or Check (Checks made out to “Abba Driving School”)
  • A Photocopy of Learners Permit issued by the DMV
  • Your signed Driver Education Certificate of Completion. Usually, a pink sheet is given to you by your high school, or wherever you completed Driver Education.

How Students Are Graded

Students are evaluated on 50 driving maneuvers for their final Behind the Wheel road skills test. They cover a host of various driving skills from parking to highway lane merger. Don’t fret if you make one or two mistakes. As long as you successfully complete 40 of the 50 maneuvers, then you still maintain a passing score, anything less though is considered a failure.

Students immediately fail their Behind the Wheel test if the student does any of the following:

  • Is the cause of a crash.
  • Committed a clear violation of the law, such as any moving violation for which the applicant could be cited.
  • If the student is unable to maintain control of the vehicle.

Here is the complete list of all 50 driving maneuvers that a student is tested for:

  • Starting - The ability to start the vehicle properly.
    • Uses proper gear
    • Demonstrates proper use of the brake
  • Backing - The ability to control the vehicle while driving in reverse.
    • Looks in rear and side-view mirrors before and during backing maneuver
    • Turns head and looks over both shoulders before putting car in reverse
    • Backs vehicle smoothly in a straight line without weaving
  • Parking - The ability to drive in a parking lot and park the vehicle.
    • Checks traffic
    • Maintains proper speed
    • Signals when necessary
    • Parks vehicle within lines
  • Stop / Yield Signs - The ability to observe and obey stop signs and other signs.
    • Stops at the correct place
    • Slows down or stops, if necessary, at a yield sign
  • Turns - The ability to control the vehicle while making a turn. The test route will include at least 2 pre-determined left turns and 2 pre-determined right turns. Each of the below criteria is counted 4 times; twice for left turns, and twice for right turns.
    • Moves to proper lane before turning
    • Checks traffic and gives proper signal before turning
    • Maintains proper speed
    • Completes turn satisfactorily
    • Completes turn in the proper lane
  • Intersections - The ability to drive through controlled or uncontrolled intersections.
    • Checks traffic by looking both ways before entering the intersection
    • Obeys traffic signs / signals
    • Yields to oncoming traffic
    • Makes no unnecessary stops
    • Maintains proper speed
  • Curves - The ability to drive in a curve.
    • Maintains proper entrance speed
    • Maintains proper through speed
    • Maintains proper lane position
  • Lane Changes - The ability to change lanes.
    • Signals before changing lanes
    • Performs over-the-shoulder visual checks
    • Maintains steering control (does not oversteer or weave)
    • Maintains proper speed
  • Overall Driving Ability
    • Maintains the posted speed
    • Maintains the proper following distance (a time gap of 3 seconds between the student’s vehicle and the vehicle ahead)
    • Does not oversteer or weave
    • Selects proper lane (does not straddle lane or frequently change lanes)
    • Demonstrates an understanding of traffic signs and regulations/use of signals
    • Gives adequate attention to what is happening and responds appropriately
    • Starts/stops smoothly

Our Driving Instructors

All our instructors are DMV Certified, and offer free door-to-door pick-up from school, home, or wherever your life leads you! We offer flexible hours, allowing us to conveniently fit around your schedule, at all times of the day including weekends. Our instructors all have at least 15 years of driving instruction experience, have been DMV Certified, and receive annual background checks from the FBI.

Our Vehicles

All of our vehicles are clean, modern, and equipped with automatic transmissions. They pass yearly inspections from the DMV and comply with Virginia State requirements to ensure our students have maximum safety.

Behind the Wheel Re-Examination

If you've failed this or the road skills test from the DMV 3 times, you have to go through the re‑examination process. This class consists of 12 hours of one-on-one driving over several periods. The DMV has more information on the re‑examination requirements .

REGISTRATION   —    Behind the Wheel

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Please answer the above question Since you have already failed 3 times, you need Behind the Wheel Re-Examination which you can read about below.

Use Defensive Driving to Reduce Risk When Behind the Wheel

Allocating sufficient time when driving behind the wheel helps to reduce risks while driving. Increasing speed reduces the ability for a driver to react to different situations. It takes time for people to react and a vehicle to stop, and there are many factors that contribute such as speed, the type of surface you are driving on, the weight of the vehicle, road conditions, and the condition of the tires and brakes on the car.

Drivers must also have the right amount of visual and mental energy to correctly handle risks while driving. Even professional drivers can’t take their eyes off the road for more than a couple seconds without risking an accident. Your windshield must be clear, and you must have the energy and wherewithal to drive.

You must have the space for yourself on the road to drive safely. When driving in traffic, or other conditions that limit your ability to stay separated from other cars on the road, then you risk your ability to drive without risking a collision. Other drivers must respect and grant you the space necessary, and in the same way, you must give other drivers space.

Our driving school covers all of these topics and more in our Behind the Wheel course. We teach new drivers how to sufficiently reduce risks be ensuring they have left themselves the proper amount of response time, visibility, and space on the road.