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New Jersey Drivers Education

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To drive a vehicle in New Jersey, you have to have a valid driver’s license. People trying to drive for the first time have to obtain a Graduated Driver License (GDL). There are also additional programs for drivers who have violated traffic laws and programs to assist with defensive driving techniques.

Testing and Preparing to Drive

Testing is required before anyone can get a driver’s license in New Jersey. First, you have to take the Graduated Driver License program and complete it to obtain a basic license. Part of that program includes taking tests such as:

  • Vision tests, which require at least 20/50 vision
  • Knowledge tests, which require knowledge of the state’s laws and driving acuity
  • Road tests, which monitor your driving, stopping at the appropriate signs, sitting, turning, parallel parking, yielding, and completing other driving actions

Those who pass the test can obtain their license—those who do not need to wait 14 days to retake the test.

There are several tests that you need to pass to get a driver’s license in the state of New Jersey. You must also pass a vision exam and the knowledge and driving tests. If you pass all of these tests, you can get your license. If you do not pass all of these tests, If you are a teen applying for an NJ driver’s license, you will also have to complete one of the three following driver education courses:

  • Driver education provided by your public school
  • Parent-taught driver education
  • Traditional driver education course offered by a certified driver training school

If you are a new New Jersey resident applying for a New Jersey driver’s license, the process is different for you. You will have to surrender your unexpired driver license but you do not have to pass a driving test if you are surrendering an unexpired driver license from another state and you are over the age of 18. You can learn more about this process here.

Graduated Driver License

New Jersey Uses a Graduated Driver License Program. To get a license, drivers first receive a permit and probationary license. After practice, they receive the basic license.

Drivers may receive their license and special learner’s permit at the age of 16 if they are enrolled in a high school training course or a licensed driving school in New Jersey.

Remedial Driver Programs

The Motor Vehicle Commission offers remedial driver programs. The two types available include:

  • The Driver Improvement Program
  • The Probationary Driver Program
The DIP Program

The DIP program is only for experienced drivers. It is a classroom-based course offered instead of a 30-day license suspension for drivers who have over 12 or 14 points on their license that have accumulated within two years. By completing the program, up to three points will be removed from the driver’s license. The course has a cost, and a $75 administration fee applies.

The PDP Program

The PDP program is a program for probationary drivers. While they are on the two-year probationary period, they can take this four-hour class to remove up to three points from their license. This course requires a training fee as well as a $75 administrative fee.

Keep in mind that any additional violations committed within 12 months of completing the above programs will result in a license suspension. A suspension is also likely if you miss the course.

Defensive Driving Courses

Defensive driving courses are voluntary. These are part of the Driver Improvement Program and available to help you remove up to two points from your license if you complete a course. Defensive driving courses have to be offered by a state-approved program and may only be used once every five years to reduce the number of points on your license.

By taking a defensive driving course, you may also be able to reduce your insurance rates. New Jersey has a list of approved defensive driving courses online and locally on the Motor Vehicle Commission website.

in any state, you need a valid driver’s license to drive a vehicle in New Jersey. If you want to drive for the first time, you need to have a provisional driver’s license. You can later upgrade this to a regular driver’s license after completing all the necessary steps.

You can also take a number of defensive driving courses. For your convenience and safety, you can take these courses in a classroom or in an online setting. You can take an approved defensive driving course in New Jersey.

Provisional Driver’s License and Driver’s License

You have to have held a valid learner license for at least six months and completed the behind-the-wheel portion of driver education. This includes multiple components, which are:

  • 7 hours of in-car observation sitting beside the instructor and paying attention to the demonstration of certain instruction points
  • 7 hours of in-car observation driving and demonstrating that you have learned these points of instruction
  • 30 hours of driving practice, including a minimum of 10 hours of night driving with a licensed driver 21 years or older in the vehicle at all times

You also have to complete the NJ Teen Driver Program within the previous 90 days of taking the skills test and pass your driving test. To upgrade to a regular driver’s license, you must be at least 18 years old and you need to bring proof you completed the six-hour adult Driver Education Course. After providing proof of your identity, you must pay the application fee, provide your thumbprints, and have your picture taken. You will get your regular driver’s license after you do all this and pass the vision exam, knowledge test, and driving test.

New Jersey DMV Cheat Sheet for Driver’s License Test

Traffic Signs and Signals:

  • Stop Signs: Red octagons always come to a complete stop.
  • Yield Signs: Red and white triangles, slow down and give right-of-way.
  • Speed Limit Signs: Black and white rectangular signs posted speed limits.
  • Regulatory Signs: White rectangles with black lettering indicate rules and regulations.
  • Warning Signs: Yellow diamonds indicate potential hazards or changes in road conditions.
  • Construction Signs: Orange diamonds or rectangles indicate construction zones.
  • Guide Signs: Green, blue, or brown rectangles provide information about destinations, services, or points of interest.
  • Traffic Signals: Red (stop), yellow (caution), green (go). Know the meaning of flashing signals and arrow signals.

Traffic Laws and Rules:

  • Always wear seatbelts.
  • Obey posted speed limits.
  • Follow the right-of-way rules:
    a. At four-way stops, first come, first served.
    b. Yield to pedestrians and cyclists.
    c. Yield to vehicles already in the intersection.
  • Do not use a cell phone while driving unless it’s hands-free.
  • No texting while driving.
  • Use headlights from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Maintain a safe following distance (3-second rule).

Lane Usage and Turns:

  • Keep right except to pass.
  • Use turn signals at least 100 feet before turning or changing lanes.
  • Right on red is permitted unless posted otherwise, after a complete stop and yielding to traffic and pedestrians.
  • Left on red is only permitted from a one-way street onto another one-way street unless posted otherwise.
  • U-turns are prohibited where signs indicate, within 500 feet of a curve or hill, or when they interfere with traffic.

Parking Rules:

  • Do not park within 25 feet of a crosswalk or intersection, within 10 feet of a fire hydrant, or within 50 feet of a stop sign.
  • Always park in the direction of traffic.
  • Use the parking brake and turn the wheels towards the curb when parking downhill and away from the curb when parking uphill.

Safe Driving Practices:

  • Always signal and check mirrors and blind spots before turning or changing lanes.
  • Be aware of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
  • Adjust speed based on weather and road conditions.
  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Keep a safe distance from emergency vehicles and pull over when they are approaching.

Miscellaneous:

    • Know the penalties for driving under the influence.
    • Familiarize yourself with local school bus-stopping laws.
    • Be aware of child safety seat requirements.
    • Know what to do in case of a traffic accident or breakdown.

    Remember, this cheat sheet is only a guide to help you study for your New Jersey driver’s license test. Read the New Jersey Driver’s Manual for a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations. Good luck!

    Last Verified:
    Apr 9, 2023