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DMV Driver Handbook

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SUMMARY: Driver Handbooks

Each state has a number of DMV handbooks and driver's manuals to help you become a safer driver. Common driving manuals include those for a standard driver's license, commercial driver's license (CDL), and motorcycle license. Some states may also offer additional resources, including driver's handbooks for teen drivers. Every state also has a Vehicle Code, which includes information about laws related to motor vehicles and traffic laws.

Choose your state above for your state's driver's handbooks and DMV manuals.

Driver's Manuals

Obtaining a copy of your state's driver's manual is easy. Most are available online for your convenience, or you may be able to pick up a hard copy of a DMV handbook at your local DMV office.

Driving manuals cover a variety of driving topics, including:

  • Rules of the road in your state.
  • Safety tips.
  • Reading traffic signs and signals.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI, DWI, OWI, etc.).

Your state's driving manual will most likely cover additional topics such as:

  • Driver's license application procedures.
  • Handling emergency situations.
  • Changing your name or address.
  • Non-resident driving issues.

Reading the driver's handbook benefits both new and experienced drivers. If you're a new driver, learning the information in the DMV handbook will help you pass your written and skills exams, and if you're an experienced driver, the DMV manual can be a helpful reminder of safe driving skills.

If you've just moved to a new state, the driver's manual can also help you learn the traffic laws of that state, which could differ from those in your home state.

Don't Forget an Online Practice Test!

Although studying the DMV handbook is a good way to prepare for the written exam, we have a more effective option. Prepare for the test with an online practice test from our approved partner. You'll learn the material in the driving manual and feel confident that you're ready for the test. It's like having the answers when you walk through the door at the DMV.

Commercial Driver's Manuals

If you're applying for a commercial driver's license (CDL) in your state, you'll need to take the time to read your state's commercial driving manual. Topics include:

  • How to apply for a CDL in your state.
  • Towing trailers (including doubles and triples).
  • Combination vehicles.
  • How to transport hazardous materials.
  • Air brakes.
  • Required pre-trip inspections.
  • Carrying passengers and cargo safely.

Reading your state's DMV handbook for CDLs will help you pass both the written and road tests required to obtain your CDL.

Motorcycle Handbooks

If you're applying for your motorcycle license, your DMV office also has a driver's manual for you. In some cases, the motorcycle manual may be part of the driver's handbook.

The motorcycle driving manual covers various topics, including:

  • Preparing to ride your motorcycle.
  • Applying for your motorcycle license.
  • Choosing the right gear.
  • Changing lanes safely.
  • Passing other vehicles and being passed.
  • Riding in groups safely.

Each state may have different motorcycle laws, including those related to safety equipment, so it's important you read the DMV handbook prior to taking your motorcycle out for a spin.

The written test you'll take is based on your state's motorcycle driving manual, so you'll also need to read it to prepare for your motorcycle license test.

NOTE: Most motorcycle drivers manuals cover only motorcycle operation and safety. If you're new to a state or getting your first license, you should also read and study the state's DMV handbook for non-commercial or passenger vehicles to prepare for your driver's license test.

Vehicle Code

If you want more information than what the driver's handbook has to offer about state laws concerning traffic violations, safety requirements, and vehicles, take a look at your state's Vehicle Code.

You'll find the actual laws regarding:

  • Vehicle titling and registrations.
  • Traffic laws, violations, and penalties.
  • Pedestrians.
  • Driver's licensing.
  • Vehicle dealer licensing.
  • Vehicle equipment (including safety equipment).
  • Accident procedures.

The laws in the Vehicle Code offer more detail than most driving manuals.

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