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How to Get a Minnesota Driver's License

Attention Minnesota teens, if you're ready to get behind the wheel, these are the steps you'll need to follow to get your Minnesota drivers license. Your state has a graduated driver's licensing system, so it's important to follow each step if you want to get on the road.

Step One: Get Your Permit

You can get your learner's permit when you turn 15, and it will allow you to legally practice driving. The first thing you'll need to do is take a drivers education course. Minnesota requires teenagers to complete the classroom portion of drivers ed and to be enrolled in the behind-the-wheel portion before they can get their permit.

Next, you'll need to take a written knowledge exam. There are locations across the state that offer the exam. Be sure to check their schedules in advance as some offer it only on select days and times.

When you go to take your exam, you'll need to bring a primary form of identification (a passport or birth certificate) and a secondary form. You'll also need your "Blue Card," which shows that you're signed up for a drivers ed program.

The written exam covers Minnesota's road signs and traffic laws, and it includes both multiple choice and true or false questions. The best way to study for the exam is to review the Minnesota Driver's Manual.

Once you've passed the written test, you can apply for your permit at a Minnesota drivers license office. To do this, you'll need a completed application that's been signed by your parents, as well as proof that you passed the written exam.

Step Two: Log Your Practice Hours

With your permit, you're allowed to practice driving with a licensed adult who is 21 or older. When you're driving, everyone in the car must be wearing their seat belt and you cannot use your cell phone (even hands free.)

In addition to completing the behind-the-wheel portion of drivers ed, the state of Minnesota requires permit holders to log at least 50 hours of driving practice, including at least 15 hours at night, before they can apply for their provisional license.

Step Three: Take Your Road Skills Exam

Once you're 16 and you've had your permit for at least six months, you can take your road skills exam. You'll want to make an appointment for the test online.

On the day of your test, you'll need to bring your permit and ID documents. First, your test administrator will want to make sure that you can operate your car's safety features. You'll need to show that things like your headlights, brake lights and windshield wipers are in working order.

Once you're on the road, you'll be expected to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Parallel parking and parking on a hill
  • Knowledge of traffic laws and road signs
  • Ability to control the vehicle, and react to other drivers and pedestrians
  • Ability to back into a parking space

After passing your road test, you'll get a provisional license.

Step Four: Drive Carefully

At this point, you've almost got your full Minnesota drivers license... it's yours after a year with your provisional license as long as you follow traffic laws and don't violate any driving restrictions.

With your provisional license, you can't:

  • Drive between midnight and 5 a.m. for the first six months, unless you're with a licensed adult who is 25 or older, or you're driving to or from work or school
  • Drive with more than one passenger who is under 20 for the first six months (with the exception of immediate family members), unless you're with a parent or guardian
  • Drive with more than three passengers who are under 20 at any point
  • Use a cell phone while driving

If you follow those rules, you'll receive your unrestricted Minnesota drivers license.

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