The California Driver Handbook

So you’re finally in the beginning stages of pursuing that honorable, arduous journey to getting your California driver license. Just kidding – it’s actually pretty simple and straightforward, and it begins with getting your learner permit. But in order to do that, you’ll have to pass the driver test first.

“But Aceable,” you cry woefully, “how will I pass this seemingly impossible driver test?” Easy! Just take free permit practice tests with Aceable! Looking for more resources? Study the California Driver Handbook, which is where all the questions for the test will come from. The best part? You can get the manual for free (we’ll link to all the places where you can get the handbook at the end of the post).

What is The DMV Handbook?

The California Driver Handbook is a 116-page booklet published by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. It’s available for all types of drivers (including commercial and motorcycle) in a wide variety of languages (English, Armenian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian, Punjabi, Farsi, American Sign Language).

The handbook and other driving manuals are meant to help new-to-California residents, as well as first-time drivers, get acquainted with the rules of the road, understand traffic laws and safety information.

What Is Covered In the Handbook?

At a high level, the manual provides information regarding different types of licenses, state traffic laws, road signs, safe driving information, health and safety regulations, and what to expect on your examination. All of this will help you drive safely and successfully in the state of California!

Here’s a full list of the major topics of the CDL and a quick summary of what each covers.

NEW 2017 LAWS

New traffic laws effective January 01, 2017.

You gotta follow the rule of law

DMV INFORMATION

Information and hours of your state DMV office.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Disclaimer and general housekeeping information.

THE CALIFORNIA DRIVER LICENSE

Information about who must have a driver license in California.

OBTAINING A DRIVER LICENSE

Requirements for obtaining a permit and driver license.

DRIVER LICENSE CLASSES

Overview of what to expect in your driving classes.

Take Drivers Ed with Aceable
take drivers ed with the best

THE NEW DRIVER EXAMINATION PROCESS

Where to take tests and what to expect during the test.

SPECIAL SECTION – MINORS

Requirements, restrictions and permit information for minors.

MISCELLANEOUS LICENSING INFORMATION.

Covers a wide variety of topics including replacing a lost license, changing information on your license, and renewing your license.

OCCUPANT PROTECTION

Overview of the safety mechanisms in your vehicle.

TRAFFIC CONTROLS

Explanation of speed limits, traffic lights, signals and signs.

LAWS AND RULES OF THE ROAD

Summary of laws including right-of-way and cellphone usage.

VISUAL SEARCH

Advice on scanning and gauging the distance of objects around you.

LANE CONTROL

Tips on changing lanes, passing, yield lines and line colors.

TURNS

Overview of legal and illegal turns and u-turns.

PARKING

Explanation of parking regulations and best practices for a variety of situations.

Police academy Parking
We hope you can park better than this!

SAFE DRIVING PRACTICES

Best practices for signaling, steering, headlights, and horn usage.

VEHICLE POSITIONING

Best practices for following distance, passing and merging.

SHARING THE ROAD

How to drive safely with a variety of other vehicles types and drivers (like 18-wheelers, motorcycles, trailers, bicyclists, etc.).

SPECIAL DRIVING SITUATIONS

How to drive safely in a variety of dangerous situations.

HANDLING EMERGENCIES

What to do in the event of a road accident.

DRIVER READINESS

Tips for staying emotionally, mentally and physically ready for driving.

The California drivers handbook and Aceable will help you feel ready

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

Everything you should know about the dangers of drinking and driving.

ADDITIONAL DRIVING LAWS/RULES

Misc. things you must and must not do.

ADMINISTRATIVE

Information on things like insurance requirements, collisions, getting a ticket, etc.

ONLINE DRIVER LICENSE FAST FACTS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Sample practice tests.

Where to get the handbook

Good news for those of you always on the go: the California DMV now offers the Driver Handbook on mobile for iOS and Android here. The app also offers sample quizzes, instructional videos and interactive tutorials.

Prefer to do it all online? Download a PDF of the CDL handbook on the DMV website here.

To get a hard copy of the driver’s manual by snail mail, contact your local CA DMV office or call (800) 777-0133 (office hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.). You can also pick up a driving manual in person at your local DMV office.