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How Old Do You Have To Be To Test Drive A Car?

how old do you have to be to test drive a car

Planning to get a car?

But, what about the license? 

Yes, we have all gone through this surreal feeling of wanting to cruise around our car just after our 16th Birthday. However, we immediately get intimidated thinking about the difficult process of getting a license.  

Questions keep cluttering our minds and the first query is the age. Something that makes us wonder whether we will even be allowed to test drive a car. 

If you are overwhelmed with the idea of getting a license or going for a test drive, read the article below to know how old do you have to be to test drive a car. Sit back and take notes as we answer some of the other pressing queries regarding this subject. 

What Is The Correct Age To Go For A Test Drive?


This is a very subjective question that can have many answers. Especially when the rules are different for different countries and even different states in the United States of America

I will put down a few of the major states in the USA and UK for you to understand how jurisdiction-wise it differs. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Test Drive A Car In California?

Under Californian standard you should at least be 16 and have a GDL to test drive a car. 

What Is A GDL?

A GDL in the United States Of America is an initial license given to new drivers where they cannot operate the vehicle alone. A supervised or fully licensed driver has to always accompany them before their license comes. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Test Drive A Car In New York?


Similarly to California, you need to be at least 16 to test drive a car in New York. You can’t go for a test drive in the state with just your learner’s license

What Is The Difference Between GDL License And Learners?

There isn’t a difference as the two are the same. Learners are just the first stage of GDL license among the other three stages of Intermediate Stage and Full Privileged stage. 

Some other states with the age 16 benchmark:

Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania. 

None of these allow a test drive with just your driving license. You at least have to reach the intermediate stage in your GDL. 

How Old Do You Have To  Be To Test Drive A Car In Some Other States?


Some of the states do not allow a test drive without a full license in hand. 

For Example:

Oregon gives a full driving license to people who are 17 and only then you are allowed to take a test drive. A few of the states with the same protocol are Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Hampshire. 

Some other states with the age 18 benchmarks for test-driving are Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, Florida, District of Columbia. 

How Old Do You Have To Be To Test Drive A Car In The United Kingdom?


In the United Kingdom, 17 is the age when you can get the full license, but you might still face difficulty while trying for a test drive. 

Why Is That?

This is not a problem only pertaining to the United Kingdom but many other countries and a few states in America too. This is where the dealership rules come in. So, if you are wondering how old you have to be to test drive at a dealership, know that it can differ from one dealership to the other.

However, remember that no matter the protocol, the age group will always be between 16 to 18. 

Things To Keep In Mind Before Going For A Test Drive


Yes, it is exciting to get your license and go for that first test drive, but the anticipation can sometimes cloud your judgment. Hence, it is always advisable to have a concrete plan and know the things you should do or avoid before you go. 

  • Never go for a test drive in a hurry. Time is what you need to access every part of the car and your driving skill before you decide to purchase the car 
  • Take the car out on busy roads to understand the different difficulties you might have while driving and whether the car has the features to resist it. 
  • You must assess the interior too. Check the dashboard for any unnatural sounds; the passenger seat and back seats; the interior functionalities like music system, navigation system, blind spot monitoring, etc. 
  •  Lastly, never go for a test drive alone. Always, take an experienced driver alongside.

Enjoy The Ride

So, you have already read the article about “how old do you have to be to test drive a car”. As a novice driver it is common to get anxious about the mechanics of a car but with a few mishaps don’t feel disheartened. You are not a bad driver! You just need a little more practice with a dash of self-confidence. 

Your first test drive should be an experience of a lifetime. Hence, keep the rules in your head with a slight reminder and enjoy the rest of you embarking on this new journey. 

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Deepanwita Dey

Deepanwita has always considered writing as the ultimate weapon to share every thought an individual ambles through. For her writing is not just an activity it’s a motivation for the scarred mind. She loves writing in genres like fashion, lifestyle, literature etc.

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