Frequently Asked Questions | Defensive Driving School

Teen Program

Scheduling drives during COVID-19


Dear DDS Customer,

The State of Washington has now deemed driver training and license testing an essential business. We are still finalizing instructor schedules so more drive times will become available in the days ahead.

Welcome Back to Behind the Wheel Lessons and Testing! We have been preparing for your return to Defensive Driving School. Your safety is essential, so we are taking the following precautions:

• Constant cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces in common areas including bathrooms, lobby areas, door handles and vehicles.
• Utilizing appropriate personal protective equipment for staff.
• For drives, 2 windows need to be down at least 3” for airflow. Click to see the research here.
• Discontinuing the practice of handshaking and any non-essential contact

Here is what you can do to help:

• Masks are required for all lessons and tests and need to cover both the nose and mouth. Customers must bring their own masks. For mask requirements and DIY instructions please see instructions from the CDC here.
• For those who wear glasses and do not have contacts please get comfortable wearing your mask with glasses to make sure they do not fog up while you are driving with us. See how to prevent glasses from fogging up
• If you are showing any symptoms of illness, you must call and speak to one of the office staff to reschedule your drive. If you show up for your appointment sick your appointment will be canceled.
• Please schedule online at or call ahead to schedule your Skills Test, Knowledge Test or Driving Lesson. No walk-ins are permitted at this time.
• Please pay online or over the phone for services (Teen Courses must be registered online.)
• For your safety and peace of mind the student will be asked to use a sanitizing wipe to clean the driver’s side of the car including door handle inside and out, steering wheel and controls, gear shift, hand brake, rearview mirror housing, seat adjustment, seatbelt buckle, and car key.
• Please avoid congregating and observe social distancing of 6’.
• Students & exam applicants should bring their own writing utensils.

Behind the Wheel Lessons (Teen or Adult):
• If you do not have a permit please do not schedule a lesson. You are not allowed to drive on public roads without a learner’s permit or driver’s license. If you do not have a permit, yet, you will need to wait for the DOL to reopen to obtain one before scheduling drives.
• Mask covering nose and mouth is required.
• No observers are allowed in the car at this time.
• Lessons or course need to be paid in full before you can begin to schedule the driving lessons.
• Please register online at or by phone.

Knowledge Tests:
• You need to be registered with the DOL and License Express. To pre-apply click here. We cannot test you without the WDL number or state ID number.
• Please bring your photo ID – you cannot test without a photo ID.
• Please bring your own writing utensil – we cannot sanitize any at this time.
• Mask covering nose and mouth is required. You will be 6 feet away from other people and the instructor during the test.
• Please register online at or by phone.

Skills Test:
• You need to have passed your Knowledge Test before you can schedule the Skills Test.
• You need to bring your photo ID or permit with you for the test.
• Mask covering nose and mouth is required.
• If your permit has expired we can give you a temporary authorization to drive for the test only. It’s not valid for lessons or warm-up lessons.
• All skills tests will be held in a company vehicle (no customer vehicles). If you have already paid for a skills test in a customer vehicle we will upgrade you to the company vehicle at no extra cost. Please email or call the office to upgrade the test so you can schedule.
• Please register online at or by phone.

Feel free to ask any of us at any time about all that we do to protect your health.

Parent session

Please join us! Students learn best when the teachers, parents and students work together. In the parent session, we will discuss the basic requirements for driver’s ed, State requirements, graduated licensing and habit formation. Included: Coaching New Drivers course so that you can confidently begin to practice driving with your teen. 

Parents are invited to attend an online parent session Zoom webinar at (choose a date in the drop down menu).

This is both an exciting opportunity and a tremendous responsibility for your student. Let’s work together with your family to make this a safe and successful experience for all of us.

If you are not able to attend the live parent session scheduled for your teen’s course then you can watch a Zoom pre-recorded parent session. Click below to register. You will use your own contact information when registering and your student’s course number. Then enter the password below to login.

Topic: Parent Session
Meeting Recording (choose only if you cannot attend one of the live sessions):

Teen Course details

  • Provided in our classes: 34 hours of classroom, 5 hours of driving, and 1 hour student observation.
  • A parent information session will be held.
  • We strongly encourage a parent or guardian ride along on at least one driving lesson.
  • Minimum course length is 5 weeks and all classroom and driving requirements must be completed within 4 months. Students are allowed to miss and make up a maximum of 3 classes. Please keep extra-curricular activities and travel plans in mind before registering for a teen course to ensure proper attention can be given toward this course.
  • A driving permit is required before the first lesson. Students can get their permit up to 10 days before the start date of class.
  • Driving lessons are held outside of classroom meeting times and will extend beyond the end of the classroom portion of the course.
  • Upon completion of the course, an electronic certificate will be reported to the Department of Licensing. This process takes up to 3-4 weeks.
  • Most of our communication is through email. When registering please provide a regularly checked email address for both student and parent.

How do I register?

On the class you want, click View More Info, select any add-on products you wish to purchase, and then select the blue Register button, fill out the required information and press Submit.

Can I register over the phone?

Unfortunately not. You will need to register on our site or in person. The Department of Licensing requires that we obtain a signature for the terms and conditions (either on a form or digitally).

Can I register in person?

Yes, but only in the Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Silverdale and Kennewick offices. All other locations are classrooms and meeting places for previously-scheduled appointments and do not have office staff who can help you.

How does my student get a permit?

Defensive Driving School does not issue permits or licenses; only the DOL can do that. We upload waivers for our enrolled students to the DOL’s database. During COVID-19 please click on this link for directions on how to obtain your non-photo permit beginning 10 days prior to class start date: DOL Non Photo Permit Instructions. There are extremely limited appointments for in-person photo permits which can be scheduled here: Students are not required to have their permit for classroom sessions, but they are required to have a permit before their first driving lesson. It is not required for students to take the Knowledge Test before the class.

For more information on how to get a permit and what documents to bring to the DOL click on this link:

Do you have a payment plan?

Yes. The payment plan requires a $200 minimum deposit, plus a $10 administrative fee. To take advantage of the payment plan make sure to click on the payment plan checkbox during checkout. The remainder of the class must be paid off by the first day of class which can be done directly in Schedule Agent.  Please note that drives cannot be scheduled until the class is paid in full.

What’s the minimum age to start?

The Department of Licensing requires students must be 15 by the first day of class. There are no exceptions.

Can a student miss any classes?

Yes, students are allowed to miss and make-up a maximum of 3 classes. Please be mindful of your schedule and plan your other activities so you can attend classes as scheduled. If you miss more than 3 and would like to earn your completion certificate, you will need to be reinstated into a new class, which will be $175.

How long is the class?

All of our teen classes are at least five weeks long, with 30 hours of class time plus 4 hours of AAA Zero Error Driving Program, five one-on-one driving lessons with an instructor, and one observation drive (where the student sits in the back and observes another student and instructor doing their drive). We will ask that students try to get three of those drives in before the last classroom session, but the important thing is that all the student’s drives and classwork (including any make up days or test retakes) must be done by the student’s deadline. If students are not prepared to pass their driving test on their 5th driving lesson and they would like to earn a completion certificate, they may purchase extra lesson(s) as needed to gain the required minimum driving skills. The deadline is four months from the first day of class.

What does my student do in class?

Students learn the rules of the road, defensive driving techniques, what to do in hazardous road conditions, how to handle road rage, driving on the freeway and at night (if you schedule a lesson after dark) and more.

How do I schedule my drives and observation?

To schedule drives you would login at log in you will need to click on the red “Returning Users” button (you will not need a location code). You will be using the username and password you provided to us when registering for the class. If you forgot your login info you can reset it by clicking on the forgot username/password link.

To schedule, you will click on the green “Schedule A Drive” button or the “Calendar” link, then you will “Select a Product Type” to schedule. You will need to schedule 1 observation (preferably before your first or second drive) and 5 drives. If you purchased the Collision Avoidance course or a stick shift lesson please also schedule those for after you will have at least 10 hours of home driving practice. For all other products please contact the office to schedule.

If you owe a balance on your account you can pay directly in Schedule Agent. After you have paid in full you can schedule your drives.

View the below video for step by step instructions on how to login and schedule your drives and observation on

How do I cancel an appointment?

Log into Schedule Agent at least 2 business days (48 hours) in
advance to cancel and reschedule an appointment. For example: If you have an appointment on Monday at 3 PM, you would need to
cancel the drive by Thursday at 3 PM to keep it at least 2 business days out. Any drive cancelled with less than 48 hours notice is charged as if you were there and an additional lesson will need to be purchased, as
outlined in our Terms and Conditions.

What is the DAT (Driver Awareness program)?

Driver Awareness Training (scheduled as class DAT1 and DAT2 in Schedule Agent): This 4 hour classroom program incorporates dash cam footage of collisions and near misses to cognitively train students on how to appropriately handle hazardous driving situations. Simulations include scenarios in the city, country roads, construction areas and the freeway.  Students analyze each video clip and predict what will happen based on the behaviors of other roadway users. That way when they encounter these situations on the road in real life, they will be better prepared to make a positive decision regarding their own driving.

Are the DOL license tests done in class?

Unfortunately, this is no longer allowed by the DOL. However, we do offer testing at all of our locations, and our students who have completed the course are eligible for a discounted package on the Knowledge Test and Skills Test. Discounted tests can also be pre-purchased and added on to a teen course registration.

Once I finish the course how do I get my license?

We will notify students via e-mail upon completion of our course which takes 3-4 weeks once you’ve passed all drives, tests, makeup classes, etc. Once you receive this email you can schedule your WA State exams. There’s no need to wait until you’ve had your permit for 6 months or your 16th birthday. You will receive a discounted testing package price in the course completion email (some conditions apply). Once you’ve passed your exams and have met all the other DOL requirements you can get your license. See this link for more info: DOL driver’s license info

Home practice guide

Parents are expected to practice 2 to 3 hours in between driving lessons. Without this practice, students may need additional lessons (for an added fee) to complete the course. Please see this great resource from the DOL at the below link that helps parents learn how to supervise their teen’s driving with helpful tips on how to teach vital driving skills.

The Parents supervised driving program

Parent Coaching Program

We are happy to inform you that we are offering you our valuable client the new and improved parent-focused online program, “Coaching New Drivers”. Together with Defensive Driving School’s formal driver education program, we can all help build a solid foundation for your teen becoming a safe, confident and responsible driver!

Coaching from the Passenger Seat is a self-guided series which includes 12 short and informative videos, to be watched at your own pace to help guide the coaching and supervision of you and your teens’ “practice sessions” in order to gain the valuable experience they will need to be successful when they start driving on their own. We recommend you review the entire course on your own and then watch the appropriate videos together with your new driver as they advance in their practice driving sessions with you as their coach.

You will also be enrolled in Danger Zone Training, a course for your teen that specifically addresses the top causes of novice driver collisions and strategies to use in these situations. One new lesson will be “unlocked” each month (for six months) for your teen to take; this method of learning which introduces “bite-size chunks” of information at regular intervals has been shown to increase retention of information by up to 50%.

To learn more, set up your login profile and access the program now click on this link: Coaching new drivers

Beginning Adult

How do I sign up for lessons?

You can enroll online or download an application, fill it out and send it to our administrative office with payment and we will schedule you for lessons.

Can you guarantee a license at the end of my lessons?

No, we cannot guarantee that you’ll do well on your DOL exam. We will teach you the skills that you need to be ticket and collision-free, but we cannot say if you will always follow what you’ve been taught.

What is the average number of lessons?

It depends on your prior driving experience, age, skill level, ability to practice outside of instruction time and your cultural background. Our instructor can better inform you on the first lesson how many more you’ll need.

Can I sign up now and pay later?

No. We will reserve an appointment time for you when we receive payment in full.

Can I use my own car?

No. Because of state requirements and liabilities we require all driving lessons to be conducted in our vehicles. You may use your own vehicle for the skills test only.

Department of Licensing Testing

Driver License Testing


General Information: To get a Washington State driver license, applicants are required to pass a knowledge test and a driving test. Defensive Driving School is authorized by the Department of Licensing to provide both the knowledge and driving tests. In order to test with our school, applicants must first visit a Department of Licensing office or may pre-apply online. Anyone under the age of 18 years of age must have completed a Driver’s Education Course within the state of Washington. For both the knowledge and driving tests, applicants need to provide a valid PIC number issued by the Department of Licensing, along with proper photo identification. Applicants must call to confirm eligibility and availability prior to registering for driver license tests.

To reschedule or cancel a test, customers must contact our office or login to Schedule Agent at least 2 business days before the scheduled test time. Weekends and holidays are not considered business days. If a customer cancels a test within the required time for notice of cancellation or fails to show up, they will be charged as if they were present at the scheduled time. Customers will be required to purchase an additional test if they wish to test with us. Customers must arrive on-time for the test. Any late arrivals will not be able to test.

We offer the knowledge test in: English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Vietnamese, and Korean.

Scores for the knowledge and driving test will be reported to the Department of Licensing electronically within 24 hours. Passing the knowledge and driving test does not guarantee that an applicant will be issued a driver license. The Department of Licensing will determine if an applicant has met all licensing requirements.

By purchasing a test, the purchaser acknowledges notification of our policies and procedures regarding testing.

Knowledge Test: The knowledge test consists of 40 multiple choice questions about traffic safety laws. Applicants must answer at least 32 questions correctly in order to pass the test. Applicants will be given a maximum of 35 minutes to complete the test. Applicants who arrive late for their scheduled tests will not be allowed to test. The knowledge test will be offered at specific times at select locations. For those who believe they will need more time to complete the knowledge test, we recommend going to one of the Department of Licensing offices where they offer testing (Lynnwood, North Bend, Tacoma, Poulsbo). We also offer a private knowledge test where the applicant will have 55 minutes to test for $75. For a knowledge test study guide click here.

Skills Test: The driving test will test applicant’s ability to drive legally and safely. Applicants must pass the driving test with a score of 80 or better out of 100 possible points. Applicants who arrive late for their scheduled tests will not be allowed to test. For more information on what applicants will be evaluated on, please visit the Department of Licensing’s driving test page or see the skills test study guide here.

Applicants may provide their own vehicles or use one of our vehicles to use for the driving test. Our cars are midsize sedans with automatic transmissions. If using our car, applicants are encouraged to schedule a practice session prior to the test to become comfortable with the operation of the vehicle.

The following requirements must be met if applicants elect to use their own vehicles for the driving test:

  • All brakes lights must work.
  • All turn signals must work.
  • Seat belts must function and be used.
  • License plates must be on front and back of vehicle with current tabs on rear plate.
  • Windshield must not be not cracked or chipped in the line of vision.
  • If raining, windshield wipers must function and the defroster system must work properly to defog the windows.
  • Tires must meet state requirements for tire tread (no bald tires).
  • A valid insurance card must be presented at the time of testing (examiner may verify insurance with carrier).

Driving tests will be provided in English, unless prior arrangements have been made. Due to Department of Licensing regulations, interpreters are not allowed on driving tests. If a test ends early because the applicant is unable to follow the directions of the examiner, there will be no refund.

If an applicant has a physical disability (even temporarily) the Department of Licensing must conduct the skills examination.

For current test pricing and registration, please see:

How to obtain non-photo permit online

You can now obtain a non-photo permit without having to visit a DOL office. Please click on this link for directions on how to obtain your non-photo permit: DOL Non Photo Permit Instructions.

What is changing with WA driver’s licenses?

Please read the attached pdf for important information regarding changes to WA driver’s license numbers starting September 2018. Also, please read about whether you should upgrade to the Enhanced driver’s license that allows it to be used for commercial air travel starting Oct. 2020 as regular driver’s licenses will not be able to be used after that for air travel.

DLN_Real ID Fact Sheet

Knowledge Test Study Guide

Knowledge Test Study Guide

Here are a few ways you can study for the knowledge test:

1) Study the Washington State Driver’s Guide. This is the document the test is based on. We’ve compiled a list of Numbers to Know that you should study. There will most likely be at least 4-5 road signs on the test, 2-3 questions regarding alcohol and driving and 1-2 questions on drugs/marijuana. Also, the term “inattention blindness” means distracted driving.

2) Take the DOL Practice Test. There are five questions that will give you an idea of how the test questions are formatted.

3) Enroll in our online Knowledge Test Prep course for $23.50. This course focuses instruction on the Driver’s Guide concepts and includes over 100 test questions to ensure you’ve learned the material and will later pass the Knowledge Test on the first attempt.

Please Note: The Washington State Knowledge Test has 40 questions on it and you must score at least 80% to pass. 

To register for the Knowledge Test click here.

After passing the Knowledge Test, you’ll be eligible to take the driving Skills Test. Watch videos about what will be tested in the Skills Test Here.

For a printable Knowledge Test Study Guide click here.

For a printable Numbers to Know click here.


Driver’s permits and licenses are being extended – Print your extension letter here

If you have any question as far as when your license/permit expires click here to look it up:

October 1, 2020

Due to the ongoing pandemic and limited capacity at driver licensing offices, the Department of Licensing (DOL) is continuing to extend the expiration dates of valid Washington state driver licenses and instruction permits.

Automatic extensions apply to driver licenses and learner permits expiring March 1 through April 30, 2020, as well as those expiring Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. This gives licensed drivers extra time to renew online or schedule an appointment for in-person service, if required, without incurring penalties or late fees. Permit holders can continue to practice driving.

  • Licenses and instruction permits expiring March 1 through April 30, 2020 were extended an additional 90 days, for a total of 270 days. This means they will expire nine months after the date printed on the card.
  • Licenses and instruction permits expiring Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020 were extended 90 days. They now expire three months after the date printed on the card.

New cards showing the new expiration date will not be issued. We recommend carrying documentation about these extensions while operating a vehicle and presenting it with your expired document to law enforcement or others who need to verify your identity. You can print letters for licensed drivers and permit holders.

Previously announced extensions to licenses and permits expiring May 1 through June 30, 2020 still apply and are for 180 days (six months) beyond the expiration date printed on the card. Licenses and permits expiring July 1 through Sept. 30, 2020 are extended for 90 days (three months).

Driving Test Study Guide

Driving Test Study Guide

After passing the Knowledge Test, you’ll be eligible to take the driving Skills Test. Watch videos about a few of the test maneuvers here.

If you’d like to add warm up drive before your test, please call our office or register on our website here. If registering online, please use the same username/password that you set up originally so that all of your services are listed under the same login.

What’s on the driving Skills Test?

  • Starting your vehicle.
  • Leaving the curb, do you signal and wait until it’s safe to re-enter traffic?
  • Controlling the vehicle, do you:
    • Use the gas pedal, brake, steering wheel, and other controls correctly?
    • Change your speed to suit the number and speed of other vehicles, pedestrians, road conditions, weather conditions, construction, amount of light, and the distance you can see ahead?
  • Driving in traffic, do you:
    • Use the proper lane?
    • Signal to change lanes?
    • Change lanes carefully?
    • Follow other vehicles at a safe distance?
    • Turn your head and look back before changing lanes?
    • Signal the proper distance before turning?
  • Obeying traffic signals and signs, do you:
    • Turn into the proper lane without cutting the lane or going wide into the improper lane?
  • Driving through blind or crowded intersections, do you:
    • Scan carefully for signs, signals, pedestrians, and other vehicles?
    • Yield and take the right-of-way correctly?
  • Stopping
    • Do you stop smoothly and at the right spot?
    • Can you stop quickly and safely in an emergency?
  • Backing up
    • Do you look over your right shoulder?
    • Can you back in a straight line?
    • Do you have complete control of your car?
  • Judging distance, do you stay a safe distance away from:
    • Other cars when following or passing, or
    • People walking or riding on the roadway?
  • Respecting the rights of others
    • Are you courteous to other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists?
    • Do you pay full attention to the driving task?
  • Performing specific maneuvers, can you successfully complete all of the following?
    • Arms signals for right/left turns and slow or stop. (You may use arm signals during the test.)
    • A brake reaction test/emergency stop.
    • Parking on a hill.
    • Parallel parking.
    • Simulating backing out of driveway or alley into traffic using a corner.

For a printable copy of this information please click here: Driving Test Study Guide

Driver Improvement

Will the judge drop my ticket?

Every judge is different. With many of our students the judges have deferred the ticket so that it does not appear on your driving record as long as you don’t have a second offense.

Will the class lower my insurance?

Many insurance companies offer defensive driving class discounts. Call your specific company and ask them how they apply discounts for driving classes to your policy and premium.

Are you Washington State approved?

Yes. Many other states approve our courses, as well. Check with your out of state court to know if they approve us.

Additional Training Options

What is Skid Training?

This training is done with a specially equipped car on a closed course – parking lot (Arlington). In part of the training students learn life saving techniques on how to control a skidding vehicle. However, the most important part of the training is how to avoid getting into a skid in the first place. Skills that can take hours to learn on the road only take a few minutes to learn in the “skid monster”.

Sign up on this page:

What is Advanced Collision Avoidance Training?

Students bring their own vehicles to a course at Bellevue College on certain Saturdays. Students will learn the limits of their vehicle on a closed track and learn how to respond quickly to hazards. The Advanced Collision Avoidance Training begins with a short briefing on what you’ll be doing during your session, as well as key terms and phrases you’ll hear from our instructors. Then you head into the real “classroom” – behind the wheel of your own vehicle. There, you start off with a simple but crucial slalom driving exercise, fine-tuning your steering and vision techniques. Next up you’ll practice emergency braking, learning how to stop your vehicle as quickly as possible. Finally, you’ll put your newly-developed skills to the test in a simulated collision avoidance exercise, where you’ll practice braking and steering to avoid an obstacle. All of this will be conducted in a safe environment where you’ll learn the limits and abilities of yourself and your vehicle.

Surviving today’s roadways are a challenge – and it seems as though it will only get worse as more and more distracted drivers crowd our busy streets and highways. In 1.75 hours, during our Advanced Collision Avoidance course, you’ll learn how to not only survive this challenge, but feel confident in doing so. Driving your own vehicle, you’ll practice and develop critical emergency braking and collision avoidance skills.

Sign up on this page:

Do you teach Stick shift lessons?

Yes, we have stick lessons available out of our Kirkland location. You may sign up for one or several, depending on what skills you desire to learn. We use our vehicle which is equipped with a dual clutch, so you don’t have to worry about ruining the transmission in your own car.

Sign up for stick shift lessons here: