How do you take the driving test in Maryland if you don't have a car?
January 31, 2013 9:56 AM   Subscribe

I want to get my driver's licence but I don't have a car. What are my options in Maryland? Are their provisions for this?
posted by josher71 to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the UK, I passed my test in my driving instructor's car; this is standard, because that's the car you're used to driving.
posted by katrielalex at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2013

Do you have a friend or relative who can take you and lend you their car?
posted by DoubleLune at 10:00 AM on January 31, 2013

Call the DMV and ask what documents are needed in this situation. It's a daily occurrence there, what with teenage applicants using parents' cars and so forth.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:02 AM on January 31, 2013

Zipcar allows members to use cars for driving tests. Citation (for logged in members only, I have pasted the relevant Q): I recently moved and need to get a new licence. Can I use a Zipcar to take the driving test? You cannot use Zipcars for driving tests in Europe. Sorry, it’s not covered by our insurance policy. But outside of Europe it's not a problem. There's just a little bit of paperwork we have to get to you so that you're all set on the day of your road test. Reserve a car as usual, then call us at 1-866-4ZIPCAR a few days before your test. We'll need to give you documentation that says you can drive the vehicle for your test. Remember to check the glove compartment for the registration—you'll be asked to show that at your test. And for places that require proof of insurance, you'll find the insurance card in the glove compartment too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:08 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Do you have a friend or relative who can take you and lend you their car?

I do, but I would prefer not to if it is possible.
posted by josher71 at 10:09 AM on January 31, 2013

Driving schools will let you take the test in their car, for a fee. (My mom is a drivers ed teacher in MD and has done this with students.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:11 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

To be clear, the Zipcar provision sounds like it's ok if you already have a license from another state (the "I recently moved" phrase is what makes it sound that way), not that they're ok with a totally unlicensed driver using it. I could be wrong, but you should check to be sure, if that is your situation.
posted by misskaz at 10:17 AM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

According to the requirements, Maryland doesn't care whose car you use to take their test. They just want evidence that, if you don't own it, you have permission to use the car. If this is a rental, your name has to appear on the rental agreement as an authorized driver. If it's not, they seem to want the owner of the vehicle to come along.

I don't think any rental companies, including Zipcar, will permit you to be an authorized driver unless you've already got a license somewhere.
posted by valkyryn at 10:28 AM on January 31, 2013

My son had his driver's ed teacher pick him up an hour prior to the test, take him for about 40 minutes of practice and then let him use that car to take the test. It cost (my son) about $100 for the lesson and use of car, but he felt it was worth it. It also indicated to the test administrator that my son was taking it seriously and I think gave my son any benefit of the doubt during the test.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:30 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I took my test in Maryland about 10 years ago; at that time, I used a car owned by my driving instructor. I think there was an extra fee, but it was very easy. I didn't have to provide any documentation about permission to use the car.
posted by mchorn at 10:34 AM on January 31, 2013

You definitely can't use a Zipcar for your first driving test, at least in the USA, since you can't be a Zipcar member without having had a license for a year.

Their FAQ states that one of the requirements to join is to "have a valid driver's license for at least one year," among other conditions.
posted by andrewesque at 10:44 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I had a similar situation (in Illinois, not Maryland, though) we found that we couldn't rent a car from the major companies or Zipcar without a pre-existing license. After a lot of internet research and phone calls, it boiled down to two options: (1) find a driving school that would let us pay for the time with the car and instructor or (2) bite the bullet and borrow a friend's car. We did the latter because we couldn't find a driving school willing to do it for a reasonable price.
posted by slmorri at 11:14 AM on January 31, 2013

DC has a whole cottage industry of people with beaters who fit the requirements for a test car (namely, the placement of the emergency brake.) I'm sure Maryland has a similar industry, though it's expensive and usually cash only. I would contact the DMV first to make sure you know what documents and features are required for a test car, and then go to local driving schools and contact them about their policies and rates.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:14 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

My husband recently did this in MD. The fact that you don't mention any affiliation with a driving school makes me think you may not have read the relevant info on the MVA site. You must have proof of driving school completion, or a license from another state within x years, to take the driving test. There are few exceptions. Driving schools will loan you their cars for testing, for a fee.

Check the MVA web site to ensure you're doing this right. Finding a car may not be your only problem.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:30 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

The MD driving test includes a pre-trip inspection for the car, so you want to make sure the one you bring meets all the requirements. The MVA won't even let you start the test if the car doesn't pass inspection.
posted by hoppytoad at 10:17 AM on February 1, 2013

I had a drivers licence that expired in 2004 and I have the relevant documentation from Tennessee that the MVA website says I will need.

It appears that there is not provision. I will twist arms.

Thanks for the answers!
posted by josher71 at 1:20 PM on February 1, 2013

Hi again. My husband's license expired in VA only a year or two before yours, and he had to go through driving school at the age of 45. It was quite humbling, and no amount of arm twisting helped. I wish you better luck, but you might prepare for such an answer.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 10:47 AM on February 2, 2013

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