Home » Tennessee DMV Driver’s Handbook Part 6

Tennessee DMV Driver’s Handbook Part 6

Section A.

This section is designed for all current and potential drivers in Tennessee. It provides information that all drivers will find useful. Section A consists of pages 1 through 24. This section will help new and experienced drivers alike get ready for initial, renewal, and other license applications by explaining:

  • the different types of licenses available
  • the documentation and other requirements for license applications
  • details on Intermediate Driver Licenses and how this graduated driver license works for driver license applicants under age 18
  • basic descriptions of the tests required to obtain a Driver License

Section B.

This section is designed to help new drivers study and prepare for the required knowledge and skills for an operator license. It includes helpful practice test questions at the end of each chapter. Section B consists of pages 25 through 90.

This section of the manual provides information related to:

  • Examination requirements for the vision, knowledge and road tests
  • Traffic signs, signals, and lane markings
  • Basic Rules of the Road
  • Being a responsible driver and knowing the dangers and penalties of Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and drugs.

Section C.

This section provides information and safety tips to improve the knowledge of all highway users to minimize the likelihood of a crash and the consequences of those that do occur. This section consists of pages 91-117. It also provides information about sharing the road with other methods of transportation, which have certain rights and privileges on the highways which drivers must be aware of and respect.

It is important to read this information and learn what you can do to stay safe, and keep your family safe, on the streets, roads and highways of our great state.


Section A. Chapter 1 Your License

Section A. Chapter 2 Applying For Your License

Section A. Chapter 3 Intermediate Licenses For Drivers Under 18 – Graduated License Procedures

Section A. Chapter 4 The Examinations

Section B. Chapter 1 Getting Familiar With Your Vehicle

Section B. Chapter 2 Tennessee Safety Belt Laws

Section B. Chapter 3 Traffic Signs and Signals

  • Traffic Signs
  • Sign Shapes and Colors
  • Color Codes On Highway Traffic Signs
  • Temporary Traffic Control Zones
  • Octagon Shape – Stop
  • Triangular Shape – Yield
  • Round Shape – Railroad Ahead
  • Broad “X” Shape – Railroad Here
  • Diamond Shape – Hazardous Or Unusual Condition Ahead
  • Rectangular Shape – Special Laws, Regulations or Important Information
  • Regulatory Signs
  • Warning Signs – Diamond Shape (Yellow)
  • Work Area Signs
    • Construction Signs
    • Channeling Devices
    • Highway Flaggers
    • Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) Emblem
    • Object Marker
  • Guide Signs for Highways
  • Interstate Route Marker
  • Guide Signs on Interstates
  • Service Signs
  • Handicap Symbol
  • Directional Signs
  • Emergency Reference Markers
  • Traffic Signals
    • Red
    • Yellow
    • Green
    • Protected Arrows
    • Permissive Arrows
    • Malfunctioning Traffic Light
  • Pedestrian Signals
    • “Walk”
    • “Don’t Walk”
    • Lane Control Signals
  • General Principles of Pavement Lane Markings
    • Uniform Highway Markings
    • Edge and Lane Lines
    • Crosswalks
    • Stop Lines
    • High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes
    • Turn Lane Arrow
    • White Crossbuck with RR
    • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 4 Rules of the Road

  • Some Basic Rules
  • Use of Headlights
  • Emergency Flashers
  • Littering
  • Slow-Moving Vehicles
  • Funeral Procession
  • The Basic Speed Rule
  • Tennessee Speed Laws
    • Interstate Speed Limits
    • Rural Interstate Limits
    • Urban Interstate Limits
  • Work Zone Crashes
  • Braking, Following and Stopping Distances
  • The Two Second Rule
  • Stops Required by Law
  • Stopping for Railroad Crossings
  • The School Bus Stop Law
  • Stopping for Police Vehicles
  • Intersections
    • Approaching Intersections Safely
    • The Right-Of-Way Procedures
    • Turning
    • Signaling a Turn
    • Making Turns
    • Left Turns
    • Right Turns
    • Special Turns: Roundabouts and U-Turns
  • Traffic Lanes and Lane Usage
  • Passing Other Vehicles
  • Passing Bicycles
  • Backing and Parking
    • Backing
    • Parking
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 5 Interstate Driving

  • Interstate Highway Driving is Different
  • Entering the Interstate
  • Driving on the Interstate
  • Leaving/Exiting the Interstate
  • Interchanges
  • Special Interstate Driving Instructions
  • Dealing with Traffic Congestion
  • Move Over Law
  • Vehicle Breakdowns, Crashes and Emergency Stopping
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 6 Driving at Night and in Inclement Weather Conditions

  • Driving At Night
  • Driving in Inclement Weather Conditions
  • High Water and Flooding Dangers
  • Driving in Winter Weather Conditions

Section B. Chapter 7 Alcohol, Other Drugs and Driving

  • Impaired Driving
    • Alcohol and You
    • An Overview of the Effects of Alcohol
    • How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
    • What is Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)?
  • Relationship of Alcohol to Traffic Crashes
  • Alcohol’s Effects on Driving Ability
    • Judgment
    • Vision
    • Reaction Time and Coordination
    • Alertness and Concentration
  • “Every Day” Drugs
  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Implied Consent Law
  • Consequences of a DUI Arrest
  • Penalties Applying to any DUI Conviction
  • Young Driver Risks and Laws
  • Prevention of Drinking and Driving
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions

Section B. Chapter 8 Driving Responsibility

  • Problem Driver Pointer System
  • Losing Your Privilege to Drive
  • Hearings
  • Non-Resident Violator Compact
  • Reinstatements
  • Driver Improvement Program
  • Frequent Traffic Violations
  • Restricted Driver License
  • Points for Moving Traffic Violations and Crashes Table
    1. DUI.
    2. DriverImprovement
    3. Implied Consent
    4. Juvenile
    5. Failure to Satisfy a Citation
  • Physical Or Mental Disabilities
  • Re-Examination of Drivers
  • Financial Responsibility
  • Reporting Crashes
  • Traffic Crashes
    • If You Are Involved in a Crash – STOP!
    • If You Arrive First At a Crash Scene
  • Chapter Sample Test Questions
  • Study Questions Answer Key

Section C. Chapter 1 Defensive Driving and Road Rage

  • Safety Tips for Safe Driving and Sharing the Road
  • Concentration and Alertness are Important Elements
  • Drive Cautiously
  • Scanning the Road and Traffic for Defensive Reactions
  • Sharing a Safe Driving Space
  • Road Rage

Section C. Chapter 2 Special Driving Conditions and Your Vehicle

  • Avoiding Collisions
  • Collisions with Animals
  • The Driver, the Vehicle, and Road Important Facts
  • Maintenance Needs for a Safe Vehicle
  • Vehicle Tires
  • Vehicle Steering
  • Understanding Road and Traffic Conditions

Section C. Chapter 3 Sharing the Road Safely

  • Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
  • Your Role as a Pedestrian
  • Safety Tips for Pedestrians
  • Sharing the Road with Bicycles
  • Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
  • Driver Tips for Sharing the Road with Motorcycles
  • Safety Tips for Motorcycles
  • Safety Tips for Car Drivers
  • Sharing the Road with Large Trucks and Buses
  • Risky Situations with Large Vehicles
  • Learn the “NO-ZONES” for large vehicles
  • Sharing the Road with School Buses
  • Sharing the Road with Slow Moving vehicles and Equipment
  • Sharing the Road with Highway Work Zones
  • Sharing the Road with Trains
  • If your Vehicle Stalls on the Train Tracks
  • Emergency Notification System for Vehicle Stuck on Train Tracks
  • Safety Tips for 15-Passenger Vans
  • Safety Tips for Recreational Vehicles (RVs)

Section C. Chapter 4 Helping Teens and New Drivers Learn to Drive

  • A SAFE Attitude for Driving and Learning
  • Planning Safe and Informative Practice Sessions
  • Reference Tools to Consider
  • Driving Contracts
  • Helping Non-English Speaking Beginners
  • A Special Final Word to Parents

Graduated Driver License Driving Experience Log

Section B. Chapter 2 Tennessee Safety Belt Laws

“It’s the Law”

The use of safety belts, child restraint safety seats and child booster seats are required by Tennessee law. These can help save you and your passengers’ lives in the event of a traffic crash. Tennessee law enforcement officers can stop drivers and issue citations for failure to observe the safety belt or child restraint laws. Officers can stop and ticket drivers solely for disobeying Safety belt and Child Restraint Device (CRD) laws.

A. Safety belts are required for ALL drivers and all passengers in the FRONT seat, any time the vehicle is in motion.

B. Safety belts are also required for BACKSEAT passengers in the following situations:

  • If the passengers are under 17 years old.
  • This provision no longer applies when back seat passengers are 18 years or older.
  • If the driver has either a learner permit or an intermediate license, and when the passengers are between four and 17 years old.
  • If the passenger is four through eight years old and is shorter than four feet, nine inches in height. These passengers must be in a child booster seat at all times. Children in booster seats must be in the back seat of a vehicle, if the vehicle has a back seat. (This booster seat must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards as indicated on its label.)

Child Safety Restraint Rules

Tennessee was the first state in the country to pass a Child Passenger Protection Law requiring children to be restrained in child safety seats (car seats and booster seats).

A. A child under one year old, or any child weighing less than 20 pounds, must be in a child passenger restraint system (car seat) that is facing the rear of the car.

B. Children who are one through three years old, and who weigh more than 20 pounds, must be in a child passenger restraint system that is facing forward.

C. Children who are four through eight years old and whose height is under four feet, nine inches, must be in a belt positioning booster seat system (child booster car seat) and wearing a seatbelt.

NOTE: These seats should be in the rear seat of the car, if the vehicle has a back seat.

All child passenger restraint systems (car seats and booster seats) referenced above must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards and be used consistently with the manufacturer’s and the vehicle’s instructions.

D. Children are further protected by the law, which makes the driver responsible for their protection up to the age of sixteen (16). If children under age 16 are not properly restrained, the driver may be charged and fined $50.00 for violation of the law.

If the child’s parent or legal guardian is present in the car but not driving, then the parent or legal guardian is responsible for making sure that the child is properly transported and may be fined for non-compliance.

If the violation is one relating to not using a car seat or booster seat for children under nine years old or whose height is less than four feet, nine inches, the punishment is greater. The driver can be charged with a Class D misdemeanor, required to attend a class on safely transporting children and required to pay possible fees and fines.

E. Provisions are made for the transportation of children in medically prescribed modified child restraints. A copy of a doctor’s prescription should be carried in the vehicle utilizing the modified child restraint device (CRD) at all times.


Safety belts and child safety seats help prevent injury five different ways, by:

1.Preventing ejection: Ejection greatly increases the chance of death or serious injury. The chance of being killed in a crash by being ejected from a vehicle is one in eight. Safety belts virtually eliminate ejection. The belted driver stays inside the car and is better protected from injury.

2.Shifting crash forces to the strongest parts of the body’s structure. To get the most benefit from a seat belt, be aware of the following points:

  • The lap belt should be worn low over the pelvis with the bottom edge touching the tops of the thighs snugly.
  • The shoulder belt should be worn over the shoulder and across the chest, not under the arm and over the abdomen. Make certain that the shoulder belt is not worn so loosely that it slides off the shoulder.
  • Pregnant women should wear the lap belt below the abdomen and the shoulder belt above the belly.

3.Spreading crash forces over a wide area of the body. Safety belts reduce the possibility of injury from “hostile” surfaces inside the car (steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, controls, etc.). Even if the belted driver less force and often results in less serious injury.

4.Keeping the body more closely in the “proper driving posture.” The belt keeps the driver “in the driver’s seat.” The belted driver is better able to deal with emergencies and often avoids more serious trouble.

5.Protecting the head and spinal cord. The belted driver is less likely to be stunned or made unconscious by the crash and is better able to cope with the situation. Research has found that proper use of lap/shoulder belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent (for occupants of light trucks, 60 percent and 65 percent respectively).

Vital Stats

  • In the U.S.apersonwasinjuredinatrafficcrashevery13 seconds in 2015 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Traffic Safety Facts.
  • In 2016, vehicle occupants were 32 times more likely to die in a crash if they were unbelted. They were 3 times more likely to sustain serious injuries if they were unbelted
  • Failure to use a safety belt contributes to more fatalities than any other single traffic safety-related behavior.
  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14. In 2010 an average of 6 children are killed and 463 are injured EVERY DAY in the United States.


Many people still have “bad information” about using safety belts. For example:

“Safety belts can trap you inside a car.” It takes less than a second to undo a safety belt. Crashes seldom happen where a vehicle catches fire or sinks in deep water and you are “trapped.” Only one-half of one percent of all crashes ends in fire or submersion. Even if they do, a safety belt may keep you from being “knocked out.” Your chance to escape will be better if you are conscious.

“Some people are thrown clear in a crash and walk away with hardly a scratch.” Most crash fatalities result from the force of impact or from being thrown from the vehicle. Your chances of not being killed in an accident are much better if you stay inside the vehicle. Safety belts can keep you from being thrown out of a vehicle and into the path of another one. Ejected occupants are four times more likely to be killed as those who remain inside the vehicle.

“If I get hit from the side, I am better off being thrown across the car, away form the crash point.” When a vehicle is struck from the side, it will move sideways. Everything in the vehicle that is not fastened down, including the passengers, will slide toward the point of the crash, not away from it.

In 2016, traffic crashes on Tennessee’s roadways killed 1039 people. Sadly, many of these deaths could have been prevented if the victims had taken the time to buckle up.


By promoting child passenger safety, Tennessee attempts to protect children from needless death or
injury. Many of these needless injuries result in permanent disabilities, such as paralysis, brain damage, epilepsy, etc. Why needless? Consider the following:

  • Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. But many of these deaths can be prevented.
  • In the United States, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reported 663 children ages 12 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes during 2015, and more than 121,350 were injured in 2014.
  • Infants (under one year old) who are properly secured in safety seats survive almost 75 percent of the crashes that would otherwise be fatal. Toddlers (one-to-four years old) who are properly secured in safety seats survive more than half of the crashes that would otherwise be fatal.
  • The proper use of child restraint devices could prevent 9 out of 10 deaths and 8 out of 10 serious injuries to child passengers under the age of four. If child safety restraint seats were used properly 100 percent of the time, the percentage of children who survive crashes would go up by 23 percent.

Set a Good Example – Always Buckle Up

Think about what your child sees you do in the car. Do you wear your safety belt? Children follow their parents’ examples. Studies show that children’s behavior in the car improves when they learn how to ride in a child restraint device. Make it a habit for you and your child.

Tips For Using Safety Belts With Children

When your child “graduates” from the child restraint system to safety belts, it is very important for the belts to lie across the correct area of the child’s body.

Basically, a child is big enough to use the vehicle lap and shoulder belt when (1) they can sit with their back against the vehicle seat back and (2) their knees bend over the edge of the vehicle seat. The lap belt should lie securely on the child’s upper thigh, low and snug around the hips. The shoulder belt should fit snugly across the chest and rest between the neck and shoulder. NEVER put the shoulder belt behind the child’s back or under their arms.

“Belts to Bones”

The pelvic bone and the collarbone should bear the pressure of the safety belts. If the safety belt system rides too high on the child’s stomach, or if the shoulder harness lies across the face or neck area of the child, go back to using a booster seat or a high back booster model that uses the vehicle’s existing safety belt system.


Air bags can HELP save your life. Air bags combined with safety belts are the best protection currently available in a car, SUV, or truck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) estimates there are, as of 2013, 202 million air-bag-equipped passenger vehicles on the road, including 199 million with dual air bags. Between 1987 and 2012, air bags have been credited with saving more than 39,976 lives from information provided by the NHTSA.

Remember: Most tragedies involving air bags can be prevented if air bags are used in combination with safety belts.

Air bags were developed to prevent occupants from striking the steering wheel or dashboard. The air bag deploys and immediately deflates—faster than the blink of an eye.

If you drive, own or ride in a vehicle equipped with either a driver-side and/or passenger side air bag, you should follow the following safety points:

Air Bags and Children

CHILDREN ages 12 and under are safer in the back seat of a vehicle.

  • “The Back Is Where It’s At” for children 12 and under. While air bags have a good overall record of providing supplemental protection for adults in the event of a crash, they pose a severe risk for children ages 12 and under. Research shows that children and air bags simply do not mix.
  • Children are safer when they are properly restrained in a child restraint device or safety belt in the rear seat of a vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle is equipped with a passenger side air bag.
  • It is not advisable to place a child safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle, when a passenger side air bag is present. Instead, the child safety seat should be placed in a rear seat, if available.
  • Infants in rear-facing seats should be placed in the rear seat, if available, of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. If a child must ride in the front seat of a vehicle such as a pick-up truck, with a passenger side air bag, the seat should be moved back as far as possible, and the child should be properly buckled up.

Air Bags and Adults:

  • Always wear the lap AND shoulder safety belts.
  • If you have an adjustable steering wheel, always try to keep it tilted down in a level or parallel position.
  • Sit as far as possible from the steering wheel (or dashboard on passenger side) to give the air bag room to deploy and spread its energy. Ten (10) to twelve (12) inches between the chest and the air bag module is recommended by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Other Child Passenger Protection Laws

It is illegal in Tennessee to allow any child under the age of 6 to ride in the bed of a pickup truck. It is also against the law to allow any child between the ages of 6 and 12 to ride in the bed of a pickup truck on any state or interstate highway. Cities and counties may prohibit by ordinance, children between the ages of 6 and 12 from riding in the bed of a pickup truck on any city or county roads or highways.

There are two exceptions. One exception to this law is when a child is being transported in the bed of the vehicle when it is part of an organized parade, procession or other ceremonial event and the vehicle must not exceed the speed of twenty (20) miles per hour. The other exception is when the child being transported in the bed of the vehicle is involved in agricultural activities.


On a typical sunny, summer day, the temperature inside a car can reach potentially deadly levels within minutes. Experts say the damage can happen in as little as ten minutes. Even on a mild day at 73 degrees outside, an SUV can heat up to 100 degrees in 10 minutes and to 120 degrees in just 30 minutes. At 90 degrees outside, the interior of a vehicle can heat up to 160 degrees within several minutes.

Heat exhaustion can occur at temperatures above 90 degrees and heat stroke can occur when temperatures rise above 105 degrees. If not treated immediately, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. With respiratory systems that are still developing, children are particularly vulnerable to heat exhaustion.

Depending on the seriousness of the offense, a person can be charged with penalties ranging from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Class A Felony for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. TCA Code 39-15-401 provides that “any person who eighteen years of age in such a manner as to inflict injury commits a Class A misdemeanor. If the abused child is six years of age or less, the penalty is a Class D felony. TCA Code 39-15-402 carries a possible Class B or Class A felony for aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect or endangerment. Class A Misdemeanors carry a penalty of not greater than 11 months, 29 days or a fine up to $2,500, or both. Class A Felonies can carry a penalty of not less than 15 and no more than 60 years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed $50,000.

Remember :

  • Children should never be left alone in a vehicle, not even to run a quick errand.
  • Be sure that all occupants leave the vehicle when unloading. Don’t overlook sleeping babies.
  • Children can set a vehicle in motion. Always lock your car and ensure children do not have access to keys or remote entry devices.
  • If a child gets locked inside, call 911 and get him/her out as soon as possible.
  • If you see a child or animal unattended in a car, be proactive and call 911.

Chapter 2 – Chapter Sample Test Questions

Here are some sample test questions. Because these are just study questions to help you review, you may receive a test with completely different questions, in whole or in part. The page number is shown for where the correct answer can be located for each question. Also, answers to all the study questions can be found in the back of the book.

4. A child in a child passenger restraint system (car seat) should:

A. be facing the rear of the car if weighing less than 20 pounds and under 1 year old.

B. be facing forward if the child is one through three years old, and weighs more than 20 pounds,

C. A&B

5. The lap belt should be worn:

A. at the abdomen for extra comfort .

B. above the pelvis so it doesn’t touch the top of the thighs.

C. by pregnant women below the abdomen and the shoulder belt above the belly.

6. The safest place for children 12 and under to ride in a vehicle equipped with air bags is:

A. The front seat

B. The back seat

C. The bed of a pick-up truck