Road Test Sign

Traffic Signs for the California Permit Test

Between 10% and 20% of the California permit test has questions specific to traffic signs. Here's an overview of signs and what you should know for the test.

The California Permit Test

One of the first steps to getting your driver's license in California is passing the written test. The written permit test has 46 questions and you need to get at least 38 questions correct to pass. This test typically has several sign related questions.

Read the 6 things you need to do to get your California driver's license

California Traffic Signs 101

According to the California DMV:

The shape and color of a sign offers you a clue about the information contained on the sign. Here are the common shapes used:


An 8-sided red STOP sign indicates that you must make a full “STOP” whenever you see this sign. Stop at the white limit line (a wide white line painted on the street) or before entering the crosswalk. If a limit line or crosswalk is not painted on the street, stop before entering the intersection. Check traffic in all directions before proceeding.


A 3-sided red YIELD sign indicates that you must slow down and be ready to stop, if necessary, to let any vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian pass before you proceed.


A square red and white regulatory sign indicates that you must follow the sign’s instruction. For example, the DO NOT ENTER sign means do not enter a road or off ramp where the sign is posted (usually on a freeway off ramp). The WRONG WAY sign may or may not be post- ed with the DO NOT ENTER sign. If you see one or both of these signs, drive to the side of the road and stop. You are going against traffic. When safe, back out or turn around and return to the road you were on. At night if you are going the wrong way, the road reflectors will shine red in your headlights.


 A sign that has a red circle with a red line through it always indicates “NO.” The picture inside the circle shows what you cannot do. The sign may be shown with or without words.


A yellow and black circular sign or an x-shaped sign indicates that you are approaching a railroad crossing. You must look, listen, slow down, and prepare to stop, if necessary. Let any trains pass before you proceed.

Many railroad crossings will also have a blue and white sign to indicate what to do if there is an emergency on or near the tracks, or if your vehicle has stalled on the tracks.


A 5-sided sign indicates that you are near a school. Stop if children are in the crosswalk.


A 4-sided diamond-shaped sign warns you of specific road conditions and dangers ahead. Many warning signs are diamond-shaped.


A white rectangular sign indicates that you must obey important rules.

White Regulatory Signs

Some warning signs have a fluorescent yellow-green background. These signs warn of conditions related to pedestrians, bicyclists, schools, playgrounds, school buses, and school passenger loading zones. Obey all warning signs regardless of their shape or color.

California Permit Tests

Once you review signs and their meaning, it's a good idea to do one or more practice exams and, if you still want to study, to review the DMV manual.

Here are a few examples of the multiple-choice permit test questions from 2017:

When you tailgate other drivers (drive close to their rear bumper):

A. You can frustrate the other drivers and make them angry

B. Your actions cannot result in a traffic citation

C. You help reduce traffic congestion

The safest precaution that you can take regarding the use of cellular phones and driving is: 

A. Use hands-free devices so you can keep both hands on the steering wheel

B. Keep your phone within easy reach so you won't need to take your eyes off the road

C. Review the number before answering the call

If you plan to pass another vehicle, you should: 

A. Not assume the other driver will make space for you to return to your lane

B. Assume the other driver will let you pass if you use your turn signal

C. Assume the other driver will maintain a constant speed


These are just 3 examples of common permit test questions answers. As mentioned, there are 46 questions on the permit test and you need to get 38 correct. (Above answers: A, A, A)

Try our guaranteed-pass-on-the-first-time practice test. Use this link for $5 off our mobile and web friendly practice test.

California Traffic Signs Summary

Review your signs! The test will have at least a few of these questions and you should be able to easily get them right with a little studying. Meanwhile, if you have any questions at all, hit the blue button in the bottom right corner of this page to ask us a question!