An updated version of the Washington Driver Guide, which outlines the rules for Washington’s roads and highways, is now online and available for download in seven languages. Hard copies are available in field offices across the state.
All versions of the guide are free.
The guide’s first revision since July 2017 adds new material on, among other things, safely exiting a vehicle; work zones; railroad crossings and the Emergency Notification System (ENS); bicycle boxes and safety; and ferry holding lanes.
You’ll also find information about REAL ID, a federal law that goes into effect on Oct. 1, 2020. As of that date, a standard driver license will no longer allow a person to travel by plane or access certain federal facilities. Learn more about REAL ID and what you’ll need.
The Department of Licensing periodically works with state, federal, and local partners to develop the driver guide, which is used by licensing offices and driver training schools as part of curriculum and testing. It’s a great resource not only for aspiring drivers, but also for long-licensed residents seeking a refresher or clarification on evolving traffic laws.
The guide covers a wide variety of topics, regulations, and signage that drivers need to be aware of in order to safely and legally operate a motor vehicle in the state.
“Careful attention to our driving actions and decisions is critical to making our roads safe for everyone,” DOL Director Teresa Berntsen writes in the guide, noting that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 16- to 25-year-olds in the state. “The rules and best practices in this guide are proven tactics to save lives.”
To support DOL’s ongoing efforts to make Washington’s roads safer, Berntsen encourages readers to learn about Target Zero, the state’s ambitious traffic safety plan. The goal of the campaign is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Washington’s roadways to zero by 2030.
For that to happen, new and established drivers alike will need to lead the way. It starts with knowing the rules of the road, eliminating distractions, and patience and consideration behind the wheel.
To help, DOL offers a wealth of information on its website. You’ll find practice driver tests in English and Spanish, as well as step-by-step instructions for getting a license.
The latest version of the Washington Driver Guide features cover scenery from the Columbia River Gorge and is available in English, Spanish, Chinese (traditional), Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, and Japanese. There are separate guides for motorcycle and sidecar use and commercial drivers.