A High Schooler’s Guide to Getting Your Driver’s License

Getting your driver’s license is hard work. It requires dedication, practice, and lots of time. You also will be required to have patience because of the amount of time you will have to wait. At first, driving may take some getting used to, but some people may be more naturally talented at it than others. However, before ever starting to drive on your own, there are many steps to complete first. 

First off, you must be at least 15 and nine months to get your permit. However, if you are younger than 16 and trying to get your license, you will have to complete 30 hours of drivers’ education first. You will have to complete these hours regardless of age, but if you are over 16, you can complete these hours after you obtain your permit. The Drivers’ Education class teaches you the fundamentals of driving along with all of the rules of the road. It may be a bore to some, but contrary to popular belief, you are taught important things in this class! Information like speed limits in areas and certain lights that mean things on your dashboard are a few of the topics that are taught. 

Sometime either after or before this class (depending on what you chose to do) you will be required to take your permit test. If you are looking to take it after the class, don’t forget to study! According to drivers-test.org, some reports indicate that anywhere from 35%-43% of new drivers fail their tests. I failed my first one! This is because I didn’t study for it beforehand. Study for your test and you’ll be able to pass it your first time through. You can find study materials on apps or online through various websites. After you pass your permit test, you are now onto the easiest part of this process: driving. Now to some people, that may sound crazy, but hear me out. 

Driving isn’t the most difficult thing in the world. Think of how many adults have their license in the world. Most people are able to drive, but you just have to practice. For me, driving in a parking lot was the first place I practiced. I would spend hours driving in circles with my mother and getting a feel for the car that I was driving. When you first start driving, most people that I have talked to say that the gas is a lot more sensitive than you think it will be. It does take a while to get used to and it also varies from car to car. In my opinion, the biggest thing to do when you start driving is to be confident. Now this doesn’t mean to get in a car and drive like you’re racing in the Daytona 500. All this means is to have faith in your abilities to drive. The minute you start getting overly worried and tensing up, I find it is harder to drive. But after getting a feel for the car, I think you are ready to get out on the road! 

After driving out on the road, make sure you track your hours in your book (which you will receive in Drivers Ed). You need 60 hours total with 10 hours at night to be able to take the license test. You will also need to complete three “in-cars.” An in-car is when you drive with a licensed instructor. These in-cars are not that hard or stressful as long as you’ve had adequate practice time beforehand. And don’t worry, the instructors can actually control the car from the passenger side. The final step in this process is to take the actual driving test. During the pandemic, all you have had to do for the test is park. You have to perform forward parking, a two point turn (reverse parking), and a three point turn. As long as you take your time with each exercise (you will have three minutes for each one) and use your signals, you will do just fine! You are allowed to miss a few points, so don’t worry too much if the test doesn’t go perfectly. Make sure to be confident in your abilities and take your time on the parking. 

Good luck and be safe on the road!

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