Getting Behind the Wheel

It takes a while to get your license, but it's always worth it! - photograph by David Reber via flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0 license

BY MEAGAN LAUDENSLAGER

It can be nerve racking turning 16 and finally being able to start driving. You need to get your permit, take driver’s ed, and learn how to drive, before eventually getting your license. Although it seems like a long process, it really isn’t all that bad, and the time flies as you work your way through the steps to being a licensed driver.

The Permit Test

To schedule your permit test, simply go online to the Department of Motor Vehicles ( DMV) and schedule an appointment. It helps to schedule it  a few months your birthday.

About a month before the test is really when the student taking the test should start the studying process. There is a DMV app, and it has three  really good practice tests on there.

In order to take the test,  you have to bring a lor of supporting  information. I had my birth certificate, social security card, bank statement, and a bunch of mail. All of the addresses need to be exactly the same on the pieces of mail that you have to bring in. To take the test, the DMV official first goes through all of the information, and they take the prospective  driver to a little office to approve them to take the exam.

The test is given in a  computer lab. Once the test is done, a screen pops up showing the amount wrong, what was wrong, and if the person passed or not. If the person passes the exam, they get their picture taken. Once the picture is taken, and all the forms are filled out properly, they print the permit right then and there, and the permitted driver walks out the door being able to drive with parents.

Driver’s Ed

Driver Education is available at the school through AAA, held  Tuesdays and Thursdays after school until 4:00 for a couple of months. The first class is also known as the parent class, where one parent has to attend. Although there is a midterm and a final, it doesn’t matter how you do. It is just to get a sense of your understanding that you have on driving. One tip that I would give is to try your best  on these tests and quizzes that they give, because it helps in the long run. For the last couple days, the instructor teaches tudents how to chnage a tire and jump start a battery.

Driving Lessons

AAA and all driving schools require eight hours of driving instruction on the road in one of the student driver cars, usually set up as four two-hour long lessons. The first lesson is an introduction, and has a little parking. The second lesson is  all about parking, and the different tricks that can be used to back in perfectly every time. Backing in is really important, in that a right back in is on the test. The third lesson is the highway lesson. The driver gets on and off the highway at every exit or so, to practice merging and getting comfortable with the acceleration that is needed. The last lesson is to get the student ready for the test. Everything was reviewed, and the instructor makes  sure that the student is going to perform perfectly on the driver’s test.

Scheduling Your Test

AAA requires that the teen wait until driver’s ed and all of the driving lessons are complete in order to schedule a test date. After taking the test, there is a minimum of two  days before the student can go and pick up the license at the DMV. It is not given to the student at AAA.

Driver’s Test

When taking the test with AAA, the student uses the AAA car that is provided, and therefore doesn’t have to go through the car check at DMV. If the student takes the test at DMV, there is a check that is done on the car, which can  take up some time. If the car isn’t in perfect condition, the student isn’t allowed to test. Because AAA gives you a car, it is guaranteed to work, and the student can be 100% sure that they are taking the test with no setbacks.