Students navigate the road, DMV

Jack Prince

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The road to getting a driver’s license can feel endless, but after long, hard work comes great reward: the ability to drive alone. Many teenagers desire this privilege as they hope to be more independent, but it doesn’t come easily.

The journey starts with Driver’s Ed. Each student is required to take 30 hours of classroom instruction. Taking place over a total of 10 classes, every session lasts for 3 hours. Often monotonous, the goal of the classes is to prepare students to take the permit test. Mabel Chovan-Aziz ‘21 said, “I went to AAA for my Driver’s Ed. I would recommend others to go there because the instructors tried to make it fun by doing activities rather than just reading from a textbook. I hated Driver’s Ed. It was really long and the material was boring.” Even though the Driver’s Ed instructor may give kids a laugh once in a while, a negative stereotype persists.

Secondly, the student has to complete the permit test. Chovan-Aziz stated, “I think that the practice tests are the most helpful part when preparing for the permit test.” With a lot of practice, the permit test, which is a test regarding driving rules, is fairly easy. Next comes the many months of driving practice. Each student is required to log 50 hours of driving with a parent and 3 behind-the-wheel lessons with an instructor. Sujan Arora ‘20 explained, “I think that the driving with my parents to and from school was very helpful because I had a lot of practice to work on driving.” Most people pass their permit test and believe they know how to drive, but it usually takes some time before true confidence towards driving is established. Arora goes on to say, “I think the hardest thing about driving for the first time is getting used to how the car you’re driving works.”

The last, and often most difficult step is the road test. The test is comprised of turning, various kinds of parking, signaling, and driving in a set course. While stereotypes abound concerning the best and worst DMVs to pass, they don’t usually impact where a person might decide to go. Bryce Bankes ‘21 said, “I took an on-road test rather than a closed-course course because the instructor couldn’t trick me into making the wrong turn.” The closed-course road test makes many people nervous, and having a nice test instructor on the test only makes the experience easier and makes the person more relaxed and calm behind the wheel.

But, if a person has completed these 3 long steps, they have their driver’s license! After a lot of hard work, the dreams of long awaited independence and freedom becomes realistic.  Noah Ragan ‘19 stated, “The best part of being able to drive is the new opportunities. Once I was able to drive I was no longer dependent on parents, siblings and friends which allowed me to take control of my schedule.” Many life lessons can be learned from the process of getting a person’s license. Ragan finished, “Be humble in the learning process. A lot of people get extremely defensive when their driving is critiqued, however, listening to those criticisms is the best way to become a safe and good driver.” But the struggle isn’t over after earning a license. After completing one journey, they just are beginning another. They need to find a car.