Driving

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Driving

Cindy Tse, Staff Writer

Learning to drive is a liberating experience for teenagers who are beginning to get their first tastes of independence. It is also a huge responsibility and can be daunting because driving is unlike anything else we’ve done before. The process can be both tedious and confusing, but once you know what you have to do, you will be well on your way to getting your freedom. Just be careful on the road. Junior Eric Kim says the hardest part is “staying alert about your surroundings.”

For starters, all drivers under the age of 18 must start by getting their permit. At 15 and a half years old, you can complete a driver’s ed course to get a learner’s permit. It is required that the course be 25 hours and be taken from a state-licensed program. Once you hit 17 and a half this is no longer required, but taking a driver’s ed course will be helpful regardless. Afterward, bring your certificate of completion, proof of identity (such as your passport), social security number, proof of California residency, and $35 to the DMV to take the written test and get your permit. The written test comprises of 46 questions taken straight out of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handbook informing drivers on traffic laws, signs, and tips for driving safely.

Once you get your permit, you can start practicing with the car. Before taking the driving test, you must have a total of 50 practice hours with a licensed driver older than 25, and an extra 6 hours with a driving instructor. 10 of the 50 practice hours have to be done at night. After getting your permit, the minimum waiting period is six months before you can attempt to get your provisional license. A provisional license will allow you to drive without supervision, but you cannot drive passengers under 20, and you are not allowed to be on the road from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. These restrictions will only be in effect until you turn 18, after which you will be free to drive whoever and whenever you like. This is for safety’s sake, as senior Stella Saw puts it, “There is responsibility for the other people around you. You have to be so careful.”

As you can see, the steps to get your permit and license are actually quite straightforward. Be sure you have all your papers in order and make an appointment at the DMV to skip the line. And if you’re ever unsure about anything, the internet and official DMV website are both chock-full of information. Driving is a very helpful thing to learn early on, so don’t feel intimidated by it; you’ll be thankful for having gotten it done and over with quickly!

Graphic courtesy of VECTORSTOCK.COM