Bethany is a junior in her second year of journalism and is editor of The Fluco Beat. She enjoys painting and spending time with friends. She has a border...
Tips For Getting Your License
March 2, 2021
High school is a time when teenagers become young adults. One big stepping stone to becoming a young adult is receiving your license. The whole process of obtaining your license is very intimidating and you may not know where or how to start, as it is a complicated process that includes many steps. Here are some important steps you will want to take in order to make the task easier and less stressful.
Get your learner’s permit
The first step is to get your Virginia Learner’s Permit. Your learner’s permit is a permit that you can get as soon as you turn 15 and six months. You will need to set up an appointment at your local Department of Motor Vehicles where you will have to pass a knowledge and sign test. It is important to study before your test using online practice tests at dmv.com.
FCHS sophmore Rand Alsafi says that it is really important to study for your permit test because you need to learn safety hazards and the rules of the road in order to pass, and it’s not as easy as you may think. The sign portion of the test is 10 questions and you must get all of the answers correct on that section to pass. Stories abound about Flucos who underestimated the test and had to retake it two or more times to pass.
The next section is the knowledge test for which you must receive 80% or higher, along with a 100% on the sign test. Once you complete all of that, the DMV will hand you a book to track your amount of hours you’ve driven, as well as a card stating that you have passed the learner’s permit test and you have the privileges that come with a learner’s permit.
You will get your official learner’s permit card through the mail a couple weeks following your test. Your permit allows you to drive accompanied by a person 21 or older with a license, or any family member 18 or older with a license. It is important that you try to drive as frequently as possible, as you will need to have driven at least 45 hours–15 or more of them after sunset–before you can take the “behind the wheel” training.
Take Driver’s Ed
Sometime during your sophomore year at high school, you must take a class called “Driver´s Education” which is usually one half of a semester with P.E. being the other half. This class will cover almost everything you need to know in order to stay safe while behind the wheel. You are able to drive with your learner’s permit before you take this class, but this class is required for you to obtain your license.
Take Behind the Wheel
At the end of this course, if you meet all the requirements, the school will give you a “green card” which states that you have passed the course. You will need this card later to begin “behind the wheel” training, one of the last steps to receiving your license. This class is a week-long course which provides you with real-life driving instruction. You will need to contact a local driving school to take this course (and it’s not inexpensive). Make sure you sign up at least several week before you want to take it as spots can be limited, particularly during the fall and spring.
During this course, you will be driving around your town with an instructor to show that you are a responsible and careful driver. On the last day of the week-long course, your instructor will give you a test. The tests may vary depending on the school, but the tests are generally simple driving skills, like backing up, pulling into a parking space, making turns, and signaling.
After the test, your instructor will dictate whether you are ready for your license, or if you need to retest the following week. If they decide you are ready, they will give you a blue paper which– along with your learner’s permit–is equivalent to a driver’s license. It is important to bring both of these while you are driving alone until you receive your license card, as it is illegal to drive without proof of a license or temporary one. In order for this to be valid, you must be at least 16 and 3 months, and have had your learner’s permit for nine months.
Go to Court
Once all of this is completed, you will need to go to court and a judge will talk to you about road safety, and then they will give you your license.
FCHS senior Kaitlyn Bower has had her license for almost a year and a half. ¨Some tips for people looking to get their license is to take practice exams, study the signs, and do not second guess yourself when you are taking the test,¨ she said.