Know the Law and the Stages of Licensing
The time has finally come! You are old enough to get a permit and start learning to drive. You may think you know all about driving from watching your parents and friends behind the wheel, but you have lots and lots to learn. Nearly all states have some form of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws in place. At the very least, this means there are three stages of licensure.
- The first stage is a Learner’s Permit. It allows you to practice driving with a supervising adult (parent, another trusted adult and/or professional driving instructor).
- The second stage is a Probationary License (also known as a Junior or Provisional License). This license allows you to drive independently after logging at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice and passing an on-the-road exam. This stage also usually includes some limits on driving at night, passengers, and cell phone use.
- The third (and final) stage is a Full License. This is obtained after you have remained violation-free for a set period of time.
Remember though that learning never stops. Even experienced drivers need practice in new driving situations. Even when you've earned a full license it's a good idea to have a parent ride along when you are in a new situation (such as when weather changes or on a new kind of highway).