Being one of the youngest in my grade and having the natural desire to be independent, driving has always been the thing I looked forward to the most. When I turned fifteen, I went to the DMV as soon as I could to get my permit. Even before that, I bugged my parents whenever I could to take me to parking lots to teach me. However, the overall culture of driving has drastically changed since many parents were teenagers. More and more teenagers don’t get their permits when they turn 15. The rush to drive has slowed down significantly. However, driving signifies a coming-of-age among teens, independence, and responsibility, and should be a priority for teens.
Learning to drive is one of the most arguably exciting things about being in high school – it’s a rite of passage. No matter the restrictions your parents may impose on your driving privileges, you still have the ability to go places and do things on your own. Driving is a small, yet significant step in our transition to adulthood. Yet, for some reason, there is either reluctance or sheer laziness when driving is discussed. In contrast to the majority of our parents, permits and licenses are not priorities in high school.
Getting your permit and license is a fairly simple task. Your parents provide all the legal documents, you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), fill out an application, and take a written test as well as a short vision exam. Licenses are similar, but with the physical element of driving (and you have to schedule an appointment). It shouldn’t take more than an hour and then you can legally drive! Preparation does take a bit of studying and practice but greatly outweighs the benefits of being able to drive.
It is possible to obtain a license without a permit, but you must be at least 18 years old. Getting your permit when you turn 15 allows you to immediately get your license once you turn 16 and a day.
There are a few arguments that can be made against rushing to get your permit/license. For one, and especially at Grady, many students don’t have access to cars or time for their parents to teach them how to drive. This is understandable, however: if you have the privilege of having access to driving, you should take advantage of it. Many of our parents also didn’t have to get permits when they turned fifteen, and just learned to drive the old-fashioned way (which was illegal). Once they turned 16, they took their license test. While the laws differ in every state, Georgia requires a permit. But the case can be made that this is more preferable, as permits allow you to legally drive a year before you get your license.
For me, being able to drive (even with a parent) was one of the most important milestones in my life. I took my permit test as soon as I could – and I plan on taking my license test as soon as I turn 16. Driving is the gateway to growing up and should be a goal to work towards, not put off.