The Ugly Side of Aggressive Driving

Aggressive Driving

Just about everyone has experienced irritation and anger while driving. After a rushed morning or driving home after a long and tiring day, these emotions are even quicker to appear. All it takes is another driver cutting you off, not letting you merge, or just sitting in slow-moving traffic. However, reacting angrily toward another driver in any way is aggressive driving.

The Devil in the Details

Aggressive driving can include a range of reactions from subtle, deliberate acts to full blown episodes of “road rage”. It is also very common. In a 2016 survey done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80% of drivers said they often feel angry and show aggressive behaviors while driving. When asked what behaviors they show, here are the most common responses:

  • Tailgating intentionally (51% or 104 million drivers)
  • Yelling at other drivers (47% or 95 millions drivers)
  • Honking or somehow show their annoyance or anger (45% or 91 million drivers)
  • Making angry gestures (33% or 67 million drivers)
  • Attempt to block another vehicle from changing lanes (24% or 49 million drivers)

Several of these behaviors can get you a ticket if seen by a police officer, but that isn’t the most concerning part of aggressive driving. Each act can take a situation that likely started off small and then escalates it to more serious behaviors. The news commonly has stories of people who are injured in or out of their vehicle because of something that happened on the road then escalated. This is why 90% of the drivers responded that they felt aggressive drivers were a serious threat to personal safety.

Sometimes aggressive actions are subtle and drivers don’t even realize they are doing them, such as:

  • Driving too fast
  • Racing through a red light
  • Tailgating
  • Refusing to let others merge

These small acts of aggression still have the same effect of causing bad feelings and escalating situations that were already intense.

The Consequences of Aggression

As mentioned previously, traffic tickets and fees are a common consequence to aggressive driving. These tickets can be costly themselves, but some car insurance companies can increase your rates or refuse to continue coverage once the policy is up for renewal.

Another common cost is vehicle damage, to your car or the other car involved. These costs add up quickly. In the case of a broken headlight, taillight, or other lost essential function, the vehicle can’t be driven until the repair is done. This could mean paying for other forms of transportation or losing time and convenience.

Of course, the most terrifying consequences that come from aggressive driving are serious injury and death. It is impossible to tell what type of person you are engaging with if you get involved in a road rage incident. Some people will stop at nothing until they get revenge. In the wide scheme of things, it’s too bad that such serious consequences happen over small, unimportant driving actions.

Fixing Aggressive Habits

Many drivers make a commitment to being more kind on the road but quickly revert into their old habits. Instead of just saying they’re going to be calmer, here are three tricks to helping yourself calm down behind the wheel.

  1. Assume the Best. If you knew the person who cut you off was a new driver in training or was someone racing to the hospital, would you be as angry? Too many times, assumptions are made that other drivers are doing things on purpose, just to be mean. In reality, most driving actions that start road rage incidents start off with an innocent mistake. Practice not overreacting and realizing that not everyone is out to ruin your drive.
  2. Avoid Conflict. Keep a watchful eye out for other drivers showing aggressive behaviors. If someone is driving too close to you, being aggressive, or trying to get you to react, don’t engage. Avoid eye contact and pretend you don’t see them. Leave yourself room around your vehicle so you can switch lanes, if necessary.
  3. Focus on Breathing. If someone does something on the road to make you angry, take a few breaths before reacting. This will give you just enough time to calm down and not give room to your emotions. It often only takes a couple of breaths to regain composure and move on.

Staying Safe

The most important thing to remember is that you are trying to get yourself and any passengers in your car to a destination safely. There is nothing more important than driving safely. If someone cuts you off in traffic or fails to let you merge, it doesn’t require aggressive driving on your end. If another driver is getting aggressive with you and you can’t get away from them, call the police. 

7 Ways to Drive Safely in the Winter

911 Driving School - 7 Tips to Drive Safely in the Winter

While walking in a winter wonderland might be something to sing about, driving in winter weather isn’t. Snow and ice prevent tires from gripping the road the same, making it harder to maneuver a vehicle.

With over 70% of the roads in the United States being in snowy regions, it is important that drivers understand how to drive safely in the winter. Here are seven tips you can use for driving in snowy or icy conditions.

1. Decrease Your Speed

The most important tip for driving in the snow or on icy roads is to drive slower.

Speed limits were set for ideal conditions, so they do not apply during bad weather. Slowing down allows a driver to have more control over their car.

If you do hit a patch of ice, driving at a slower speed gives you a better chance to control the situation rather than spin out of control or off the road.

2. Plan Ahead

Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and leave early. This will help you feel less stressed and less likely to take chances.

During driving, you can also plan ahead. Rather than focusing primarily on the car in front of you, keep an eye a short distance ahead. If the vehicles several cars up are sliding, this will give you a warning to move over, stop, or drive more carefully through that area.

If you wait until the vehicle in front of you has a problem, you won’t have enough time to react appropriately.

3. Anticipate Emergencies

Always keep some basic supplies in your car during the wintertime. This should include a first aid kit, blankets, and some extra water and food.

Don’t go too long between trips to fill up the gas tank because, during bad weather, it can take longer to get to a gas station.

Carry snow chains and tow straps in your trunk.

Also, let people know which roads you are taking and when you should arrive so if you get stuck, someone knows to look for you.

4. Leave Some Space

Driving too close to the vehicle in front is dangerous during good weather, but during bad weather, drivers should leave more space.

Temporarily losing control of the car can cause drivers to instinctively slam on the brakes, but that isn’t the right move. Instead, ease up off the gas and wait until you can control the car again. Leaving room in front of you can give you adequate space to deal with the situation.

If the driver behind you loses control, it is also nice to have a little room to move up, giving them some space too.

5. Be Seen

Make sure other drivers on the road can see your vehicle. Keep your headlights on. Even during a snowstorm, this can help others spot you.

Always use your turn signals so others see that you are slowing down to turn.

Avoid being in other drivers’ blind spots. When visibility is decreased, this spot becomes more dangerous.

Also, stay on main roads when possible. Not only are these roads better maintained during bad weather, but it also helps you be seen more easily if you slide off the road.

6. Use Four-Wheel Drive

If your vehicle has four-wheel drive, use it. These are some of the conditions it was made to handle.

Don’t make the critical error of becoming overly confident if you do have it though. Drivers should still drive cautiously, even with four-wheel drive.

Whether or not you have four-wheel drive, it is also a good idea to invest in snow tires.

7. Avoid Driving in Winter Clothing

Being bundled up is great for staying warm. Driving in these clothes can be dangerous though.

Gloves make gripping the wheel more difficult. Certain styles of winter hats can block your peripheral vision. Big boots make pushing the gas and brake pedals more difficult and harder to feel. Wearing big winter coats with a seatbelt makes it not work as well, especially for babies and children that may be in the backseat.

 

Driving in the winter isn’t always scary, but it helps to be prepared. If possible, avoid driving during big storms or dangerous conditions. Staying off the road is the safest thing anyone can do during really bad weather. This helps you avoid a crash or injury while also keeping the roads clearer for those who do need to go out. Stay safe this winter with these driving tips.

The Best Tips for Driving in Bad Weather

911 Driving School - The Rules of Driving in Bad Weather

Around the United States, winter weather is setting in. For many states, that means conditions like rain, fog, snow, and ice. No matter how long you have been driving, brushing up on what to do in certain types of weather is a great way to stay safe.

Driving in the Rain

  • Turn on your headlights. Not only will this help you see better in the darker weather, but it will help other drivers spot you more easily.
  • Stay in the middle of the road. On a multi-lane road, avoid staying in the far-right lane. This is where water tends to pool, covering the road’s edge and hazards that are there.
  • Avoid puddles. Again, water pooling can cover dangerous parts of the road, such as potholes and debris. Hydroplaning is also a risk when driving in pooled water, causing you to lose control of your vehicle.

Navigating through Fog

Use low beam headlights

While headlights won’t help you see much in the fog, only low beams will improve visibility. Using regular or high beam headlights will cause the light to reflect off the water in the air and make it harder to see. This is taught in online driver’s ed classes, but driving in fog isn’t a common driving condition for most new drivers, requiring an extra reminder.

Don’t pass

Staying in your lane is trickier in the fog, but more important because you cannot see cars coming in the other direction.

Focus on the white line

The white line on the right-hand side of the road is an excellent guide during the fog. It is easier to see and can help ensure you stay on the road.

Signal longer

Another hazard of decreased visibility comes when a car is turning, and other drivers cannot see well enough. To help decrease the risks, leave your turn signal on longer to give ample notice of your intentions.

Snow and Ice Driving

Turn slowly

When approaching a turn, whether it is a curve in the road or turning at an intersection, do not accelerate. Brake slightly as you turn so that you don’t spin out of control.

Accelerate slowly

Icy, slippery roads make tires spin faster. If you are pressing the gas too fast, it can cause the tires to spin very fast, digging themselves into the snow and ice.

Watch for black ice

A thin layer of translucent ice, or black ice, is hard to spot. When you hit black ice, your car is more likely to spin-off. Watch carefully for slippery looking spots on the road.

General Guidelines

All bad weather requires some common adjustments. To stay safe, consider using these general tips for any time you find yourself driving in bad weather.

Slow down

Seeing clearly in any of these bad weather scenarios is dangerous. Slow down and use extreme caution.

Leave extra following room

Not leaving enough space in front of your car can cause a car crash. From less visibility to bad weather, you never know when you will need to stop quickly. Leaving room in front of you gives extra space and warning before hitting the brakes.

Plan accordingly

Leave with plenty of time to reach your destination so you won’t stress about hurrying to get there on time. Also, let others know you will be on the road and which route you are taking in case you end up needing help.

Remember the Basics

If possible, it is best to stay off the roads during moments of bad weather. If you do have to drive, try hard to remember the material covered in your driving lessons. Even if you don’t remember every detail, relax and trust your instincts to kick in. Focusing on the basics of driving will help keep you safe.

The Consequences of Poor Driver Training

911 Driving School - The Consequences of Poor Driver Training

Receiving a great quality driver’s education can lay a solid foundation for positive, lifelong driving habits. If new drivers take a poor-quality driver training class, it makes their driving experience harder.

There are several points that driver training covers that help students be successful on the road. Without great training, it puts new drivers at risk. Here are a few important areas of focus.

Initial Experience

As part of the licensing process, states require that new teenage drivers complete a specific amount of practice driving hours on the roads.

New drivers practice the skills they’ve learned in class along with recalling and using their knowledge of the laws. If the class has not taught them well enough or prepared them adequately, it can lead to a negative experience.

Whether it is a small crash, being pulled over, or struggling with a frustrated parent in the passenger seat, some of these experiences can scare and discourage new drivers from ever wanting to get their license.

Instead, learning should be positive and done at a pace that is right for each student to learn the material well. This will help them to feel confident and capable behind the wheel, creating a more positive initial experience.

Knowledge and Money

One of the main purposes of teen drivers’ education is to learn the laws of operating a vehicle. If students are not instructed properly, they will not know the correct rules of the road.

This is dangerous for new drivers and the other drivers on the road too. Luckily, each state has a two-part test to help make sure new drivers are ready before they are given their driver’s licenses. The written portion covers the laws and the driving portion shows they know how to operate a car correctly. A proper driver’s training course will help students prepare and feel confident on both tests, helping them pass.

If a new driver was in a poor driver training course, they likely won’t pass the first time. Most states allow new drivers to take the test multiple times until they pass, but each has its own requirements on the timing between attempts.

Every test is an additional charge too, which means more time and money is spent in the licensing process each time it is taken.

Driving Habits

Developing good habits in the beginning phases of driving lessons can help solidify them in a new driver’s mind. A great driver training course helps students understand the importance of safe practices before negative ones begin.

If a student is enrolled in a low-quality driver training course, this information might be covered, but only the bare minimum. From learning defensive driving skills to understanding the dangers of distracted and drunk driving, student drivers are in a prime position to learn positive driving habits.

The Right Course Makes All the Difference

If you are looking for a positive, proven driving course to help teach you or your teen to drive, 911 Driving School is a great option. Our online drivers’ ed focuses on teaching students to handle themselves correctly behind the wheel. Our teachers are all current or former police officers who have a deep understanding of the laws and the best ways to teach new drivers correct techniques.

Why waste time in a poor driving training course? Learn to drive the right way and develop skills that will last you a lifetime.

Gain New Independence with Driving School for Adults

911 Driving School - Gain New Indepence with Driving School for AdultsDriving is one of the most common forms of transportation in the United States. While many people choose to get their driver’s license at the age of 16, not everyone is interested or able to at that point.

No matter why you are looking into adult driving lessons and whether you are 18 or 48, these lessons were made for you. Here are some of the ways you can gain new independence with driving school for adults.

Finding Independence

If you have relied on public transportation for getting around, you must rely on set schedules. This can work well for many people, but if your schedule is changed or you miss your ride, it can really throw off the rest of your day.

Being able to get yourself around and on your own schedule is a great form of independence. Now you can be spontaneous with your schedule too.

Keep Your Independence

It is possible to do online driving courses when they fit into your schedule. Life is busy and not everyone can attend a class in person at a set time each week.

Taking online courses means you can fit a class in whenever you have a free block of time, any time of day. If you have internet access, you can do it from any location that suits your schedule too.

An Easier Path to Independence

For students 18 years of age or older, there are fewer requirements for getting a driver’s license. With graduating licensing laws in most states, there are restricted hours of day when teenage drivers are allowed on the road, more required practice hours, and more class time, depending on the state.

Since adults have more understanding and generally are more mature, they present less of a risk on the road.

Getting Independence Back

If you have let your driver’s license expire or had it suspended, taking driving school may be a requirement. Since you have known the freedom that comes with a driver’s license, there is more incentive for you to get it back.

A Better Independence

Adult driving lessons are not just for people who don’t have a license. There are different laws in each state for driving. If you move to a new state, taking a driving course to learn the laws or take a refresher is a great idea.

Other adults like to take a driving course to improve their driving. Taking driving lessons once you already know how to drive puts a lot of the information in context and is easier to understand than before you had driven a car.

Enroll in a Course

If you are ready to get your driver’s license, stop waiting around. With so many options for taking online courses and learning to drive, it is easier than ever to get your license as an adult.

This will help improve your driving skills and your confidence, no matter what age you are when taking driving lessons.

Contact us today to see how our certified teachers and course schedules can help you become more independent today.

 

 

Common Reasons Why People Wait to Get a Driver’s License

911 Driving School - Common Reasons Why People Wait to Get a Driver's LicenseGetting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for many teenagers around the country. It is a license to more than just driving a vehicle, it is a token of freedom and responsibility.

Not all teenagers are anxiously awaiting the day to get licensed though. Many put off drivers’ education courses or have no interest in driving.

While there are a lot of reasons why teenagers feel this way, here are four of the more common “whys” behind the lack of interest.

1. No extra time

Teenagers have a lot on their plates and managing it all can become overwhelming. Most are trying to plan for their futures and all their time is dedicated to pursuing those goals.

Keeping up with schoolwork is important to have good grades. Extra-curricular activities like clubs and sports are vital for social lives, health, and college applications. Jobs are another taxation on time because they pay the bills for social lives and fill up savings accounts for moving out.

2. No need for a license

Walking, biking, buses and other forms of public transportation are improving in big and mid-sized cities. If teenagers don’t have a parent or friend to get them around where they need to go, they can often rely on these other forms of transportation.

With so many other options for getting where they need to go, many teens just don’t feel the need to get a driver’s license.

3. Limited access

Not every family can afford to buy and insure another vehicle for their teen driver. This is something that might feel discouraging to a teen who doubts they will have access to a car for practice.

Even if a teen does have access to a car, they might feel like they won’t have money to pay the insurance or keep the tank filled themselves.

4. Fear

Whether it is the added responsibility of having a license or just the fact they could potentially get into a car crash, some teens just are scared to drive. If they never enroll in a class or have a license, they don’t have to confront their fear and find other ways to get around.

The Solutions

While not everyone will be ready to drive at the same time, there are ways to combat the reasons for not getting a driver’s license. Each person will or will not find the motivation to get a driver’s license when they have the time and have a need for it.

One thing that has really changed the driver’s education courses is having them online. The best part about this option is that with online driver’s education classes, they can work on them anywhere and whenever the student has time. This makes driving lessons more accessible for busy students.

For those who are afraid of driving, the one sure way to get over it is to do it. This doesn’t mean you jump straight into a car and drive across the country though. Start small and enroll in a teen driver’s education class. This will help build confidence and feel empowered. When driving, most states will require a responsible adult in the passenger seat to help educate and be a tutor for new drivers when needed.

For those who just don’t feel like they need a license or won’t have access to resources for driving, that will come with time. One day they may want to get licensed and that’s okay.

For anyone wanting to learn to drive later in life, there are driving classes for adults available. Most people who want to drive will end up learning at some point in their lives and it is never too late to learn.

So, if you or your teen aren’t ready to drive the day they can become licensed, don’t sweat it. Work on a timetable that works for your situation.

Ways to Overcome Adult Driving Anxiety

911 Driving School - Ways to Overcome Adult Driving AnxietyDriving anxiety is feeling hesitant to drive or when anxiety is always present when driving. This anxiety can be a fear or a full-blown phobia, but it is usually irrational. Avoiding driving can be difficult if you live in an area where there isn’t good public transportation. The good news is that driving anxiety is common and can be conquered. Here are some tips for helping yourself overcome adult driving anxiety.

1. Keep Driving

For many who experience anxiety while driving, it only gets worse the longer you avoid it. That is true for all fears, phobias, and anxieties. The best thing to do is start slow and go easy on yourself. Be patient and stick to close locations. Avoid the highway and drive in the daytime so you can ease into driving when feeling anxious. If you are experiencing driving anxiety because of an accident, the sooner you start driving afterward, the better you fare in the long run with keeping anxiety under control.

2. Bring Someone You Trust

A great way to combat the fear of driving is to have someone ride in the passenger seat who you trust. It can be a friend, family member, or a driving instructor. Having someone there to listen or help talk you through the anxiety can relieve a lot of the stress involved. Even if they just make some small talk, it can help get your mind off your fears and just focus on the driving.

3. Take a Driver’s Course

If you have never gotten your driver’s license and would like to as an adult, enroll in a course of driving lessons for adults. If you already have your license and are feeling a lot of anxiety, it can be helpful to re-enroll in a driver’s course to help refresh your skills and increase your confidence. These classes also give you an opportunity to practice with an instructor, which can bring some peace of mind.

4. Make the Car Peaceful

External factors like sounds and smells can contribute to increased stress while driving, especially if you are already feeling stressed. To help soothe yourself and create a peaceful environment, play soothing music while you drive and keep an air freshener in your car. Lavender is a common smell that relaxes, but you can pick any smell that helps you feel peaceful. Also, try to keep your car clean and organized for a clearer mind.

5. Manage Your Stress

One of the common underlying issues of driving with anxiety is feeling stress in other areas of your life. Try decreasing the other stressors in your life and incorporate general ways of dealing with stress by exercising, taking breaks, meditating, or whatever you find most helpful. During driving, it can be helpful to say positive affirmations out loud. Hearing these positive statements, such as “I can do this” and “I am a good driver” help boost confidence and fortify this state of mind.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Since there is no way to tell when anxiety will hit you, it is a great idea to keep multiple tactics up your sleeve to help deal with driving anxiety. That way, when it does start to set in, you are prepared and know that you can calm your thoughts. Keep driving and keep trying. Eventually you will learn how to cope and conquer the fear of driving.

10 Common Bad Habits Drivers Have and How to Correct Them

10 Common Bad Habits Drivers Have and How to Correct Them | 911 Driving School

Drivers of all ages and experience levels make mistakes while they drive. It never hurts to have a little reminder about ways you can improve your skills, especially when it comes to driving a car. Since a vehicle can cause so much damage, it is important to drive carefully. Some of the most common bad habits drivers develop are easy to correct, making the roads safer for everyone. Here are ten examples.

1. Not using a turn signal

The purpose of the turn signal is to let drivers and pedestrians around you know what your intentions are switching lanes, at an intersection, or in a parking lot. When drivers neglect to use their signal, they risk causing a collision or dangerous situation for a pedestrian. The best way to correct this problem is to get in the habit of using your signals.

2. Right of Way Errors

When approaching an intersection, it is very important to know which vehicle has the right of way. Unfortunately, not enough drivers remember the rules. Even if you know that you have the right of way though, it is important to still watch the other drivers. If another driver thinks they have the right of way and proceeds into the intersection, it is better to yield and stay alive than to crash and risk injury.

3. Observing signs

There are many signs along the road that help alert drivers to dangers, keep everyone informed on speed limits, upcoming turns, road conditions, and more. Paying attention and following the road signs, it can help keep you and the other drivers around you safe.

4. Turning errors

If a driver starts turning at the wrong spot or misses their turn, too many times they sit and wait to get back into traffic or block the driving lane to wait for an opening in the turn lane for them to fit in. If you realize you are in a turning lane and realize you shouldn’t be, just turn. It is better to get turned around than risk pulling back into traffic and holding up the line behind you. If you realize you missed the chance to get in the correct turning lane, turn at the next opportunity instead and come back. Do not block traffic. It is not just rude; it can cause a crash with multiple cars.

5. Parallel parking

One of the most dreaded driving test skills, the art of parallel parking evades many drivers. To correct this problem, practice is required. Pull up alongside the car that will be in front of your parked car, lining up your rear bumpers and leaving two feet between your cars. Turn your wheel and reverse into the parking space until your front passenger door lines up with the other car’s bumper. Quickly turn your wheel the other way and glide your car into the spot. Straighten out before exiting the car.

6. Illegal maneuvers

Many drivers don’t notice the maneuvers they do are illegal and put others in danger. Make sure that you stop at all stop signs and red lights, only make U-turns in authorized areas, and park in marked areas only.

7. Driving under the influence

Never operate a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Play it safe by reading all the directions on medications you are taking so you know if it will impair your motor skills. If you have been drinking at a party, do not over-estimate your abilities and try to drive.

8. Driving drowsy

Another danger is operating a vehicle when drowsy. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving because abilities and judgement is impaired. Falling asleep at the wheel is dangerous for the driver, the passengers in the vehicle, and others on the road. If you are tired, switch drivers or pull off the road to rest.

9. Not having a driver’s license with you

Everyone who drives a car is required to carry their driver’s license with them in the car. If you are a student driver, having your practice permit is also required. Many drivers do not take this seriously enough and drive a car without their license. Always keep proper documentation, like proof of insurance and car registration information, in your vehicle when driving.

10. Distracted Driving

The number one bad habit drivers have is driving distracted. Whether it is a cell phone, picking up cargo that has fallen on the ground, or talking to passengers, it is vital to pay attention to the road in front of you. Correct this problem by remembering what is most important. If you need to pick something up, make a phone call, send a text, or deal with passengers, pull to the side of the road and out of traffic.

Most new drivers are nervous and usually try to remember to do everything correctly. Once drivers become more comfortable behind the wheel, they overestimate their abilities. It is important to always stay vigilant and avoid picking up bad habits. Remember your defensive driving skills that you learned during your driving lessons. You just never know; it might save your life.

5 Things to Do Now That You Passed Your Driving Test

5 Things to do Now That You Passed Your Driving Test | 911 Driving SchoolPassing your driving test after all the hours of studying, driving, and preparing for this day is a wonderful feeling. There is a lot of work involved in getting to this point, so it’s appropriate that you celebrate. Now you might be wondering what you should do after you pass the test. Here are five things to get you started.

1. Get Proper Documentation

Receiving your license is just the first item you need to operate a moving vehicle. Most states require that drivers have car insurance. This helps cover you financially if you get into a crash. Not every state requires that you have insurance when you have a learner’s or practice permit, so make sure you have the proper coverage before driving on your own. Also, keep a copy of your policy in your glove box for if you ever need to provide proof of insurance.

2. Buy a Car

If you are fortunate enough to buy your own car, doing it for the first time can seem overwhelming. Pay attention to if it is automatic or manual, how many miles it has, and what works or doesn’t. Take it to a third-party mechanic for an inspection to make sure it is a dependable car. Consider buying a used car to help decrease the stress you will feel driving around alone for the first year or two. Once you bring it home, buy some fun accessories to personalize it.

3. Be Prepared

Now that you have your license, you should be responsible. Part of that is being prepared for many of the common problems drivers experience. Keep a spare tire and tools in the car and know how to use them if you need to change one of your tires. Consider keeping an emergency kit in the trunk with basic medical supplies, water, and a snack. Buy a car charger to keep in your middle console for if you get lost or stranded and have a low battery. If it is wintertime, keep a blanket somewhere in the car too. While you can’t possibly prepare for every scenario, being ready for some common problems will save you in a pinch.

4. Take Precautions

If you are nervous driving without an experienced driver in the passenger seat, you’re not alone. There are plenty of stickers available for purchase online that you can stick on your bumper to let other drivers know you are new. This helps others have patience with you and give you a little more space on the road.

5. Spread the Word

No matter what age you are when you get your first drivers license, be proud. Spread the good news by posting on social media. This will let your friends and family celebrate the big moment with you.

Now that you have completed your online driver’s ed classes, taken your driving lessons, practiced many hours on the road, and passed the final test, you are going to have a lot of time on your hands. Whether you take a road trip or just enjoy taking yourself where you need to go, it is nice to have more freedom. Congratulations on this big step in your life.

The Process of Getting Your Driver’s License

The Process of Getting Your Drivers License | 911 Driving SchoolThe process for getting a driver’s license has a lot of common ground between states. However, there are slight differences for each state. It can all be confusing if you are going through the process with your teen driver for the first time. Here is a quick overview of the different processes each state has in common and how they are different.

Finding Common Ground

While a guide for each state would be very long, here is what Washington, California, Colorado, Ohio, South Carolina, and Florida all have in common.

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Before licensing, teens must have a learning permit that has limited use to practice with a licensed parent, guardian, or approved adult in the passenger seat.
  • Pass a vision screening
  • Permission from parents or legal guardians
  • Provide documentation with birth certificate, social security number, and residency in the state
  • Complete a teen drivers education course
  • Pass a written exam of the laws from an approved location
  • Pass a driving test at an official location
  • Have a photo taken and pay licensing fees
  • Stipulations on driving conditions during the first 6-12 months of licensing

These provide a great foundation for each state to build off. Here are some of the differences each of these states have added to their licensing processes.

Washington

Permit drivers must complete at least 40 hours of daylight, including 10 hours of night driving with someone who’s been licensed for 5 years or more. To get a license, the person cannot have been convicted of any traffic violations within 6 months of applying or alcohol or drug offenses while holding an instruction permit. Licensing is also available online for new drivers.

Stipulations: Under 18 gets an intermediate driver license. First 6 months, no passengers under 20 except immediate family members. Next 6 months. No more than 3 passengers under 20 who aren’t immediate family. Nighttime driving not allowed between 1 and 5 am unless with a driver 25+. Only exceptions, agricultural purposes and transporting for farm products or supplies. No cell phones while driving, even hands-free except in an emergency.

California

Signatures by all parent(s)/guardians(s) with custody are required to get a permit and a license. All these signatures are also required to verify that the new driver completed 50 hours of practice driving with 10 hours being at night. To get a driver’s license, the individual must be at least 16 and have had their permit at least 6 months.

Restrictions: During the first year, there is no driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., drive with any passengers under 20 years old unless they are immediate family members or a licensed adult 25 years old or older is in the car. Exceptions can be made for work, school, or medical reasons with an official signed form. Drivers under 18 years old may not use cellphones or wireless devices while driving, even if it is hands-free.

Colorado

To get a driver’s permit, it is required to take a 30-hour drivers education class. If the student is 15 years and 6 months, they may opt for a 4 hours driver awareness class instead.  Drivers under 18 years old must have a permit for at least 12 months and be 16 years old before taking their licensing test. Driving logs must be submitted with a required 6 hours behind the wheel with an instructor.

Restrictions: No passengers under 21 for first 6 months and only one passenger under 21 at a time for the next 6 months unless they are an immediate family member or a licensed adult over 21 years old is in the car too. Exceptions are made for medical emergencies. Everyone in the vehicle must also wear their own seat belt. Driving between midnight and 5 a.m. is now allowed the first year unless an adult is in the car or it is to work or school with a signed and dated form.

Ohio

Before getting a license, the applicant must complete 50 hours of driving with 10 of those hours at night. To drive with a permit, anyone under 16 may only drive with a parent or legal guardian. Once the driver is 16, they may also complete their practice hours with any licensed driver 21 years of age or older in the passenger seat.  Driver’s education courses must be 24 hours classroom or online instruction and 8 hours of driving time. If there are any traffic offenses during the first 6 months of driving, a parent must always ride in the passenger seat for 6 months or until the driver reaches 17 years of age.

Restrictions: During the first 12 months, no driving between 12-6 am unless with a parent or if it is for work or school with documentation. There is also no driving with more than one non-family without a parent or legal guardian in the car. After the first 12 months of licensing, no driving between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. with the same exceptions. No phones or mobile devices are allowed for use. Multiple traffic convictions before 18 may equal suspension and any involving alcohol means a 6-month suspension.

South Carolina

All new drivers require having a permit for 180 full days before applying for a license. Each must complete 40 hours of driving with 10 at night. Practice must be done with a driver age 21 or older with one-year driving experience sitting in the front seat. To complete the driving test, drivers must bring their own car with a proper title, registration, insurance, and safety inspected vehicle. Teen drivers must have good school attendance to get a license.

Restrictions: New drivers can only drive alone between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. during daylight savings time. If there is a licensed driver 21 years old or older, driving is allowed until midnight. Between midnight and 6 a.m., driving is only allowed if a parent/guardian accompanies. Full privileges are granted at 16 if, within one year of having a license, there have been no traffic offenses or at-fault accidents.

Florida

Permit drivers must complete 50 hours of driving time with 10 hours being at night. They must be accompanied by a responsible adult who is at least 21 years old. During the first three months, driving is only allowed during daylight hours. The next three months, they can drive until 10 p.m. To get a license, the driver must have a learner’s license for at least a year or reach 18 years of age. There can be no moving violations from one year of the learner’s license date of issuance. The driving test is done in a registered, insured car that has passed inspection.

Restrictions: Florida has graduated licensing laws, which means there is more structure that gradually builds driving privileges. For newly licensed drivers, no driving between 11 pm and 6 am unless it is to work or with driver at least 21 years old in the passenger seat. Once 17 years old, no driving between 1 am to 5 am unless driving to work or accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old.

Driving Safely

Having a driver’s license is a great privilege that has specific responsibilities attached to it. No matter what state you are completing driving lessons and getting a license, each driver must practice safe driving, follow the laws, and be careful. Any restrictions added have been to help protect many of the common problems that many new teen drivers face.