Getting Your License: a Teen's Guide

Lifestyle

Gaining your license is one of the biggest achievements you can have as a teenager, and is also a way to both gain independence and a sense of freedom.

As simple as getting your license may sound, there's a lot of factors that go into it. Studying for your theory test is one thing, but getting experience behind the wheel and picking out the best vehicle for you is also a part of your journey.

What's so great about driving at this age?

Having access to driving and the responsibilities that come with it are important if you need it later in life. Knowing how to drive early on and knowing the nuances of the road, you'll be better equipped to carry that responsibility in the future. Also, you’ll always have your license or permit as a form of identification, so you’ll rarely experience the awkward “I forgot my ID…” moment again!

In addition, it allows you to have your freedom and makes you become more confident and reliant on yourself. What’s even better is that you can start looking and saving up for a first car to practice on, because let's be serious, our parents aren’t always going to be too thrilled about us practicing on their cars as we venture onto the road.

The Theory Test

Before you rush into anything, you must begin studying for your test. The process of getting it will be different in each country, state, and even city, and will also vary with age. Don’t plan on cramming all the road laws into one day worth of studying and expect to pass; try studying a few weeks prior to allow your brain to process all the information you’ll need to remember!

It’s always a good idea to try and quiz yourself so you can get used to being quizzed. In addition, if your country has a practice theory test available, add that in along with studying. The theory tests will also test your knowledge about your own driving, so don’t be surprised if you're also asked about potential hazards, road signs, enforcement laws, and potential situations you may get into with your vehicle.

Don’t cram the morning off and don’t feel abnormal for being a little nervous. It’s a normal feeling! Never feel pressured to get it as soon as possible; everybody is different and won’t want to get their license right away.

Did I pass...?

As much as it pains me to say this, not everybody will pass. It’s important you don’t knock yourself down about not passing the first time, and that you keep studying. Get yourself back on your high horse and pass it next time!

If you did pass, congratulations! Each country's process of driver's license obtainment is different and it’s important you know what you can and can't do at that stage of your journey. There are laws in place to protect the roads, so make sure you know your limits. There are time frames where you must sit on a certain stage until you can move onto a full license. In these periods it’s important you get in as much practice as you can. It’s vital that, before you sit your proper test, you can do everything required with full confidence!

Get to know the area and potential routes that you may take while on your test and pick up on tricky turns, potential hazards, and the speed limit for that area. You’ll feel more comfortable and less nervous during your test if you know the area well. Make sure you get in practice as often as you can!

The Hunt

When you feel confident with where you're at, you’ll want to look into getting a car of your own. Looking for cars is easier said than done... many factors go into looking for a first car. Fuel efficiency, safety rating, reliability, and price are only a few of the numerous considerations that go into buying a car.

As a first car owner, you don't want to buy an expensive car that you may damage. (Let's be real, as beginner drivers we are bound to make mistakes). I highly recommend looking at second-hand cars, and keep an open mind. The car you have in mind may not be right for you. Once you begin looking at cars you won’t stop, and there are endless amounts of brands with different makes and models.

Never look at a car and agree to purchase it just because it looks good! Ask to take it to an approved mechanic and have it looked over to ensure there are no problems. Sometimes the listed price may seem too good to be true, and there's always an underlying reason for that scenario.

Having the ability to drive and the feeling you’ll get when you pass your test is worth all the work! It’s a big step, and one you should be very proud of taking. Just don’t forget to fuel up, and you’ll be on the road in no time!

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Mia Bennett

Mia Bennett is a high school student in Auckland, New Zealand and is striving to work as a Journalist in later years.