The Road to Getting Your Driver's License

Nothing is as freeing as being able to get behind the wheel of a car. At last, no more relying on someone else to drive you around! Scheduling your social life along with work and school activities gets much easier after you can drive. Earning your driving permit is one of the biggest rights of passage on the journey toward adulthood.

Each state in the U.S. has slightly different requirements for teenagers who are ready to get a driver's license. Many states follow a Graduated Driver License (GDL) program, where you begin with a learner's permit, followed by a restricted or provisional license, and then a full operator's license.

Age requirements also vary by state. In South Dakota, for example, you can get an instruction permit at age 14. However, in New York you can't drive at all if you're under 16, even if you have a learner's permit from your state of residence. In Nevada, you must take a driver's education course at age 15, and at 15 1/2 you can receive a learner's permit. At age 16, you receive a restricted license, which you must hold for a minimum of six months before getting your unrestricted license.Meanwhile, in California, you must take a driver's education course and be 15 1/2 years old to receive a learner's permit. At age 16, you can receive a provisional license if you've completed an approved course; if not, you must wait until you're 17 1/2. At 18 years old, you get a regular driver's license.

It's important to check with your state to see what you need to do to get in the driver's seat. In general, the road to receiving your license (and your ticket to freedom) will look something like this:

1. Complete an Approved Driver's Education Course

This a requirement for teenage drivers in some states, including California and Texas, and in other states it might allow you to get your restricted or regular license at a younger age. Completing a driver's education course can also help lower your insurance rates. You should definitely let your insurance agent know you've completed the course, and ask if there is a discount available.

Remember, you don't have to sit through boring classroom hours to complete a driver's ed course: you can do it online! This gives you the freedom to do it when it's convenient for you, and you still get all the information you need from certified instructors. Online Drivers Ed leads the way with an interactive, entertaining course. Instead of long lectures and dense textbooks, we have videos, graphics, short readings, and quizzes that you can access anywhere, any time.

2. Complete the Application

Your parents will have to sign the forms to give their permission for you to drive. You'll have to submit proof of age, identity, and residence.

3. Study

Your driver's ed course will get you ready to go, but you might like to take a practice test to ease the anxiety you feel about the exam. You can get a handbook and a practice test online or from your local DMV. That extra preparation could help you pass on the first try!

4. Take the Test

Take a deep breath! You've got this. The millions of drivers on the road today have all been through it, and you'll get through it, too, even if you have to take it more than once.

Be prepared as you will also have to pay a small fee and take a vision test.

5. Drive!

Depending on the requirements in your state, you might have to log a certain number of driving hours (or hold the permit for a certain length of time) before you can move to the next step in your GDL program.

This whole process begins with driver's education, and going online makes it easy to fulfill your requirements without interrupting your busy schedule. Simply register, complete each unit when you have time, and receive your certificate, which you'll take with you to the DMV. Yes, you do have to prove your knowledge on some quizzes and a final exam, but Online Drivers Ed lets you retake those tests as many times as you need to. With your certificate in hand, you'll be ready to take the next step in the process of getting your driver's license.

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