DMV experience: obtaining a learner’s permit

By Chris Amaro

Biking, walking, taking a bus: these are all forms of transportation; however, none of them compare to driving. Being able to go where you want whenever you want is something most people can obtain. The process to obtain a driver license is a  long one and for good reason. Driving is dangerous and not only could you hurt yourself, but other drivers driving on the same road; so it is not unreasonable that it will take someone at least seven months to finally have the ability to drive without many restrictions. There are three major steps to receive your driver’s licence.

Step 1: Once you turn 15 and a half you will be eligible to take a drivers-ed class online, on sites such as There are a number of websites you can use, and the class should take around 30 hours if one is reading thoroughly through the lessons. It is recommended to read through all the lessons carefully because some of the information will appear on the written test. However, not all information is equal: some information from the drivers ed course will not appear on the written test.  After completing the drivers-ed course you will receive a letter in the mail confirming that you have completed the course

Step 2: After receiving your letter in the mail confirming you have completed the drivers-ed course you will be eligible to take the written test to obtain your permit. To take the test you will need to go tho the DMV and supply them with: proof of your address, your birth certificate, and the letter saying you have completed the drivers-ed course. Then, you will be forced to stay in the waiting area for one to two hours depending on how many people are at the DMV. I recommend to start studying for this test during the waiting period by using one of the DMV quiz apps or by reading the California Driver’s Handbook. (By this point you should have already been studying for weeks and you will most likely fail if you do not study before you arrive at the DMV.) Eventually, you called up to the front desk to test your vision. Then, you will be sent to take your picture at a different station. Finally, after they finish taking your photo it is time to take the test. The test is mostly made up of rules of the road and road signs and most questions just require common sense. After finishing your test you will either be given your learner’s permit (if you have passed), or be forced to come back a different time (if you have failed).

Step 3: After obtaining your learner’s permit you are still not eligible to drive. You first have to get your permit signed by your driving instructor, which he or she will do the first time you see them. After receiving your permit, you are obligated to wait six months before taking your behind the wheel driving test. During those six months you will have to drive for six hours with a private instructor and you will have to drive for a total of 50 hours, 10 of which are at night. After 6 months of driving with only someone 25 or older in the car, you will be allowed to take the behind-the-wheel driving test. You will have to schedule this over the phone as the DMV does not allow walk-ins for the behind the wheel test.

After completing the behind the wheel test, you will be able to obtain your driver’s license; and, once you are 18, all other restrictions are lifted. Good Luck.

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