Driving: The Right Way


Dylan Forrester

     As a senior who’s been through countless hours of driving school and has also totaled his car, I’ve seen the right ways and the wrong ways to go about driving for the first couple years. It’s definitely an exciting time when you’re getting your license, but you need to be smart about it. No matter how normal it may seem, driving is a luxury because of how much it costs. Without any financial help, driving may be too big of a step for many high school students. Although, if you have a job and know what you’re doing, it can give you freedom that you’ve never had before. It may seem like a daunting task, but I’m here to make the process as stress-free as it can be.

     Driving school seems like an unnecessary hassle, especially for a fifteen or sixteen year old. As tough as it can be to sit through six hour days of what seems like common sense, I think it’s vital to attend driving school. You want to know what you are doing on the road, and unexpected circumstances can come up at any second. Being constantly bombarded with the rules of the road at Brights or Triad (local driving schools) can be made a lot easier if you have a group of friends to go through it with you. I would also recommend getting all of the required hours done over a single vacation. As bad as it sounds, getting driving school done over Christmas break or February break makes it a lot easier in the long run. Taking the classes over weekends is much more of a hassle, and it drags out the process a lot longer than it should. As veteran driver Jake Warren says, “‘It was a long tedious process, but there’s nothing like the open road, man.”

     Driving lessons are the next step of the process. There’s no easy way to get these done quickly. If you go through a driving school (which is the smartest way), there’s a time requirement for permit driving before you can get your license. I recommend scheduling driving lessons in advance as much as possible, because the spots fill up quickly and you don’t want to be on your permit any longer than you need to be. If you end up going to Brights Driving School, the driving test is local in Rowley. This is the best option, since you get to drive on familiar roads. When Jake took his driving test, he said that “good ‘ol Peggy (driving instructor at Brights) was there to help me. I didn’t need to worry.” Ask your driving instructor to take you out on the driving test course before you actually have to take the test. By the time you do have to take the test, it will just feel like instinct.  

     After you successfully get your license, you need to pick a first car. There’s no need to go all out, especially as you’re learning to drive, but make sure that you get something that works.  If you pick a run-down car because it’s cheap, you’ll most likely end up putting a lot more money and time into fixing it.  But you also need to consider the increased risk of getting into an accident as a teen. This can obviously be linked to driving inexperience. In 2013 alone, “2,163 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes” (Teen Drivers: Get the Facts). This means that six teens in the U.S. died every day from car crashes. As free as you may feel when you are driving, no one is invincible. An accident can happen at any moment, and I would know since I totaled my first car earlier this year. From the wise words of Mr. Seeley, “Anyone can get in an accident, no matter how smart you think you are.” It’s not always the teen’s fault either. There are stupid drivers everywhere, and it definitely helps to realize that. I’ve come to understand that the safest way to drive is to treat all other drivers like they’re idiots. Expect them to make mistakes, so that when it actually does happen, you’ll be ready. There’s a lot you need to learn and endure when you start driving. I hope that I was able to give you some guidance as you begin your journey on the open road.