Time To Get Your Driver's License!
Who Taught You How To Drive?
It was a warm August morning and I thought I was going to vomit. On the way to the registry, the head of the driving school gave us a pep talk that consisted mainly of him telling us not to get into an accident because that would surely force the state trooper to deny our license. At eighteen, I was the oldest student in the auto school van. While this made me feel awkward, the realization that, unlike my fellow students, I would be able to drive my friends around regardless of the time of day the second I obtained my license made me feel better. They were younger, true, but they also were going to have to wait six months to do something I could do immediately. I suddenly enjoyed being the oldest student.
I remember the very first time I got behind the wheel. I was in my early teens and my mother told me I could drive the family car into the driveway. She had a great deal of faith in me and didn’t expect for such an easy task to go awry. I will never forget the sound of my oldest brother laughing on the porch as I accidentally drove the car into the fence. I will also never forget the sound of my mother’s voice when she told me to step out of the car and hand her the keys.
When I told my mother at seventeen that I was finally ready to get my license she was justified in being a little nervous. While I know she was also relieved that she wasn’t going to be my sole source of transportation anymore and we both agreed that I was a late bloomer, I know she couldn’t get the image of the broken fence out of her head. Yet, she taught me how to drive in pretty much one hour. By the time I turned eighteen a couple of weeks later, I was ready to go to driving school.
I don’t know about other states, but in Massachusetts you get a lower rate on car insurance for drivers under twenty-five if they go to driving school. Driving school for me was not a positive experience. My instructor was, to put it simply, an insecure, rude, pot bellied, balding man who never removed his sunglasses and refused to shower or bathe. He resented my mother for teaching me how to drive and basically told me that in order to get my license I had to unlearn everything she had taught me. The day before my driving test, my instructor had his wife, another instructor, fill in for him. I learned more in thirty minutes from this woman than I did in the weeks that I had studied with her husband. While he had told me that the probability of me getting my license on the first try was slim to none, she assured me that not only was I was going to easily get my license, but that her husband knew nothing and has no business being an instructor. Without her help, I know wouldn’t have gotten my license the following day.
It seems to me that those seeking to gain a driver’s license can go one of two routes. The first way is by relying on the guidance of a trusted family member or friend with a driver’s license in good standing. By going this route, the experience is somewhat relaxed and the cost is typically free. However, while they may be a good driver, they probably aren’t friendly with state troopers who test students. They also may not know exactly what will be on the test. The other way to go is through a school. For several hundred dollars, you are put in a car with one to two other students and a driving instructor. While the experience may not be pleasant, the outcome may be more positive. Most driving schools know beforehand what trooper will be giving the test and are more often than not friendly with the trooper. They also have a pretty good idea of what is on the test and can lead you in the right direction.
Unless your insurance company and/or state has a policy that they’ll lower insurance rates for a below twenty-five driver with a driving school certificate, I would recommend that you ask a family member or friend to teach you how to drive. True, they can yell at you just as badly as a professional driving instructor. However, they are teaching you because they care about you and not because they want your money. Though you’re a taking a risk of not getting your license on the first try by not going through a school, for a nervous person like me, the risk is worth it.
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