An Enloe Student’s Guide to Becoming a Licensed Driver

An Enloe Student’s Guide to Becoming a Licensed Driver

The pandemic put almost every aspect of our lives on hold, and getting a driver’s license was no different. High schoolers of all grades are still feeling the effects of this setback. The process can be overwhelming and confusing, even after doing your fair share of research. After seeing many of my classmates face this problem, I decided to compile a complete and comprehensive guide to becoming a legal driver for all NC high school students.

The first thing you need to do is determine if you are eligible to start the program. According to the North Carolina DMV website, every teen driver should be working toward a high school diploma or GED. Their license will be revoked for a year if they are suspended or sent to an alternative education setting as a disciplinary action for ten straight days. Before you can earn your learner’s permit (also known as a level one), you must pass a driver’s education course. Programs like these are available for teens 14.5 years and older. They are made up of two weeks of after-school lessons and six hours of behind-the-wheel learning. Most WCPSS high schools offer driver’s education through Jordan Driving School. This is the most common route, as it is affordable and easy to register through your school. Unfortunately, these classes fill fast, with behind-the-wheel times being in high demand. Another option open to some is using an out-of-school driving company. These sessions are often more expensive than Jordan Driving, but they can speed up the process. 

After finishing the classes and obtaining your Driver’s Education Certificate and Driver Eligibility Certificate, your next step is to make an appointment to take the written knowledge test. At the appointment, a DMV employee will ask you to identify a handful of road signs based on shape and color before taking you to a computer to answer questions online. The online test consists of 25 questions and you must answer 20 of them correctly to pass. If you don’t pass the first time, you can retake it after seven days. Make sure to bring the proper documents to this appointment! The DMV will turn you away if you don’t. They require proof of age and identity, social security, and residence.

With your permit test out of the way, you can now begin the 60 hours of driving time you need to log before getting your level two license. As of New Years Day 2023, teens have to keep their permit for a year before thinking about getting the next tier. During that year, you need to be behind the wheel with a licensed adult driver to meet the 60 hour minimum. Ten of these hours need to be at night, which takes some getting used to at first. The growth and skills you develop in this year are vital, and will keep you safe when you start driving by yourself. 

By the time a year has come and gone, you should be well-prepared for your road test, although it may not feel like it. Nerves tend to run high at the thought of being observed by a DMV examiner, but you should have nothing to worry about if you’ve paid attention to the things you’ve learned with an adult in the passenger seat. You can now register as an organ donor and a future voter. With the freedom a level two limited provisional license gives you, there is a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders. At this time, you can legally drive by yourself, something you have never done before. Most drivers would recommend starting out with a trip around a quiet, low-speed area like a neighborhood. To ensure that you’ve been keeping up with habits like these, a 12-hour log must be completed before applying for your full license. At least six of these must be done at night, where an adult will probably be needed for supervision. 

Once six months have passed and your most recent log is full, you can start thinking about earning your level three license. As of now, no written or road test is required for this step, but this is subject to change as pandemic restrictions are relaxed. Level three is what most adults you know have. It allows you to drive unsupervised at any time of day or night. After obtaining your level three, you have officially completed the graduated licensing process! No more logs, tests, or supervision is needed. However, every driver needs to be attentive. It doesn’t take a driver’s ed class to be aware of the hair-raising statistics surrounding teens and car crashes. Have fun, make memories, and above all else, make safe decisions.