Clear the roads. The class of 2021 is at the starting line, and students are hitting the lanes, freshly equipped with their licenses.
In order to get their license, a driver has to have a learner’s permit for nine months, drive for 60 hours and attend a state-approved driver education program. At the age of 16 and six months and nine months after they got their learners permit a driver can get their provisional license.
With a new influx of people hopping behind the wheel, it’s important to remember how to remain sane and safe on the roads. Teenagers are at a higher risk for accidents. According to DoSomething.Org 33% of deaths among 13-19 year olds are related to motor vehicles. “One of my biggest concerns is safety. Drivers ed and in-car’s helped me to develop good habits for driving though, so I’m not scared about driving on my own,” Helgeson said.
People who know their limits when driving are going to have safer experiences on the road. “I’m an assertive driver, but I’m not aggressive. The day I got my license I drove myself to Trader Joe’s and some people were zooming into spots, and I just decided to park further away from Trader Joe’s, so I wouldn’t overwhelm myself on the first day,” Helgeson said.
Other new drivers, like sophomore Nick Billingsley exert great confidence in their driving, and aside from knowing his own limits on the road, he keeps in mind the limits of others too. “Obviously as a new driver I don’t know everything, but I know the rules of the road pretty well, whereas some people…don’t. The frustration of having to deal with other people driving who don’t really know what they’re doing is annoying, but I’m learning to be patient with it,” Billingsley said.
Above all of the stress and anxiety that comes from this new responsibility, this is a big milestone for the sophomores and an exciting time in their lives. “I’m really excited to have my license. It’s cool,” sophomore Meghan Harris said.
The excitement, is not limited to those students who already have their licenses, but those who are taking their tests within the next few weeks. Sophomore Abbey Damonte said she is eager to take the test. “I’ve been telling my mom to schedule the appointment for weeks and I should be taking the test in late April. I know for a fact that once I get my license I’ll be eating Chick-Fil-A so much,” Damonte said.
Sophomore Thomas Jezek shares a similar feeling with Damonte, as he prepares for his test in May. “It’s going to be just such a good time. A lot of my friends have their licenses so it should be hype to join them in driving,” Jezek said.