Struggles Of Being a Teenage Driver

Alexis Decker, Contributor

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The expectation of turning sixteen is complete freedom. Being sixteen means you have option to take the biggest test of all time – the drivers test. Passing the test can determine whether you will be riding solo or in the backseat of your mother´s minivan another year. Achieving your license is quite honestly the best thing ever, but there are many obstacles to overcome before actually getting on the road. 

Many teenagers are lucky enough to obtain their dad´s rusty pick up truck, but numerous kids are stuck paying for their own vehicle. Budgeting for a car takes some time, especially if you have a new car on your wishlist. Getting a job and balancing work with school is a strenuous task in itself. Achieving employment can be tough in today’s economy. Websites like Indeed.com and Snagajob.com assist job-seeking teenagers by providing them with age appropriate careers. Most of them are in the fast food industries, but you have to start somewhere, right? Keep in mind, car plates and insurance are not cheap either.

Once you have endured enough suffering from your minimum wage job and have the paychecks to prove it, you can work on buying your car. Buying a cheap car is extremely risky. I bought my first car off of Facebook for $1,000 and it was completely horrendous. Buying a used car is dangerous because once it’s sold, it’s sold as is. This means if you bought a car from a private seller, took it home, and then it broke down – you´re stuck with it. The seller may give you your money back, but odds are they won´t. You have to be on complete defense when it comes to spending all of your hard earned money.

Learning how to drive has the potential to be tedious depending on the person. For some, driving comes naturally. For others, learning how to drive results in your mom screaming and holding on to the bar above the window. Personally, watching Youtube videos really helped me understand from a 360 perspective. You need to find someone in your life who is great at both driving and teaching. Staying calm, driving slow and defensively will be your best bet.

If you do not have a person in your life to award you driving lesson, then driver’s education is always an option. Annaliese Kohrell, a senior at LNE, took drivers education in the summer of 2017. Kohrell explained, ¨I would attend the classes and listen to the lectures. When it came to actually driving, I had to sit in the back and let another student drive around. I feared for my life to be honest.” Annaliese passed drivers education and succeeded with getting her license. Wendy Formelu, a senior at LNE, did not like drivers education. Formelu says, ¨It was not worth my money and time.¨ Drivers education cost Wendy 425$ and she believes she could´ve learned for free from a friend/relative.

The most important hindrance to pass is the test itself. The driving exam causes one million butterflies to flutter in your stomach. When I was tested, I had no idea what was going to happen and that is partly why I was so nervous. You can make an appointment or do a walk-in when the building is open. It is way better to make an appointment because the wait time at the DMV is outrageous. You will get your number then wait for the driving instructor to come for you. Then you let all of your knowledge about driving come into play. I was super scared if I was going to be ready because I didn’t know exactly what I was going to be tested on. Driving-Tests.org is an excellent website to provide you a checklist of what you must be able to do to pass the test. If you fail, then you can always learn from your mistakes and try again until you get it right. Eventually, you will be able to drive and you’ll have the official license in your hand to prove it.

Being a new teenage driver is complemented with spending more money. You have to make sure your tank is filled enough to get to school, to work, and to your house everyday. A parking pass is mandated to park in the student parking lot at LNE. The pass cost 10$. Buying plates from the DMV will be about 10% of the total cost of your car. Plates may only be a one-time charge, but car insurance is a monthly bill. Being a teenage driver is costly, but the newfound freedom is worth every penny.