Everything You Need to Know About Driver's Ed

You may still be years away from putting the key in the ignition and cruising around town, but that doesn't mean it's too early to get acquainted with the expectations of Driver's Ed.

Movies make this life benchmark seem scary and nearly impossible to accomplish, but trust us, they really aren't telling the whole story.

Browse the introduction below to learn a little bit about Driver's Ed before your fear gets the better of you:

Phase 1: The Classes

Before you ever step foot in the driver's side, you'll have to complete the course lessons. These either take place in a classroom with a teacher, just like any other class, or you can sign up to complete them online. Your teacher will go over all of the information you'll need to know in order for you to become a responsible driver, ranging from the order of steps before merging lanes, to parallel parking without bumping other cars.

You'll be given tons of papers and handouts that will help you study the information, and small diagrams or drawings that will help you conceptualize life on the road before you put the pedal to the metal. To be honest, these lessons are a little on the boring side, but they certainly aren't tricky.

Some schools may still offer Driver's Ed as an elective class but many do not. We suggest signing up for this class at school if you have the option, otherwise you'll be stuck taking these classes during summer break or weekends.


Phase 2: The Written Test

Next stop on the road to earning your license is the written exam, which will test the knowledge you learned in your Driver's Ed courses. Before you freak out, this test is multiple choice and is held at the DMV. If you've ever heard your parents complain about the Department of Motor Vehicles, you're about to find out why. Lines are usually as long as Disneyland's and everyone is (understandably) on edge

Close up multiple choice test.

(via Shutterstock)

But don't sweat it, because the exam itself is very straightforward and a total breeze if you studied the materials supplied by your courses. You'll most likely receive a pamphlet which lists the test questions directly. Plus, if you don't pass the exam on the first try, you can always study harder and take it again. Your score is determined on a Pass or Fail basis, so missing a couple questions won't affect your final driving test.

Once you pass your written test you will receiving a Driver's Permit which is a green light towards moving forward with your driving lessons.


Phase 3: The Driving Lessons

It's officially time to get behind the wheel. You'll have to put embarrassment aside as you step into the front seat of a car that says "Student Driver" in big block letters. Your instructor will talk you through every step you need to make and will work with you on certain skills that you may find difficult, like parallel parking.

You don't have to worry about where you're going because the instructor will guide you the entire way. They'll say things like, "Merge into the right lane and turn right at the next light," until you find yourself back at home.

Teenage girl doing her driving lessons with instructor.

(via Shutterstock)

This step can be a little awkward because you're going for a drive with a complete stranger, but seek solace in knowing that your safety is their top priority. Awkwardness aside, this phase is also thrilling. It's the first real time you get to test out your driving skills. Look out for a classmate catching you cruising down the road!

After logging the required hours of driving lessons, you're officially ready to trade that permit for a shiny, plastic driver's license… once you pass the driving test, of course.


Phase 4: The Driving Test

It's time to put all of that practice to work and show the DMV you are a responsible driver. Just like the lessons, you'll hop into a car (this time your family's car) and complete the course of your tester's choice. They'll start by asking you to point out fundamental parts of your car, like mirrors, hazard lights and the emergency brake.

Once you're off on the road, they will watch the way you look over your shoulder before merging, and they'll internally count to three when you roll up to a stop sign.

It's impossible not to be nervous during this monumental benchmark, but try your best to stay calm. One thing they certainly won't do is try and trick you. These tests are very straightforward and designed to make you the best driver you can be to ensure that roads everywhere are occupied by responsible people.

Teen girl just got her driver's license.

(via Shutterstock)

Bottom line: If you studied your course material and remained focused during your driving lessons, you'll ace this test easily and finally be issued your driver's license. Look out, world.


Being tested is hard, and not just when it comes to driving. School can be a struggle, so check out THESE test-taking traps to avoid before your next big exam.