No matter where in the country you live, you’re likely to know a lot of people who have driver’s licences.
About 231,652,000 people in the US had a licence to drive in 2020.
Whether you have a child who wants to learn how to drive, a friend or family member who wants to do the same, or you yourself want to get behind the wheel, the most common question is: how long does it take to learn how to drive?
The truth is that this question doesn’t have a simple answer.
All of this depends on where you live, how old you are, and whether or not your state requires drivers to get a learner’s permit first.
How long does learning to drive take? Find out by reading on!
Is a Driver’s Education Course Necessary?
Some people think that in order to get a licence, everyone must take a driver’s ed class.
But that isn’t true.
Not all states require a driver’s education course, and the minimum age varies a lot from one state to the next.
At the moment, 32 states require new drivers to take a driver’s education course. This is mostly a requirement for young adults, but each state has different age requirements.
No matter how old you are, if you pass a driver’s ed course, your car insurance might go down.
For example, to learn how to drive, anyone in Colorado between the ages of 15 and 21 must take a driver’s ed course.
On the other hand, in Maryland, anyone of any age who wants to learn how to drive must pass a driver’s ed course and get training in the driver’s seat.
Contact your local DMV to find out how long it takes to learn how to drive in your state. They can also tell you about requirements and timelines for the whole state.
How Long Are Driver’s Education Courses?
If your state requires new drivers of a certain age to take a driver’s ed course, the course usually lasts between 30 and 50 hours.
After the classroom part, you’ll schedule a certain number of hourly driving lessons with a driving instructor. These lessons usually last 20 to 25 hours.
It’s a good idea to find out about the length of courses and class times at driver training schools in your area.
The best driver-training classes have a variety of times for classes (days, evenings, and weekends).
Some driving schools let you take the in-class part of the course online.
Keep in mind that some states require a driver’s ed course and a learner’s permit before you can schedule a road test at the DMV to get your full driver’s licence.
How Much Do Drivers Ed Courses Cost?
Costs depend on how old you are and where you live.
If your state requires all new drivers to take a driver’s ed course, it will cost you between $50 and $70 for an adult course and between $60 and $90 for a teen course.
Look around for deals, because some driving schools offer discounts on courses or free roadside help for a limited time.
And don’t forget that many car insurance companies give discounts to new drivers who have a certificate from a driver’s education course.
No matter how old a new driver is, they will all benefit from taking a driver’s ed course.
What Do You Learn in a Driver’s Education Course?
You will learn the rules of the road and how to read road signs from a licenced driving instructor in class.
These details are important because the rules of the road in some states and cities can be hard to understand.
During in-car training with your instructor, you’ll learn defensive driving techniques and other important skills like parallel parking, U-turns, and three-point turns.
Lowdown on the Learner’s Permit
Whether you are a new driver between the ages of 16 and 18 or an adult learning to drive, most states require you to get a learner’s permit before you can get your full driver’s licence.
Documents Required to Obtain Learner’s Permit
Your local Motor Vehicle Licensing Agency needs proof of identity, such as an original birth certificate and a social security card.
Your local DMV may also need you to bring in other paperwork.
Get in touch with them before your written test to make sure.
If you are under 18, a parent or guardian needs to sign for you.
Adults over 18 must show proof that they live in the area.
A bank statement or a utility bill in your name can be used as proof of residency.
A vision test is also part of the process for getting a learner’s permit.
To drive a car safely, you must pass a vision test and show that your eyesight is clear, you can tell the difference between colours (which helps you see road signs), and you have good peripheral vision (important in busy traffic situations and at intersections).
For example, to get a learner’s permit in Massachusetts, if you are between 16 and 18 years old, you must take a driver’s ed course and then pass a written test at the DMV.
If you pass the test, you can drive, but you can only do so with a licenced driver over the age of 21 in the car with you.
After six months with a learner’s permit and no moving violations, a new driver can set up a road test to get their full driver’s licence.
In Massachusetts, new drivers over the age of 18 also need a learner’s permit.
They don’t have to take driver’s ed, though, and as soon as they get their learner’s permit, they can schedule a road test to get their driver’s licence.
To get your learner’s permit, you have to pay money.
Find out how much a learner’s permit costs in your state by calling your local DMV.
The Final Steps on the Road To a Driver’s License
Even though it’s scary, a road test is the last step you have to take before you can get your licence.
For a new teen driver, it can take anywhere from a few months to about nine months to get to the road test.
Most adult drivers have reached this point in less than six months.
Important Details About Your Driver’s License Road Test
Again, you should always call your local DMV to find out what you need to do on the day of your road test (also called the practical exam).
Usually, you have to make an appointment with your local DMV to take a road test, and you have to drive a registered and insured car during your road test.
In some states, you need to be driven to your test by a sponsor.
Your sponsor must be at least 21 years old and have had a driver’s licence for more than a year.
Remember that there are also fees to get your driver’s licence. The exam fee is usually between $80 and $100, and if you pass your road test, you will also have to pay a licence fee.
After everything has been said and done, congrats! You have a permit to drive.