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Obtaining my driver’s license was thanks to hard work, lots of practice

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Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 12:00 am

Earning a driving license is one of the most important experiences in someone’s life because it’s a major step towards adulthood. For me, the road to driving was long and hard, but I persevered and passed the driving test on my first try.

A lot of people don’t pass on their first try, so I admit saying that I passed on mine seems arrogant — it gives the impression that I’m bragging. Well, I’m not bragging, I’m recounting my experience, in hopes that someone could learn enough to pass on their first try too.

The road may be long, but you can’t give up — you’ve got to have the drive to succeed, go through with the practice and studying, and seize your driving license.

My driving experience began at age 15, right after my sophomore year, when I took a one-week class in summer at a local driving school to learn the basics. I then took a written test at the DMV for my first provisional permit. But in my junior year, I had little time for driving because of schoolwork and soccer. This scenario repeated itself in my senior year, and I kept putting off driving practice for soccer practice. It wasn’t until I was eighteen that I became serious about getting my license, when I finally got my third provisional permit. I started taking lessons with a driving instructor and practicing with my dad — who would like to thank the drivers of Lodi for their patience with me when I was on the same road as them. I would also like to thank those drivers for putting up with me, because they deserve it for what I’ve done to them. I remember times when I merged into another lane, but found that one car was far too close to me to pull it off, as well as times when I took another car’s turn at an intersection and when I waited so long another car had to take my turn at an intersection.

A cousin from outof state once asked me why kids from California seemed to take longer to get their licenses than kids from other states. One reason I told him was that we have to complete 50 hours of supervised driving. In short, we have to devote a lot of time to practice, and I would recommend that you try to get in as much practice as possible so that you can encounter various driving situations and familiarize yourself intimately with them. For instance, my driving instructor told me I didn’t have to stop while passing somebody, but when I came across a bicyclist whom I needed to pass on my way home once, there was something coming the other way, and so I stopped because I didn’t know what to do.

The day I received my driving license was the best day I’ve ever had. I still remember everything from that day perfectly. Before the driving test began, I had to wait in a long line of cars because there were only two examiners available, and I wish to shout out a commendation to those two examiners for handling over 40 different drivers on their own.

During the test, I noticed two errors that I made, and I thought I wasn’t going to pass. I was certain that my instructor noticed these errors as well. In fact, I later found out she found a third. To my surprise, however, none of my errors were critical, so my efforts were enough to let me pass! When I told people the news of my success, I was surprised that the first question they asked was, “Have your parents let you drive on your own yet?” I am happy to respond the answer is yes — albeit behind a tractor moving under 15 miles an hour.

But, all jokes aside, why did I pass? At first, I thought that it was just a miracle, an overpowering surge of good luck, which helped me succeed. Well, the simple answer is that I took a long time to learn. The whole experience took a lot of work and practice and hours driving around town. I also learned by hearing others share what happened to them while driving — for instance, one friend of mine told me how he failed because he did not go into the area of the bicycle lane which cars could pass into while making a right turn. These lessons gave me the knowledge and practice that I needed in order to pass my driving test and get my license. But now, I realize that passing was really only possible through one thing — my own drive to succeed.

FrankCarlo Mills is an intern at the Lodi News-Sentinel, who lives with his parents, his brother, and more dogs and cats than one can keep their sanity around. He is 19 and is taking an extra fifth post-senior year at Venture Academy high school to gain community service credit. He plans to go to college at CSU Stanislaus.

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