Driver’s License and Learning to Drive for New US Permanent Residents
Why Do You Need a Driver’s License
A driver’s license and the ability to drive in the United States is particularly important for new U.S. permanent residents.
This is even more important if you do not live in a large city. However, if you live in a large city, a driver’s license is not as important.
In small U.S. cities and town’s public transportation is not as prevalent in the United States than in many foreign countries. Because of this, Americans are very dependent on their driver’s licenses and use of personal vehicles.
Many new U.S. permanent residents that do not get a driver’s licence find themselves very dependent on others for transportation. Furthermore, it causes a sense of lack of independence and strife in a relationship.
A driver’s license and personal vehicle in the United States is important to do the following things:
- Transportation to your job.
- Go to the grocery store.
- Appointments doctor, dentist or other health related items.
- Bring children to school or go to school functions. (Many US children go to school on a bus. See our previous post on Understanding the US Educational System.)
- Visit family or friends.
- Dining out at a restaurant.
- Go to the mall shopping.
- Attend religious services.
Without having a driver’s license and personal vehicle, a new U.S. permanent resident feels very isolated even trapped in their home.
How to Get a Driver’s License or Permit for New U.S. Permanent Residents
The residency requirement for obtaining a U.S. driver’s license is different in each state:
- If you are eligible to apply for a driver’s license, you must get a driver’s license from the state where you live.
- Check the requirements and find out how to apply in your state’s department of motor vehicles.
- A U.S. driver’s license allows you to drive anywhere in the U.S. It is your responsibility to know and obey the laws of the state where you are driving.
Requirements to Get a Driver’s License or Permit
The United States does not have one national driver’s license. On the contrary, driver’s licenses are issued in the particular State that you live. Also, every State is its own rules and regulations on obtaining a driver’s license. In addition, every State has its own motor vehicle driving rules and recommendations.
There are 50 States in the United States. Therefore, there are 50 different rules and regulations governing motor vehicles depending on both where you live for the driver’s license and where you are driving for rules of the road. Like above, it is your responsibility to know and obey the rules of each state you are driving in.
Again, check the requirements for your State and find out how to apply in your state’s department of motor vehicles.
Many states have a booklet that helps you study for the exam. Therefore, find any material like this specifically for your state of residency.
Learning to Drive for New U.S. Permanent Residents
If you have driven in your own country before, then learning to drive in the United States is relatively easy. On the contrary, if you have never driven before, then it can be a real challenge.
However, it is a challenge that you should take on and accomplish. Once you get your driver’s licence and learn to drive in the United States things become easier. In fact, you do not have to rely on other people anymore for your transportation. In addition, you have more independence and freedom.
Learning from Your Spouse or Other Family
Teaching someone to drive that has never driven before takes patience, calmness, constructive criticism, and support.
If you do not have these traits, then it it best that you are not the one to teach your new spouse how to drive. As a result, this can cause much strife in your new relationship.
On the other hand, if you have these traits, then teaching your spouse to drive is a good thing.
Firstly, it is best to first teach how the car operates including:
- Adjusting the seat and mirrors
- Explaining the brake and gas pedals
- How the shifter works
- Directional lights
- Windshield wipers
- Other safety and mechanical features
Secondly, start practice driving in a big open space. For this purpose, I like to teach people how to drive in a big open parking lot. For example, an empty school parking lot on a weekend works great. Practice first on using the gas and brake gently and getting the feel of using them. Then slowly practice driving, making turns, stop and go. Bring and use cones if you need to do that.
After mastering the open parking lot, its time to bring your spouse on the streets. For this purpose, it is best to start in a very quiet and not busy residential area. This helps with getting used to start and stops, driving at low speeds, signaling at turns, and turning at low speeds.
After you master the residential streets, start practicing on a town road. This helps the person get used to a little high speeds and steering through curves.
After the Town roads, its time to take your spouse on the divided highway. But before, explain how things work on a divided highway including:
- Merging into the traffic or lane from the entrance ramp.
- Using mirrors
- Keeping right except to pass
- Minimum and maximum speeds
- Exiting on exit ramp.
Finally, it is time to specifically practice what is on your state’s driver’s test. This will help you pass the test and get your driver’s license. Find out from your state using the links above on what is required. These things may include:
- Parallel parking
- Hill Stop
- Turn around
- Other things specifically required for your state’s driver’s test.
Private Driving Lessons
If you do not have the traits to teach your new spouse how to drive, one alternative is doing private driving lessons.
Search the internet for private driving lessons near you. The cost for such services range in the $50 per hour. It usually takes about 15 – 20 hours of driving with a certified instructor before being ready for the driver’s test.
A certified instructor effectively teaches your new spouse how to drive with a lot less strife in your relationship. Most have a car that the ability for the instructor to take control of the car. Therefore, learning to drive is a lot safer. Also, you don’t have to worry about damaging your car.
Plus, certified instructors know what and how to teach effectively. In addition , private instructors know how to teach in order to pass your states driver’s exam.