Everything to know about the Driving test

Tori Motloch, Reporter

Keys to success are in one’s hands.

Many students drive to school, and as the school year goes on, more are getting licenses. Even if one never drives to school, in this day and age it’s almost required to get a driver’s license.  So here are some quick tips and an overview of the tests and hoops needed to jump through to get that freedom of being able to go wherever one wants, when they want. All this information is based on Michigan’s driving laws, which can be viewed on Secretary of State website.*

First off, where to go? There are a couple of driving schools in Utica. There is Courtesy Driving School, located at 54901 Mound Road,Shelby Township, MI  48316 and Solomon Driving School at 52126 Van Dyke Ave, Shelby Charter Township, MI 48316.

To get the license there are 2 segments and the road driving test one must pass. One can take segment I early as 14 years and 8-9 months old. It’s suggested on the first day of segment I to bring  a photocopy of their birth certificate, Segment I Permission Slip, payment for the class (payment is usually around $200 or more, cash and checks are usually acceptable), notebook, and a pen or pencil.

This segment focuses on the basics, like turns and signs, as well as the first experience behind the wheel with the driving school’s car and instructor. It consists of a total of 24 hours in class, 6 on the road. Plus, some schools might require observation hours, usually around 4. Segment one lasts around 2 – 3 weeks and at the end one takes a standardized test that can only be passed with a C or higher.

After this one can get their level 1 driver’s license after they have visited the secretary of state (there is an office on Schoenherr and 23 Mile). This allows the person to be allowed to drive with any adult that is 21 years old and has a driver’s license.

Segment II is easier in the hours spent in class, only around 6, focusing on defensive driving skills. However, in order to even start segment II, at least 30 hours behind the wheel hours needs to be completed (need to have in total 50 hours including 10 hours at night to take the on the road test). It also has to be at least about 3 months after one has taken segment I. Many schools don’t care where previously one has taken segment I. This segment costs around $50. George Paul, a 16-year-old sophomore, who wants to get his driver’s licenses, has completed both segments describes that “a lot of the time spent in segment II and maybe a little in segment I was spent memorizing random statistics about driving and although that might help some people understand the danger of driving, I personally, it didn’t help because I know that statistics are flawed and can be used to persuade people in bad ways” It’s important to keep the subject of memorize statistics in mind, because weather its easy for one to memorize facts or not, one must in order to pass these test. The good news is that many of the answers are not only based statistics but also can be figured out using some form of logic, if its hard to memorize.

After this, one must wait around 6 months till they can take the on the road test. This is the traditional test when people think of getting a driver’s licenses, being on the road with a grader. This time one must bring their own car and an adult. Then the grader will take the student through parking course. George Paul mentions how this is most important part to practice out of all the skills to know. Malaena Caldwell, a junior and a new driver, took this test 2 times; passing the 2nd time. She talked about how the hardest thing wasn’t the on road but the parking; “Parking I feel like is the hardest because you’re always driving and parents never really think about it… they think oh they’ll get it”. Along with this she finds that the next difficult thing is Michigan lefts, as driving schools never really explained them; “Michigan lefts were something that was new…they didn’t tell us anything about Michigan lefts.”

This road test is graded by how many points one gets, and is the finally obstacle in getting a driver’s license, the point system is more detailed in the booklet they will give at segment I.

After one passes this, they only need to wait till they are 16, or if one is already, then they need to go to the secretary of state office and repeat the steps for getting level 1 license.

But what if someone is already 18 and wants to get their license? Well, they aren’t required to do any classes, although many schools offer them for 18 and over. They need to go to the Secretary of State’s office and complete a written knowledge test. One can go to Michigan.gov and they will have all the information one will need to pass the test.

After that the next step is to bring a valid social security number or letter of ineligibility, U.S. citizenship or legal presence if not a U.S. citizen, some form to prove one’s identity and Michigan residency.

Then pass a vision and road signs and written knowledge test. Only then will the state give a TIP, standing for temporary instruction permit which allows anyone older than 18 to drive for up to 180 days. 30 days after one gets their TIP one can schedule the roads test, and if passed then go to the secretary of state where they will give one their driver’s license.

Keep in mind only get a TIP if one is 18 and older and never had a licenses before, or have an expired foreign driver’s license, or have a driver’s license that has been expired for more than 4 years.

Driver’s instructors don’t have to do much, however they must be/have:

  • 21 or older
  • a high school diploma or something equivalent
  • pass the vision test
  • Physical examination
  • Background check (in-depth and criminal history)
  • Driving record (excessive traffic offenses can disqualify you)
  • Classes (depend on your state, but usually involve classwork and driving course work)

That’s it. Now, just drive safe and enjoy the freedom of being able to go where one wants to, when one wants to go-this includes  the now responsibility of getting groceries! Safe travels!

*Please remember this is a short version of all the legalities in getting a driver’s license and only applies to Michigan as of January 2017.