Teens Postpone Earning Driver’s License

Getting a driver’s license is a big deal for high schoolers who choose to work for it. But some of the population has postponed this milestone until a few years after their 16th birthday to obtain a license.

Driving instructor of 42 years, Dale Risker explained some of the reasons why teens of this era wait.

“I would say some are waiting because of financial concerns, buying a car, insurance, gas and general maintenance of the car,” Risker said. “While others just can’t wait, it’s the idea of freedom and that beginning of adulthood.”

I was very scared of the highway and sometimes I am still nervous because not of myself, but the other stupid drivers around me.”

— senior Izzy Christus

Another driving instructor and retired Oak Park driving teacher Tom Stout said, “Yes, I have seen more teens than in the past waiting to get their license after age 16. Many are 18. Usually, 18 to 22 years old is when they might finally get their license.”

Some of those teens who couldn’t wait to get their license include sophomore Gracie Vieth and senior Izzy Christus.

Vieth said, “I was excited, ‘cause I wanted to be able to do stuff and drive places.”

Christus said, “I was super excited to get my license, I couldn’t wait at all.”

Both girls earned their license on their birthday or only a few days after.

“I waited like a couple days, I think I got it the 17th or something, so a couple days after my birthday,” Vieth said about how she got her license only a few months ago.

Christus however, being a senior, “I got my license on my birthday in 2019. It was a good day.”

Christus and Vieth both felt the pressure put on them during the driving test, however both were nervous for different reasons.

“I was very nervous on my test because of the fear of the officers riding in my car mainly. They were the scariest part,” Christus said.

Vieth was nervous because of her skill level.

“I didn’t feel like I was that good at driving.”

Despite their nerves both passed their first time. Nerves are a part of the test; these two drivers weren’t the only ones.

Stout said, “All people that take the driving test are nervous regardless of age. It’s good to see the people that are excited to get their license. The ones that are excited are usually the people that are confident drivers.”

Not only is taking the driving test a bit nerve-racking, but so is taking the permit test.

Freshman Drew Clemens said, “Yeah, I kind of was, I just didn’t want to fail.” He also stated how his parents wanted him to take the test sooner, “they were trying to make me get it earlier, I was trying to wait like a week.”

But Clemens did pass his permit test and started driving.

“I’ve gone on roads, but not highways,” Clemens said.

The nerves of driving don’t go away once someone receives their permit or even license.

“I really know most of everything about road rules, I’m not too confident in actual driving, like switching lanes,” Clemens said.

Christus said, when she first started out three years ago, “I was really nervous to start driving on my own and it was scary, but it got easier over time. I was very scared of the highway and sometimes I am still nervous because not of myself, but the other stupid drivers around me.”

Risker talked about how and what students usually need to work on.

“When taking the driving test, some students have some concerns. They must practice building up their confidence,” Risker said. “Students need to be conscious of details such as: speed, good turns, stop signs and rules of the road.”

A small tip Risker gave was, “if people have had experience with riding a bike, golf cart, or lawn mower, balance and direction will help their skills behind the wheel of a car.”

Stout also shared what students usually need to work on, “it varies with every student.  Usually, it’s speeding or rolling through stop signs.”