- Location: Washington
Drivers Ed in Washington
Wouldn't it be nice if you could just jump behind the wheel and tear off into the sunset, automatically knowing everything you need to know to drive safely? Sadly, this is just a fantasy. Even the most trained and knowledgeable drivers can end up in a fatal accident―but you can reduce the chances of that happening by mastering the skill of driving before you load up your friends and hit the road.
Washington is one of many states that have adopted stricter laws for beginning drivers, and with good reason. Since these laws have been in effect, the incidence of teen fatalities in car accidents has gone down.
As part of the special training requirements for teen drivers, the Washington Department of Licensing issues intermediate licenses so that young motorists can gain driving experience without risking the more dangerous driving conditions like night driving or handling a car full of distracting passengers.
Washington requires driver's license applicants to complete a state-approved driver training school program. You can enroll in this program as young as 15 years old, but you'll need to have a learner's permit before you can take part in the behind-the-wheel instruction phase of the program. You can get a learner's permit before the age of 15 1/2 if you show proof of enrollment in a driver training course.
There are driving schools available that will teach anyone the skills he or she needs to keep from becoming a statistic. Washington has requirements for these schools to have in place so you get the knowledge and skills you need to keep Washington highways as safe as can be. Some of these courses are taught privately, and some are taught at local high schools.
The state mandates a minimum of 30 hours in the classroom, 6 hours of driving practice, and 1 hour of driving observation. Among other topics, teens enrolled in these courses will study:
- Driver preparation
- Basic vehicle control
- Traffic information
- Vehicle characteristics
- Roadways and traffic
- Factors that influence driver performance
- Environmental factors
- How to handle crashes and vehicle malfunctions
- Driver responsibilities
You can get a lot of the know-how you need from the Washington Driver Guide, which will cover things like vision and medical requirements, what to expect during the dreaded driving test, and rules of the road. The biggest piece of advice we can give is to keep calm and pay attention to what the instructor wants you to do without trying to impress him or her with your inherent driving skills.
It's only natural to think you're the best driver out there, but none of that counts for anything if you can't react skillfully and quickly in an emergency. Once you get all the basic stuff down, like traffic signals, street signs, and how to parallel park, you'll be better equipped to handle unexpected obstacles or hazards without overreacting.
During the drive test, you'll be graded on things like:
Local Drivers Education
- Obeying traffic signs and signals
- Obeying the speed limit (this is tough, but we know you can do it)
- Handling unforeseen hazards
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