The experience of a young American driver

In the United States, driving is very prevalent because everyone needs a car to get around. In most big cities, like Washington D.C. or Los Angeles, it is almost impossible to get from one part of the city to another without driving; people even have to drive while shopping, as many malls are so big that they have mile-longs parking lots.

Most states have a minimum driving age of sixteen, but there are different stages of learning that teenagers must go through before becoming independent drivers. I personally live in New York, and at the age of sixteen, I was able to pass an online test to get my very first learner’s permit. With this permit, I was only allowed to drive under adult supervision. After driving for more than sixty hours and at least six months, I was able to take a driving test and obtained my junior license, which allows me to drive on my own with at most one other person in the car. However, this license still has restrictions, as I cannot drive before 5:00 am and after 9:00 pm. Finally, people older than eighteen get a stable New York state license and will have full driving privileges.

The speed limits in the US vary depending on the state. Usually, the speed limit is about 30 mph in cities and 60 mph on highways. However, it is common knowledge that only few people do respect the speed limit. It is common to find drivers going over 90 mph on highways, which is quite dangerous.

One very particular aspect about driving in the US that often confuses tourists is that in most cases, people are allowed to turn right on a red light. This is not allowed in most countries, but here in the US, the red light can usually be considered as a stop sign, which allows the driver to right turn before coming to a full stop.

written by Hugo B. – edited by Myia M.