New Drivers

So, you’re ready to start driving. Maybe you think so, but are you, really?

  • Do you know Mississippi’s Graduated License Laws?
  • Do you know the Rules of the Road? Have you studied for the exam?
  • Do you have a car, or do you plan to buy one?
  • Do you know what responsibilities you’ll have once you become a licensed driver?
  • Are you ready to be a safe driver?

Getting your driver’s license is the easy part - learn to drive, take the exam. But driving is so much more than just that little plastic card with your picture on it. There’s a ton of responsibility that goes along with driving.

The Driver’s License
Driver’s Licenses are obtained through the MS Department of Public Safety. You can find information about new driver’s licenses, including information about age requirements, testing sites, fees, and a link to download the driver’s license manual can be found on their website.

Driving Safely
Teenagers get a lot of bad press when it comes to their driving behaviors. It’s not that adults like to single teens out. There really is some science that explains adults’ worry and apprehension of teen driving.

The number one reason is inexperience. With anything in life, the more you do something, the better you’ll get at it. New drivers are just that - new. So, of course you’re not going to be as good at it as someone who’s been doing it for ten or twenty years. The trick is admitting this to yourself. Realizing you may not be the best driver on the road, and compensating for that by driving more cautiously, will go a long way toward ridding you of that nasty teen bad-driver stigma.

Here are some great tips for new drivers.

Your Responsibilities
Once you’ve learned the mechanics of driving, you’ve taken and passed the driving exam, and you now have your little plastic ticket to life, you may think it’s time to be set free on society as the world’s next greatest driver. Not so fast. Here are a few things to consider.

What are you going to drive? Do you plan to drive mom or dad’s car, do you already have your own car, or do you plan to buy something? How do you plan to pay for gas and repairs? And what about insurance?

What type of responsibilities do you have to your parents? They are, after all, responsible for you. Your mistakes can become their mistakes and can affect them negatively. If you get a ticket and you’re on their insurance policy, guess whose rates go up? If you get in a crash, whose insurance pays for the repairs? And if you get in more than one wreck, whose insurance could be canceled? If you injure someone and you’re at fault, who might the other person sue for damages? The answer to all of these questions is: mom and dad. Keep an open line of communication with your parents. Be honest with them. Before you even begin driving, sign a Parent-Teen Driving Contract with them, and obey and respect the rules they set forth. They’re not just giving you rules for the fun of it. They’re trying to protect you, and themselves.

As the driver, YOU are responsible for your passengers. It’s your job to make sure your passengers are buckled. It’s your job to make sure they’re not causing you distractions. If someone in your vehicle refuses to follow your driving rules, speak up and ask them to find another ride. If you transport small children, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re in appropriate car seats.

Driving is a privilege and it gives you certain freedoms. But it also gives you quite a bit of responsibility. Educating yourself and then committing yourself to your role as a safe driver can help ensure that you keep your driving privileges for many years to come.