It was a little strange writing two print stories, but I feel like I handled it pretty well. I managed my time well enough to get it done, so that was great. The more work I can do, the better.
This story itself was interesting to write just because I didn’t know a ton about the drivers ed/getting your learners/drivers test process so it was good to learn about that.
The longing for the age of 16 and three months, the road before you and the wind in your hair is finally over for sophomore Gabby Delbiondo, junior Jonathan Aigner and sophomore Tristin Shifflet. The three students became eligible to drive without a guardian this past March.
The behind the wheel test required to be eligible for a license lasts over the course of a seven days. The test includes performances of driving in a parking lot, on both city and country roads, on the interstate and parallel parking.
“It was just one big test at the end, the rest of the days we were going over basics and techniques. The test was a course that took out into the county and then cut back into the city where we got on the interstate. It probably took 10 minutes, and even though I was nervous about messing up, the course reflected what we had practiced during the first six days of behind the wheel so it was at least familiar,” Aigner said. “According to Mr. Supko, I ‘passed with flying colors’. My one thing I always had trouble with was constantly checking my mirrors and accelerating at the right time through turns.”
One of the things that troubled both DelBiondo and Shifflet in the course itself was parallel parking.
“Parallel parking was horrible. That was definitely the worst thing but once you get it it’s so easy,” Shifflet said.
Not only did DelBiondo struggle with parallel parking, but also with speed.
“Parallel parking is definitely hard and also trying to keep up to speed, going really fast made me really nervous, but I learned how to do it, especially on [Interstate 81],” DelBiondo said. “In the driving test, driving on 81 helped build a lot of confidence for me driving and also we drove to Broadway and there’s not a lot of traffic on that road so that also really helped.”
The anxiety of the course was quickly diminished for DelBiondo.
“The first day I was really nervous, but after you get really use to it there’s not a lot of pressure when you do [course],” DelBiondo said.
She highly suggests practicing very much before the test, which she did through driving to school along with to and from practices.
“Make sure you get a lot of hours before you go into the test because they know if you don’t drive [beforehand]. It’s really clear to them, and I mean, it’s really not that hard driving so don’t freak out. If you freak out it will be a lot more difficult…Stay in control while you’re driving,” DelBiondo said.
Shifflet did not experience any anxiety in the first place due to her familiarity with the wheel.
“The behind the wheel was natural and I was comfortable with the way I drove so I knew I was going to pass behind the wheel,” Shifflet said.
Aigner describes driving in the same way.
“I feel comfortable driving. When in doubt, I try to just play it safe and wait a few extra seconds to change lanes or try not to pass people,” Aigner said.
He learned safety from his father.
“My dad, being a firefighter and seeing plenty of crashes firsthand, gave me the best piece of advice,” Aigner said. “He said that, even if I have the right of way, slowing down a bit and making sure the other cars are yielding can prevent a potential accident most of the time.”
Shifflet was also frequently guided by her mother.
“My mom helped me the most because if I were to do something wrong, she made sure I knew that I did it wrong. She just pointed it out, every little thing. If I didn’t stop close enough to the white line, she pointed it out,” Shifflet said.
Despite her mother’s pickiness, Shifflet understood the fuss was out of love.
“Just stay calm [when driving] and pay attention to what people tell you because sometimes they’re not trying to criticize you, it’s more like trying to help you,” Shifflet said.
Aigner’s advice is not to wait.
“[Getting your license on time] lets you be more social and make better use of your free time…Don’t put it off…Behind the wheel isn’t as scary as it seems,” Aigner said.