Rockets take on the road

Driving 101

Sophomore+Karly+Reger+holds+her+temporary+permit+in+front+of+the+BMV+January+12.+She+plans+to+take+her+driver%27s+test+in+July.+

photo courtesy of Mike Reger

Sophomore Karly Reger holds her temporary permit in front of the BMV January 12. She plans to take her driver’s test in July.

Jessica Reece, Reporter

As students enter the world of driving, they experience mixed feelings of both nerves and excitement. 

In Ohio, at the age of 15 and a half, a teen is able to obtain his/her temporary permit, and then a license at 16. 

Everyone’s experience and skill sets start out completely different. 

Sophomore Trinity Short said one of the most difficult aspects of starting to drive was learning the roads. “…I have learned that I should have paid attention to the names of roads before I began driving,” she said.

Sophomore Karly Reger obtained her temporary permit back in January.

 “I was definitely more excited than nervous,” she said. “I feel like I caught on very fast and almost everywhere I need to go I offer to drive. Personally I feel like getting your temps is one of the first signs that you are growing up and you have bigger responsibilities to uphold.” 

 Junior Gabe Gill, who started driving in November of 2020, shared advice for other teen drivers: “Be safe and don’t try doing anything stupid to look cool in front of [your] friends,” he said.

Pullquote Photo

Don’t speed. You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”

— Junior Gabe Gill

As students learn the rules of the road they begin to understand the importance of staying safe.

Junior Sydney Grishaber said, “Advice I would give people that just started driving is to never be on your phone. You’re risking your life for a second of answering someone back.”

Short got in her first accident on March 15th on Route 14, four months after obtaining her license. She was distracted by two girls yelling outside her car, when the car in front of her hit the brakes, it was too late. Short managed to slam her brakes, still hitting the car in front her. Everyone was okay, although Short says she has a different outlook now when driving.

Junior Sydney Grishaber takes selfie in front of her white Kia Soul (photo courtesy of Sydney Grishaber)

“Advice I would give to people who are just starting to drive is to pay a lot of attention to cars in front of you,” Short said. “I’ve been in an accident and they happen so fast so you have to be paying attention always.”

SHS students stress the importance of understanding the maneuverability portion of the exam. Maneuverability involves a set of five cones drivers have to navigate their vehicles through. This task is closely related to parallel parking, which used to be on the driver’s license test. 

“The best thing I did to prepare was practice my maneuverability in a parking lot,” Short said. “It definitely helped me pass my test.” 

Grishaber said she prepared for her test “by waking up really early in the morning and driving when there were no cars out. I was really nervous for the maneuverability test.”

Due to the pandemic, the typical process of obtaining a driver’s license has been modified

Short took the test in November just as Gill did.

Sophomore Trinity Short shows off the orange Mitsubishi Eclipse she received for her 16th birthday in August. (photo courtesy of Sean Short)

“Ravenna DMV opened up for exactly one week and I was lucky enough to be able to experience a normal drivers test,” she said. “Even though we had to wear masks, it was much more normal than if I had to do it with my parents.”

Gill had the more abnormal, pandemic-test experience. “My mom was in the car with me while my instructor was outside of the car watching me go through the course,” he recalled.

Since November, the DMV has been using a smaller course for tests that includes three turns, stop signs, a yield sign and maneuverability. DMV officers are no longer in the car grading drivers; instead, they are outside the vehicle while a parent sits in the passenger seat, as in Gill’s test. If the passenger is seen instructing the driver at all, the driver will fail the test.

The Ohio BMV announced that they will revert back to pre-COVID in-car testing on June 1.