Sunday, March 4, 2012

Young Drivers in Alaska!

When I was a kid, I remember being in awe that my cousins from Alaska were driving when they were 14 years old. When we moved here I thought of that occasionally, but the reality of it hit recently when my daughter turned 14. Wow! Old enough to drive! This is quite the rite of passage! What driving entails in Alaska is going to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) after your 14th birthday, fill out a form, show them your birth certificate, pass a multiple choice test of 20 questions (allowed to get 4 wrong) and pay $10.

I took Aurora to the DMV right after school last week. After we got there, a boy from her ski team walked in to take his exam, and then a girl from her basketball team walked in also. All were 14 and there to get their learner's permits. It was a sense of camaraderie as the kids waited with bated breath to see if they'd passed the test. A quick vision test, snap their photo and pay the fee, and they walked out legally able to drive!

I could tell Aurora was excited because she didn't want to let go of her license. She carried it with her here and there, and we studied every word and image on it. For 2 years she gets to drive, family only and with a parent, and then when she turns 16 she'll make an appointment for the behind-the-wheel test. I remember all the challenges of squeezing in a semester-long drivers ed class when I was in high school. This seems like underkill rather than overkill.

I'll admit that one bad part of getting a license in the winter is that I don't want to give Aurora much driving time on icy, snowy roads! But she has plenty of time to practice!

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