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By Jana Rhodes / Posted May 1, 2015

Getting a Drivers Permit

So it’s time for your teen to test for his drivers permit. The proud parent in you hopes that he passes the first time; the worried parent in you hopes that he doesn’t pass until he is 30. However, you want to do everything you can to help him. Where do you start?

Check Your State’s Website for Requirements

Laws and requirements for getting a drivers permit vary from state to state. Some allow teens to get a permit at age 14, while others make them wait until they are 16. The Governors Highway Safety Association provides a quick-reference chart that compares these laws by state. You should also visit your state highway safety office and your state government website.

Study for the Test

It wasn’t long ago that the only way to study for a drivers permit was to pick up a book from the DMV and read it page by page. Today there are many fun and interactive ways for your teen to prepare for the test. For example, offers free online practice tests for each state.

As a parent, you can also get involved and help your teen study. The best way to do this is to point out things as you are driving. What does that sign mean? Why did you make that decision? How much space are you leaving between your car and the car in front of you? You may find that your own driving habits improve when you realize that your teen is observing you. You can also review study materials and discuss them over dinner or as you spend time together.

Gather the Correct Documentation

Going to the DMV to take a drivers permit test can often feel like you are closing on a loan. Most states require proof of age, proof of citizenship, proof of state residency, and two different documents that prove identity. Thankfully, some documents cover multiple needs, so you can usually get by with a birth certificate, social security card, and a utility bill.

Your child may have to sign an affidavit acknowledging certain responsibilities. There can be other requirements as well. For example, Tennessee requires proof of school attendance to test for a permit. Your state government website will have a list so that you can arrive prepared.

Getting a drivers permit is just the beginning of this exciting rite of passage for your teen. If you take the time to help him prepare, it can be a memorable experience for both of you.

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