How Does CA Driver’s Ed Differ from Other States?
The best way to understand how California driver’s education is different is to understand what the rules are. While the basic rules of driving are still about the same wherever you go, every state has their own laws when it comes to driving. Learn more about how California has its own expectations of you as a new driver.
The Basics of Driver’s Education
California Driver’s Ed focuses on the laws of California only. Mostly because it’s just too time-consuming to go into the details of the rest of them. For example, you can make a right on red if there’s no posted sign in all states — unless you’re in NYC of course. But why would California bother to teach about this particular law that’s only relevant to people on the other side of the country? Sure, you might drive there one day, but going into all the possible scenarios would make Driver’s Ed last until you’re about 60. Also, the odds you’d ever even be able to turn right on red in a city that doesn’t sleep is rather unlikely anyway. So that’s one difference right there. You’re learning about California, and less so about the quirks of the other states.
You must be at least 15.5 years old to get a provisional permit. Before you even get it, you need to attend state-approved courses and take a written test as well. If you lived in Alaska though, you could be behind the wheel when you’re 14 years old — legally! We know, it shocked us too. (Granted, Alaskan kids can’t drive their friends around that young, but they’re that much more prepared once they do get a regular license a little older.)
California also allows those between the ages of 17.5 and 18 the opportunity to get a permit without holding a training/education certificate, though holders, in this case, have to wait until their 18 to take the official driving test. Finding out just how bad L.A. traffic is worth the wait. It’s also worth noting that their insurance rates may be higher too if they haven’t taken the classes. CA Teen Ed covers not just the basic rules of signage and lane switching, but also gives smart tips and tricks about how to handle everything from unexpected construction detours to road rage. You will need these tips from driver’s education if you’re planning to drive in this heavily populated state too.
What Does It All Look Like?
You’ll need 25 hours of classroom instruction, and 6 full hours of instruction behind the wheel if you decide to get your permit between the ages of 15.5 and 17.5. You’ll also need 50 additional hours of supervised driving that can be completed at your leisure. Perhaps one of the biggest differences with California Driver’s Ed as opposed to other states is that your driving test will not include parallel parking or maneuverability. You’ll be expected to handle the car going forwards and backward on side streets and possibly the highway, but you’ll skip a somewhat difficult portion that other states require.
Each state has their own reasons for why they require something and why they don’t. Each box you must check off was done for a reason, and it’s all designed to make you safer and more comfortable when you’re on the road. No matter how you feel when you first start driving — whether you’re excited or absolutely terrified — it’s necessary to have this type of formal education to really cement the rules to you. Often, you don’t even realize just how helpful it is until one day, it all clicks.