Living in the dull suburbs of Oceanside, New York, getting to any eclectic store or restaurant requires a car or train ride. OHS students are burdened with living in an area where there are only a few ways to resolve this issue. One option is to give in and stay in school all nine periods, eat lunch in school, walk home, and hang out with friends via text message. Another option is to bum rides from students who have cars – but this should only be done rarely if one hopes to keep their friends. However, some students are lucky enough to have the option of driving their own cars.
Cars, as we all know, are expensive. They have a high capital requirement (if buying) and come with maintenance fees, gas costs, and insurance payments. You can either purchase brand new or used, or finance or lease. For parents, the time that their kids begin to drive coincides with another large purchase – college. Because of this, some parents may not be able to afford a car for their kids. If the student still desires to have a car in this type of situation, they must build self-reliance and get a job. Look out for an upcoming article on getting a job in high school.
In addition to the financial requirements of purchasing a car, there are also state driving mandates placed upon students. For young drivers in Nassau County, there are only two license options if they want to drive without a parent in the vehicle. Before one can enjoy driving solo, he/she must obtain a learner’s permit. When a student turns 16 years old, he/she can take the permit test at the DMV. If the student passes, he/she receives the privilege of spending hours driving beside a nervous parent in a Walmart parking lot. After a sufficient amount of time is spent easing his/her parent’s stress with his/her ability to smoothly drive up, down, and around the rows of parking spaces, the student is ready to advance to either driver’s education or private driving lessons and a five-hour pre-licensing course. Both of these education packages lead to different licenses and are usually the same price. With the private lessons and five-hour pre-license course, you are allowed to take your road test at 17, but you will only receive a junior driver’s license (DJ). With a DJ, you may drive in Nassau and Suffolk County between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. without a supervising driver but only to limited locations, including your home, your employment (you must carry appropriate proof of your employment), an approved program for credit in a post-secondary institution, and to an approved driver education course. These restrictions hold true until you turn 18, when the DJ license turns into a full driver’s license. A full driver’s license can be obtained after you take the drivers education course and pass the driving test. Using this method, a full license can be obtained at 17 – this is the way that I would recommend to obtain a license.
When it comes time to choosing which car to buy, there is a variety of vehicles to choose from, including sedans, coupes, SUVs, compact SUVs, trucks, and maybe even a motorcycle if your parents allow it. All of these vehicles are designed for different types of people’s needs, but at the end of the day, they all get you from point A to B, so choose conservatively.