Getting your driver's license is an essential part of moving to a new country as it gives you the ability to get around when you absolutely need it in a pinch (even in big cities). In many states across the United States though, it's a laborious project for those who have moved from overseas, but I'm here to help. Part 2: The 5-hour Pre-licensing Course.
This guide is really only helpful if you've got your learner's permit (you need that first). So to find out how to do that, then you should read this first (and you should get onto it really quickly.
Traditionally, as part of getting a license (whether you've just turned 16 or you've moved here from another country, you have to follow the following steps:
- Get Learner's Permit;
- Sit through a 5-hour pre-licensing course (this article);
- (Optional) Have a practice/lesson with an instructor;
- Sit a practical driving test.
Now the first step is always at the DMV and that hasn't changed (it's just become a little more difficult in COVID times and you must now book an appointment).
But the second step which traditionally required you to sit in a room somewhere and watch 5 hours of old videos and listen to an instructor talking through why you shouldn't drink and drive, sleep and drive, drug and drive, or really anything other than DRIVE and DRIVE (which is very important by the way) has completely changed.
Well, no… It's exactly the same BUT IT'S NOW AVAILABLE ON ZOOM!
Why is this significant?
I don't think you'll find many people who have had to do this 5-hour pre-licensing course who would say: “It was a thrilling adventure of a day and I can't wait to do it again”.
It's essential. The information they present is important and valuable. But it's tremendously boring for 5-hours.
How to get a Zoom appointment for the 5-hour pre-licensing course
This offer is only available for a very limited amount of time so you need to jump on it right now.
It took the DMV months to finally allow for companies to do this and they are now booking up fast because everyone is jumping on this opportunity to get the course out of the way while sitting in the comfort of your home office.
The company that I used this last week was Drive Rite (thanks to Nakia for recommending them).
You can book the 5-hour pre-licensing course online and it will set you up with everything you need to connect to the Zoom and get the permit mailed to you once you pass (or you can go in and get it).
Drive Rite also offers packages that are worth checking out because they do allow you to do this course, then borrow a car, and take the test with it, as well as practice programs that are pretty good value from my initial research. It can be better valued if you bundle it all up!
An important thing to note
When you do this online course, it might seem like it would be easy to connect to the Zoom then go off for 5-hours and come back at the end.
There is a live instructor, they ask questions, and you have to be seen in the frame watching at (nearly) all times. This is me!
They make it very clear throughout that if you turn off your camera, or fail to answer the questions they sporadically drop throughout the course: You won't pass and you will have to do it again.
What's next for me? Well, a practice, then the practical test/exam.
Safe to say, I'm looking forward to practicing some reverse parallels first!