The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

Steering Towards Independence

The New Rites of Passage for Young Drivers

As the 16th birthday approaches, passing the permit test is an exhilarating event.  Teens often anticipate the day they can leave the passenger seat and take control of the wheel. 

Becoming an independent driver unlocks a new rite of passage symbolizing newfound freedom and responsibilities. It marks a milestone in the journey transitioning from relying on others for transportation to having the ability to explore the world on one’s own time. 

As a new driver, one learns many valuable skills of gaining confidence, embracing independence, and proving maturity. This rite of passage is not just about driving a car independently, but taking on the responsibilities of ensuring the safety of oneself and others on the road.

The journey provides self-discovery, growth, and new opportunities to open up a world of new possibilities. 

In preparation for the permit test, teens become familiar with traffic laws, road signs, and safe driving practices. All of which can be studied from the Pennsylvania state driver’s manual. Additionally, the PennDOT app provides a visual representation guiding users through real-life scenarios and questions.

Six months after passing the permit test, with 65 practice hours complete, the driving test comes next. This test ensures the driver can check basic vehicle controls, parallel park, and on-road drive. 

Mr. Duda, a driving instructor, shared insight on his experiences being behind the wheel with young drivers. “I feel anxiety and trepidation with inexperienced drivers but the driver-ed cars have breaks for the front passenger that I sometimes have to use,” he said.

Driving instructors provide five hours of instructor time plus however long the test takes. Mr. Duda emphasized, “We really try to prepare students for the test.”

New drivers often experience many different emotions of excitement and nervousness as they navigate the roads for the first time. The ability to travel independently empowers young drivers and allows them to take control of their own schedules and social life. 

Sophomore, Julia Macey has accomplished all requirements and has recently started her new chapter of driving. She completed her driver’s education with Mr. McCombie for three weeks gaining helpful tips and tricks to be the most successful driver possible. 

“I’m so glad to now have my license and drive independently because it gives me much more freedom than before!” Julia enjoys how she can listen to her own favorite music without having to listen to it through her Airpods. 

Julia likes the ability to expand social circles and strengthen connections with friends. Driving lets teens easily choose what events, gatherings, and activities to attend. Never again parents or siblings or grandparents or family or friends will be inconvenienced when their teen is running late to be picked up. When teens are waiting on a ride, they won’t feel forgotten about or a nuisance now that they can drive themselves. “I love the freedom. Having my license allows my friends and me to go shopping when we want or just want to browse. It’s nice because if I’m in the mood to go somewhere, I can just take myself instead of always needing a ride,” said Julia. 

Having the ability to drive independently opens the doors to employment opportunities. Not only does a job provide extra spending money, but it also allows an important life skill of managing time, responsibility, and social connections that will help prepare for the future. When summertime comes, Julia will be driving to and from her summer job at The Meadows in Latrobe. Julia said, “Since my brother is in college, I’ve been borrowing his car. I’m saving up my money to be able to hopefully purchase my own car in the future. For right now, I’m grateful that borrowing his car is an option!” 

In addition to being able to work, the independence of driving can allow for participation in various extracurriculars, sports, and volunteer activities. Julia is a member of field hockey and softball and shared, “For sports, it’s so much easier to get to practice when I want and leave when I want. Sometimes after a game, we go out to eat and I know that I can definitely attend because I can get myself there instead of relying on someone else,” said Julia.

Julia is thankful to be able to drive home rather than take the bus. She can get to and from school in half the time it takes her to ride the bus. From Mt. View area to school on a bus, she rode for 30 minutes. Now she can get to school in less than 15 minutes!

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About the Contributor
Chloe Hill
Chloe Hill, Staff Writer
Chloe Hill is a junior at Greater Latrobe High School. This is her first year as a staff member for The High Post. One of her absolute favorite things in the world is music. You can typically find her with her AirPods in, listening to her favorite bands. If Chloe is not answering your texts, more than likely she is at a concert. Her dream is to travel the world to visit cool, new venues, and attend music festivals. Speaking of travel, Chloe loves to explore new places. Whether it’s a family vacation, a road trip to a concert, or a spontaneous adventure with friends, she’s always up for the adventure. So far, her favorite destination has to be the breathtaking national parks that nature has to offer. Hiking through the Smokey Mountains to take in the natural beauty was her favorite national park so far. Chloe is lucky to have so many amazing memories from her travels. Of course, Chloe wouldn’t be who she is without her friends and family. A lot of her time is spent babysitting her younger cousins and taking them on fun adventures during the summer. She enjoys being a role model that they look up to and adore. She and her friends always find fun little things to do on weekends to have fun and just live life. In school, Chloe is an involved member of Mu Alpha Theta, Link Crew, Interact Club, Key Club, and Environmental Club. She likes to keep herself busy by staying involved and participating in volunteer events. Additionally, she preserves life memories by taking pictures of anything and everything. Most of her phone storage is filled with pictures. She is always smiling, spreading laughter and happiness to others. A goal she sets for herself is to spread happiness and make sure others are happy. She also enjoys working at The Meadows Frozen Custard making orders and making people happy when she serves them. Chloe is excited to be part of the Latrobe High Post staff this year writing articles and taking pictures!

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