Getting your Driver’s License: First-Hand Account


Saylor Stottlemeyer, Features Editor

During everyone’s time at Durango High School, they reach the age where they can go to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and take a driver’s test. Every experience is different, and their stories are both entertaining and educational.

Maggie Wigton, a former DHS student, took her driver’s exam with the DMV and passed the challenge her first time.

“I made the mistake of putting on my turn signal way too late when making a turn and I also ended up parking REALLY badly,” said Wigton.

She also shared some advice to people that are nervous about taking the test, as driving with an adult is sometimes unnerving.

“I was pretty nervous just because the whole process of driving around while someone judges you is a little nerve-racking but the experience was not nearly as scary as I was expecting it to be,” said Wigton.

Samantha Pastor is a junior at Durango High School, and her experiences with getting her license have not been quite as easy and carefree as others. She has taken the test multiple times, and has not been successful.

“[My mistakes] were small things like my hands were wrong, or I was to close to the car in front when turning. My advice is to practice in lots of different settings like highways, avenues, during traffic times and when there are no cars…don’t be nervous if you fail you can learn from your mistakes and try again,” said Pastor.

DMV representative Sarah Werner explains the typical mistakes made by students, and advice for students coming in for the test.

“Honestly the biggest mistake students make is not having all of the forms, but otherwise they are typically more prepared than adults. Don’t be nervous! As long as you complete your driver’s log and drive a lot with your parents, you should do fine on the test,” said Werner.

Another option that is available in Durango is the Four Corners Safety Association, lead by Tim Cunningham, who elaborates on the importance of having a license, and how his company is an option for student and members of the Durango Community. If students want their license when they turn 16, it is necessary to drive with Cunningham when they have their restricted licence, or permit.

“Getting a permit/license and holding that permit/license is a privilege and big responsibility and the maturity level of the teen is not at the level of an adult.  I enjoy what I do when it comes to teaching and driving with teens. I make it my goal to give students the knowledge and skills so they can be a safe, legal and responsible driver,” said Cunningham.

Passing is not an 100 percent guarantee, and even the best of Durango went through the same struggle as students do today. Dale Garland, the Dean of Students at Durango High School stressed to students advice about going through the process.

“Don’t crash. Seriously, drive like you’re driving with your parent and relax,” said Garland.

For many people, wading through the bureaucracy of the DMV is a also major struggle, as it causes massive wait times and crowded areas.