Driver's License and Testing Blog
Read articles from experienced drivers about proper driving procedures and techniques, the rules of the road, insights into testing methods, and tips on how to get your license in no time.
PA DMV Parallel Parking Test Rules
Parallel parking is a requirement to pass the driver’s test. Having a reputation for being one of the most intimidating parts of getting your license, we’d like to help you get comfortable and confident with it. With the right information and training, there’s no need to be anxious!
Knowing what to expect during the PA DMV parallel parking portion of the road test will help you feel prepared and confident on test day. At Driven2Drive, we offer convenient and stress-free license exams at our six third-party testing centers located throughout Greater Philadelphia. Read on to learn more about what’s required to get top marks for your parallel parking when taking our PennDOT-certified exam.
PA DMV Parallel Parking Test Rules
To earn a non-commercial driver’s license in PA, you’ll need to show that you’ve mastered the art of parallel parking safely and successfully. Here are a few key things to know about what the PA DMV parallel parking test involves.
You’ll be tasked with parking in a space that’s eight feet wide by 24 feet long, marked by obstacles such as traffic cones.
If there is a curb, you must park as close to it as possible, but no more than 12 inches away. If it has no curb, you must pull as far off of the roadway as possible.
You may make up to 3 adjustments as you park in the designated spot, but you only have 1 attempt.
To pass, you must not make contact with any obstacles, drive up onto the curb, or cross over the line indicating the edge of the parking area.
Tips on How to Pass the Parallel Parking Test in PA - Space Size, Technique, and More
Stop parallel to the vehicle at the front of the gap, two feet away. Your rear wheel should be in line with that car’s rear bumper.
Indicate and check your mirrors and front windshield for cars, people, or poles.
Assuming you are parking on the right-hand side of the road, turn the steering wheel sharply to the right and reverse slowly.
As your front door passes the back bumper ahead, quickly straighten the wheels and continue to reverse in a straight direction.
When clear of the vehicle ahead, turn the wheel sharply to the left and reverse slowly towards the car behind you.
Turn your wheels sharply to the right and pull toward the center of the parking space.
Parking Aids You Can Use When Parallel Parking
There are several incredibly useful aids for parallel parking. Some of these are tools that can be bought - such as a backup camera, rear-view camera, adjusting mirrors, parking sensors, or self-parking feature. However, remember that these systems are designed to aid the driver - they are not replacements, and your attention and judgment will still be needed to park safely. You are still responsible.
Where Is It Not Allowed to Parallel Park?
Within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, unless a licensed driver remains in the vehicle to move it in an emergency.On the roadside of a parked vehicle ("double parking").On a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.In an intersection, unless permitted by signs or a parking meter.On railroad tracks.Within 50 feet of a railroad crossing.Next to or opposite road constructions or other obstructions if your vehicle blocks traffic.Within 30 feet of a pedestrian safety area, unless another distance is marked.On a bridge or in a tunnel.In front of a driveway.Within 20 feet of a crosswalk at an intersection.Within 30 feet of a traffic light, STOP sign, or YIELD sign.Within 20 feet of a fire station driveway, or within 75 feet on the opposite side of the road.Along a curb that is cut, lowered, or made for access to the sidewalk.
Can You Fail Parallel Parking and Still Pass the Test?
If you touch the curb but don't roll over it, you should be fine. You might get some points taken off for not parallel parking correctly or for hitting the curb too forcefully, but if you don't roll over it then you should be fine.
Becoming a Parallel Parking Pro
Driven2Drive is here to help! Our accredited instructors offer a variety of packages to help you hone your skills. Contact us here or call us on 610-664-7400!
Parent Praise for Our Student-Centered Driving Lessons and Testing Services
Everyone was so nice and easy to work with. Ed was an excellent instructor. He gave my daughter the confidence she needed to pass. She said she just slid into the spot on test day. We’ll definitely be back with our next child. (Jennifer M)
Driving practiceBe a Confident First-Time Driver With These 6 Expert TipsDriving alone for the first time is difficult and can be taxing on your confidence. Getting out in your car alone is part of building your competence as a newly licensed driver. Repeating a few more simple driving lessons may be helpful in overcoming driving anxiety.
Fear of driving alone, also called autophobia, stems from feeling unconfident, or perhaps being afraid of other fast-moving vehicles going by. It may feel scary to be controlling your vehicle on your own for the first time on the open road, but if you apply the practical tips for new drivers described here, you will gradually manage it better. Eventually, you'll find yourself driving safely automatically, responding well to the road and the environment.
Tip 1: Take a Defensive Driving Course
First, you could brush up on your basic driving skills by attending a defensive driving course.
Using defensive driving techniques will make you a smarter driver in dangerous situations caused by other drivers, or by hazards on the road, like rocks falling from an embankment. You will learn to control your speed and keep a safe following distance.
Tip 2: Confront Your Fear and Ask For Help
Deal with your anxiety by recognizing what you're experiencing and asking for help from other experienced drivers or supportive friends who can check on your safe arrival after a drive. Set small manageable goals for yourself each week, starting with driving practice in areas you know well. You could tackle shorter distances and drive on quieter roads, to give yourself the opportunity to have an uneventful drive on your own, to generate a feeling of success. Build up positive experiences of driving alone, then try a new goal of driving alone in a different neighborhood, or in a shopping district where there's some traffic.
Tip 3: Stick to Daytime Driving at First
Night-time driving is a challenge because it's hard to see other vehicles in the dark and to judge their speed and distance. Even experienced drivers are stressed by driving in the dark. In bad weather conditions where visibility is poor, like driving in snow or in the rain, it might also be difficult to hold the car on the road or judge what speed is safest.
As a new driver, try to limit these experiences until you are generally more confident behind the wheel. Driving in hot weather can also cut your concentration; make an effort to keep yourself cool, by using the air-conditioning or opening the windows and occasionally stopping to drink water.
Tip 4: After an Accident, Get Back to Driving
Any accident is traumatic and takes time to recover from. But don't stop driving; get back behind the wheel as soon as you can. Your confidence will return, and your driving skills will continue to build up.
Tip 5: Adapt Your Behavior to Cope With Fear of Highways
Driving on a highway may be very overstimulating with cars rushing by at high speed, and having to notice signs for off-ramps and detours that can lead to distracted driving. Practice driving on minor highways or in country areas that are less busy before you venture onto busy highways.
Tip 6: Calm Yourself With Relaxing Music
Music while driving can help soothe and relax you. It's important to keep the volume low to avoid blocking out sounds of other cars on the road, or sounds of traffic slowing and accelerating. These are important auditory clues that help you orient to the other cars around you and the flow of traffic. If you are highly stressed at work, getting into a car and driving simply transfers the stress to your driving behavior. It's better, and safer, to de-stress with a bit of quiet music.
How Long Does It Take To Gain Confidence When Driving by Yourself?
It's going to take about six months of regular driving by yourself, to establish confidence in your driving skills and your ability to drive in any setting, in the dark, in the rain, or on a busy highway. By gradually exposing yourself to new driving areas and new contexts for driving, you can steadily increase your own skills. Use the practical tips to help yourself develop into a skillful and confident driver. Driving practiceDriving With Migraines—Safety, Risks, and Best Home TreatmentsMigraines are not, as some people believe, simply extreme headaches. While pain in the head—usually on one side—is a large part of the problem, a migraine is often accompanied by several other symptoms. The throbbing pain can extend to the whole head, and sometimes even to the neck and face. Additional symptoms include:
NauseaVomitingTinglingNumbnessSensitivity to sound and lightBrain fogDifficulty speaking
Continue reading to learn about the different types of migraines and their implications on driving safety.
Types of Migraines
Migraines can be episodic (occurring in episodes, usually brought on by a trigger such as a certain food, smell, stress, etc.) or chronic (taking place regularly).
Migraines can also be classified into three groups:
Migraine without aura
As described above.Migraine with aura
As described above, with a visual or sensory disruption that often precedes the pain attack. The aura may include floating spots, colored lights, blind spots, zig-zagging lines, shimmering lights or stars, or other visual disturbances in both eyes.Ocular or retinal migraine
As described above, plus visual disturbances and potential temporary blindness in one eye. If untreated, there may be some permanent vision damage.
Can the Act of Driving Trigger a Migraine?
While it's not common for driving itself to trigger a migraine, certain stimuli that accompany the act of driving can bring one on, including the following:
Bright lightsLoud soundsStressful situations like aggressive drivers and road rageTension in the back or neck
Additionally, some drivers (or passengers) experience migraines as a symptom of motion sickness.
Is It Safe to Drive With a Migraine?
Ocular migraines, which may include blindness in one eye, create a very dangerous condition in which to drive.
The symptoms that accompany other types of migraines are very distracting for a driver, too. Someone experiencing pain, nausea, and brain fog should not be driving as focus and response time will be impaired, thus creating a dangerous situation for the driver, passengers, and others on the road due to increased risk of distracted driving.
How to Prevent Migraines While Driving
People who suffer from migraines can tell you that there are certain things you can do to help prevent them, but that they are often beyond your control. Lifestyle habits such as the following can go some way in prevention:
Find out what your triggers are, and try to avoid themGet plenty of sleep and rest Follow a healthy diet Avoid stress and anxiety while drivingAvoid smokingLimit caffeine intakeGet regular exercise, but don't overdo itBe aware of, or avoid, bright lights and harsh sounds Don't change temperature environments suddenlyRemember to take your medication on time
Are You Allowed to Drive With a Migraine?
Yes, it is legal in all states. However, if you have another medical condition such as insulin-dependent diabetes or seizures from epilepsy (both of which are sometimes accompanied by a predisposition to migraines), this may not be the case. You will need to consult your doctor, who will determine the severity of your case and write a report for the DMV, allowing all driving, driving with certain restrictions, or no driving.
What to Do When a Migraine Occurs While Driving
Unfortunately, it is difficult to stop a migraine in its tracks. You may be able to get away from a specific bright light, sound, or other stimuli, which may help to ease it off before it begins properly. Otherwise, when you feel a migraine coming on while driving, you should pull over and take some medication before arranging for a friend or loved one to meet you and drive you home. It's also important to keep using defensive driving techniques while you are still operating your vehicle and while you get off the road. This is especially vital if you're also stuck in a potentially dangerous environment such as bad weather (our expert tips for driving in the rain should help here). Remember, medication also impairs concentration and driving ability. Stay safe!
If you're new to the road, make sure to take a look at our round-up of tips for new drivers, and register for simple driving lessons with one of our patient, knowledgeable instructors. Driver's license6 Common Mistakes New Drivers Make & How to Avoid ThemIt's completely normal to make the odd mistake as a new driver as you get used to being on the roads for longer stretches and in different situations. However, we can help you get these incidents down to a minimal number. By simply being aware of which mistakes newly licensed drivers usually make, you can be more prepared to anticipate and avoid them. Remember, it does take some time to learn to drive—make sure to allow yourself plenty of patience and practice, as this will also help to relieve any driving anxiety.
Before you begin, make sure that you are aware of the PA permit rules, which differ depending on your age and the license you have. That being said, here are the 6 most common mistakes new drivers make and how to avoid them.
1. Driving Too Fast or Too Slow
Some new drivers are over-confident, feeling that now that they know the rules, they can release their "natural driver" and have fun with the speed of the car. This is incredibly dangerous.
Additionally, very anxious new drivers tend to drive too slow, which can also be extremely dangerous. For example, driving too slowly through an intersection or on a highway where speed is expected may cause accidents.
How to Avoid This Mistake
Be mindful of the unique situation (e.g., where you are driving and what that situation requires in terms of speed). Keep up with the flow of traffic.
2. Not Looking at the Bigger Picture
When you've only been driving in a controlled environment like the parking lot or slowly with an instructor on quiet roads, you're not used to the distractions and constant impacts of the "real world". From reckless pedestrians to wild drivers to flying debris, many things will enter the wider environment around you, which has knock-on effects in traffic and requires you to adjust your driving in the spur of the moment.
How to Avoid This Mistake
Make sure you're alert and focused before you get into the car. Be aware of things on the periphery and use defensive driving techniques.
3. Adopting Your Parents' Bad Habits
Remember, just because your dad often forgets to put on his seatbelt, doesn't make it safe or ok! It's human nature to pick up habits from the other members of our "tribe,"—so watch out for this.
How to Avoid This Mistake
Remind yourself as much as possible of what your instructor taught you! We tend to forget the rules as we get older, but that doesn't make it okay.
4. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a common occurrence for over-confident new drivers who may feel they are "naturals" and, therefore, don't need to pay as much attention to the road as others. Texting, talking to passengers, or playing car DJ are some of the most common slip-ups. Remember, you can be the best driver in the world, and drivers, children, and other "surprise" elements beyond your control can still appear at any minute to create dangerous situations that require fast reaction time.
How to Avoid This Mistake
Plan better so that you don't need to text, such as putting your phone on silent while you drive.
5. Parking Badly
Many new drivers find parking maneuvers such as reverse parking and three-point turns the hardest part of getting licensed. This comes as no surprise, as they take significant understanding, focus, and plenty of practice to master. There's still a lack of confidence on the driver's part, and they are now having to perform in a much more volatile environment than the practice yard, creating a higher chance of an accident.
How to Avoid This Mistake
Continue to practice these moves in quieter areas and parking lots for as long as you like. On the roads, before you begin a move, take some deep breaths and try to relax and focus. Make sure that you have no distractions within your control.
6. Forgetting Checks and Adjustments on Your Vehicle
It's vital that your car is in good roadworthy order and that you regularly check things like tire pressure, oil, and water. Forgetting to do so can result in some very serious accidents. Adjustments of mirrors, seats, etc. are also important in accident prevention.
How to Avoid This Mistake
Build your vehicle checks into your routine, such as every time you do grocery shopping. Put a post-it note on your dashboard to remind you to adjust your seat and mirrors before you take off until it becomes a habit.
Did you find this helpful? Let us know. Make sure to take a look at our round-up of tips for new drivers, too.
Book your professional driving lesson now! Driver's licenseBeginner's Guide to Renewing Your PA Driver’s PermitYour driving license is valid for four years, expiring the day after your birthday. If you're 65 or above, you may need to renew it every two years. PennDOT sends out a warning letter to drivers three months before license expiration.
You must renew your PA Driver's Permit before it expires to avoid fines (usually around $200). Remember, if you have committed other offenses, your license may be suspended or revoked.
Renewing Your PA Driver's Permit Before The Expiration Date
Important to note: Introduction of the REAL ID
A REAL ID is optional for Pennsylvania residents - you can get a REAL ID driver’s license/identification card, or a standard driver’s license or identification card. However, it may end up being more convenient as it has numerous uses.
"Beginning May 3, 2023, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant license/identification card or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to:
Board domestic commercial flights.Enter a military base.Enter a federal facility that requires ID at the door". (PennDOT DMV)
Announced by the DMV in May 2020, the REAL ID may assist you in avoiding some queueing in person.
Existing photos can be used for all renewals, meaning drivers can do more online or via mail and avoid a trip to the DMV. This is only applicable to those who renewed their licenses on or before May 10, including non-citizens.
You may renew your PA Driver's Permit in person at PennDOT, via mail, or online. However, if you want to renew online, there are some caveats:
Only non-commercial vehicle licenses are permitted to apply for online renewals.There must be no changes to your license (a change of address will be accepted).You may not have any outstanding sanctions in any other states (see more on this in the National Driver Register Fact Sheet). Your photo must be up to date.You have a valid debit or credit card. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are the only forms of credit or debit cards accepted online. If you qualify to renew online, you will validate your information and pay the required license fees (see the bottom of this article for fees breakdown). You will receive your new license in about two weeks via mail.
You will need:
Your driver’s license numberA printer for your temporary licensePayment for the renewal feesYour date of birth and Social Security number
Renew online here (REAL ID) and here (Online renewal).
Renewing In Person
Download and complete a Form DL-143Find a DMV center near you, and take your completed, printed forms with you. Check what forms of payment the relevant center will accept, and prepare this (some only take checks and money orders made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania).Bring your accurate, acceptable ID*Pass a vision test.Pay the required fees (which will differ depending on which license you are renewing).Receive a paper receipt that will act as a temporary license.
*Acceptable ID / Acceptable forms of signature identification at the DMV include:
Pennsylvania Driver's License or Photo ID CardDocuments such as a Passport, Citizenship, Naturalization, or Weapons PermitA photographic ID such as Military, Bank, Employee, School, or Out-of-State LicenseA non-photo form of identification such as a Medicare Card, Voter's Registration Card, PA Learner's Permit, Temporary Driver's License, or Vehicle Registration
How Long Can You Wait to Renew An EXPIRED PA Driver’s Permit?
If you have not renewed your license 6 months after its expiration date, it will be suspended. You must then begin a restoration process. Contact the PA DMV and ask them to send you a letter of your restoration requirements. This letter will clearly give you instructions on how to restore your license.
How to Renew Your Expired PA Driver’s Permit
The process is the same as listed above, except where mentioned.
If your driving permit has already expired
There is no grace period for an expired license, so you may not drive with it. You must renew it within 6 months of the expiry date, using the same process listed above, or face further charges or license suspension or revoking. If your license was already revoked, suspended canceled, or disqualified for another reason, you will need to speak to someone at DMV to get instructions specific to your case.
A commercial license cannot be renewed at all if it is expired, in most cases. If it has been revoked or suspended, it cannot be renewed either.
You may not drive with an expired license, so you will need to stop driving immediately or face possible fines. Fines start at $39 but can be as high as $200. If you have previous offenses, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, your license may be suspended or confiscated, or your vehicle impounded.
Will You Need to Retake Permit Tests if Your Permit Expires?
No, unless it expired more than two years ago, in which case you'd have to retake the written and road tests.
There are several other situations in which you'll need to retake your driving test. These include:
This will depend on the kind of suspension, or the length of the suspension on your license–contact PennDOT to find out how to go about it. Remember, you will need to fill in a Restoration Requirements Letter as well.Medical conditions
Occasionally, drivers over the age of 45, chosen randomly, will be asked to do vision and physical exams, these exams are an assessment to check if they are still fit to drive. By law, PennDOT is permitted to ask these drivers to retake the road or written test.
How Much Does a PA Permit Renewal Cost?
This will depend on the type of license you're renewing.
Four-Year License Renewal: $30.50Four-Year License Renewal with Motorcycle: $50.50Two-Year License Renewal (age 65+): $20.00Two-Year License Renewal with Motorcycle (age 65+): $30.00
These fees may change over time, so make sure to check the PennDOT Payments and Fees chart for regular updates.
Take It to the Next Level With an Advanced Driving Course
Seeing as you're renewing your driver's permit, maybe this is the perfect time to refresh and even upgrade your skills on the road. You'll even receive a certificate that can lower your driving insurance fees. Consider taking one of Driven2Drive's highly-acclaimed Advanced Driving Courses. Choose your package today. Driver's licenseA Guide to the Total Cost Behind Getting a Driver's License in PAIn getting ready to tackle the learning process and achieve a driver's license, you will need to set aside money and time, both for learning and for the paperwork. First, you'll need to pay for a driver's education course, the learner's test, then the learner's permit, then driving lessons, then the driver's test, then payment for the driver's license, and renewal of the license every few years.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Learner's Permit?
To get your learner's permit in Pennsylvania, you should register for a driver's education course at a good driving school like Driven2Drive. The lowest permit age is 16. The cost of this starts at about $80, providing tuition and classroom sessions. This is followed by a written test of your knowledge, and a medical physical examination, including your vision, hearing, and physical coordination. If you pass those, you should pay $35.50 to apply for your junior learner's permit, if you are between 16 and 18, or a learner's permit if you are over 18.
If you don't pass the test at first, you will need to pay again to retake the learner's permit test, which you can do the next day. If you do pass the learner's test, but don't manage to pass your driver's license test within three months, then you must renew the learner's permit. This includes redoing the knowledge exam and the physical exam.
A summary of these costs is estimated at a minimum of:
Learner's Permit process $
Driver's Education Manual free
Driver's education course 80.00
DOT physical exam 119.00
Cost of learner's permit 35.50
Renewal of permit 35.50
TOTAL (estimated) $269.00
How Much Do Driving Lessons Cost?
Driving lessons can be provided in a package of tuition, and costs vary across driving schools. At Driven2Drive you can plan for lessons according to your budget. It's recommended that you have at least 65 hours of driving practice including 10 hours of nighttime driving (which you can do with any licensed adult driver as supervisor).
To speed up your learning process and prepare yourself well for the driving test, it's recommended to have some tuition from an experienced, professional driving instructor. This will make it easier to pass the test the first time, avoiding the cost of a repeat test. Lessons at Driven2Drive start at $195 for a single two-hour session. It's recommended that you have 10-20 lessons, with an estimated minimum total cost of $1,950.
Do Automatic Driving Lessons and Manual Driving Lessons Cost the Same?
An automatic driving lesson—which is termed a 'regular lesson' at Driven2Drive—costs the same as a stick shift lesson (in a manual car), but prices may differ at other driving schools. It takes more time and effort to learn to drive a manual vehicle, but it's recommended, especially for beginners. Simple driving lessons start at $195 per two-hour lesson.
Types of Driver's Licenses and How Much They Cost
There are two main types of driver's license: a non-commercial (personal) one and one for drivers who are doing commercial driving.
Cost of a Non-commercial Driver’s License
A junior driver's license costs $45.50 and a regular unrestricted license costs $35.50.
Class A, the non-commercial license, allows you to drive your vehicle plus a towed vehicle with a total mass of 26,000 lbs if you are over 18. Class B, also a non-commercial license, allows you to drive any single vehicle over 26,000 lbs if you are over 18. These licenses cost $35.50 and are valid for four years.
Class C allows you to drive emergency vehicles only, motorcycles or scooters up to 50cc, or a sedan motor car, if you are over 16 years of age. Class M is for licensed drivers over 16, for motorcycles only. Both Class C and Class M licenses cost $45.50 and are valid for four years.
Cost of a Commercial Driver’s License
To be allowed to drive a goods vehicle interstate, you must be over 21 years of age. There are three categories of commercial driver's license:
Class A, which covers drivers over 18 who can drive a combination of vehicles with a weight of 26,001 lbs, including a towed vehicle of more than 10,000 lbs in weight.Class B, which covers drivers over 18 who can drive a combination of vehicles with a weight of 26,001lbs, including a towed vehicle equal to or less than 10,000 lbs in weight.Class C, which covers drivers over 18 who can drive a vehicle no heavier than 26,000 lbs.
All three categories must pay a fee of $102.50 for their licenses, renewable after four years.
Interstate driving requires a license fee of $102.50 and is renewable after four years. To be allowed to drive a goods vehicle interstate, you must be over 21 years of age.
Cost of an Enhanced Driver's License (EDL)
An Enhanced Driver's License includes additional skills or services, for example transporting dangerous substances like gas. This is called a hazmat license (endorsed for hazardous materials) and costs $120.50, renewable after four years.
For details of different commercial category license costs, see the DMV website.
How Much Does It Cost to Retake a Driving Test?
Sometimes you might need to retake your driving test, if for example you are part of a random sample who must repeat their medical tests, which the PA administration may request you to do. In that case, you will pay the same fee to apply for a driver's license as before, as described above.
If your license expires and you do not renew it, you may be asked to pay the same licensing fee again and retake both the written and road tests to restore your license. When you reschedule your road test, you must pay the fee.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace/Renew Your Driver’s License?
If you lose your driver's license, you need to replace it quickly to stay legal! The cost of replacing it is $31.50. Alternatively, if it has expired, the cost of renewing a driver's license in PA is $30.50.
How Much Does It Cost to Change Information on a Driver’s License and Learner’s Permit?
You may have to fill in a form with the DMV to apply for a new license or permit document if your personal information must be changed. These fees are specified by the DMV.
When planning to get your driver's license, consider your time available, the money you will need to invest in the learning process, and the cost of renewals and repeat testing. This will help you keep to a budget when you have to cover all these costs. New topic - 5qeelImportance of Adding Your Teen to Your Car InsuranceIn the state of Pennsylvania, driver insurance follows the car more than the person. The best way for beginner drivers to learn quickly, get comfortable, and go on to be safe drivers is that they learn to drive, do the driving test, and drive afterward continually, all in the same car—so that they are comfortable during their tests and safe on the roads.
In many cases, parents will be sharing their cars with their kids or passing down a car that's in their name with existing insurance policies. Insurance premium costs are linked to the car's mileage, and the levels of safety the model provides. However, the level of experience of the driver also plays an important role. Older drivers who have spent more time on the roads will be offered lower insurance deals than teen or beginner drivers.
While teens can get their own insurance policies, this is only if they have their own car, and it will be more expensive than adding them to an existing policy.
Is Car Insurance Expensive for Teen Drivers?
Yes. Teens' lack of driving experience makes them more likely to have accidents, and so insurance companies are hesitant to sign them on. When they do, they demand higher premiums in order to protect themselves from the possible financial loss they might encounter in covering the costs of the teen's accidents.
One silver lining in this scenario is the availability of a driving lessons insurance discount. Beginner drivers who go for professional lessons can get discounts on their insurance costs by providing certificates of completion of driving lessons. There are numerous packages available, including discounts for taking just a few lessons or significant benefits for those who complete whole driving courses.
Does a Teenage Driver Need Car Insurance?
Insurance is mandatory once you have a driver's license. Learner drivers may use the car insured in someone else's name until they have a driver's license. However, it doesn't make much sense to then get a different car from the one they learned to drive in. If the teen has a car they are using for the driver’s test, it must be under their own insurance policy beforehand, even as a learner driver.
Technically, there's no type of car insurance exclusive to teenagers. No matter the age of a driver, they must meet a state’s minimum requirements for liability insurance. If the car is being financed, a lienholder will likely require collision insurance and comprehensive coverage as well.
If your teen is found committing an offense in your car without them being insured, you may lose discounts, be unable to file claims, or your insurance may be canceled altogether.
Why You Should You Add Your Teenage Driver to Your Car Insurance Policy
While learner driver insurance is possible, it is significantly more expensive than the costs of adding a teen to an existing insurance policy.
Insurance for learner drivers in Pennsylvania should only really be taken out if:
You do not have a driver's license or a car, and you don't know a trusted, experienced driver who has insurance, a car, and is willing to include your child on their policy and lend the teen the car.It may be important to the teen, for whatever reason (a sense of independence, monetary earnings, etc.), that they buy a car. If this is the case, it would still make more sense financially for the child to pay for the vehicle, but for the car insurance policy to then be in an experienced driver's name.
How to Add Your Teen Driver to Your Insurance Policy
Keep track of your teen's driving behavior; check in with them regularly and continue to provide support with practice and accompanied driving. The better the teen drives (and the fewer offenses), the lower your insurance payments will be. Get a quote for adding your child to your existing policy with higher liabilities—100/300/100 is usually best.Find out from your insurance broker when you must add your child, whether at the permit stage or when a license is obtained, as costs for this may differ between companies.Ask around at different car insurance companies, get multiple quotes and find the best rates.Add your child at the appropriate time to your current policy or a new insurer with better rates. Ask for discounts with both (remember, if your teen gets professional tuition for the road, you can claim a driving lessons insurance discount). Shop around annually to check that you're still getting the best deal possible, and find new possible discounts.
Is your teen gearing up to start driving? Take a look at our guides to passing your permit test and passing your driver's test. Learner's permitA Guide to Teen Driving Laws in PAWhile you can start driving at age 16 in Pennsylvania, teen drivers must adhere to certain extra rules.
What Are the Teen Driving Laws in PA?
There are several restrictions for teen drivers in PA. Pennsylvania driving laws provide for three different licenses, attained progressively.
1. Learner's Licence
A learner's permit is obtained by passing a written exam. Once a teen driver has a learner's license, they may drive on the roads with the following restrictions:
The driver must be accompanied by a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age, or a parent, guardian, and spouse who is at least 18 years of age and licensed, with the same or higher class vehicle that appears on the learner’s permit.The driver must complete 6 months of driving before taking the junior license test. This includes 65 hours of adult-supervised skill-building, including 10 hours of nighttime driving and 5 hours of bad weather driving. This does not apply to motorcycle learners.The driver may not be behind the wheel between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Young drivers may travel for employment and for volunteer or charitable service during these hours, but they must carry proper documentation.The number of passengers must not exceed the number of seat belts in the vehicle. This applies to all drivers under age 18.A young driver’s permit will be suspended for 90 days if they accumulate six or more points or are convicted of a single high-speed violation (driving 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit).You may not drive out of state with a learner's permit. Doing so will result in fines, suspensions, or impounding of the vehicle. A learner's permit is valid for one year (it may be renewed upon request).
Read our posts on what you need to get your learner's permit in PA and what happens if you fail your PA permit test.
Motorcycle license requirements:
Successful completion of a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Safety Program Basic Rider Course is a requirement for a young rider before a motorcycle license can be issued.
Take a look at our guide to insurance for learner drivers, too.
If you're under 18, but have completed 65 hours behind the wheel with a learner's permit (including 10 hours of night driving and 5 hours of bad-weather driving), you may do the skills test for a junior license, and hopefully pass!
If you're over 18, you do not need to complete the 65 hours of driving time, only the skills test. Read our guide to passing the PA driver's test for help.
There are still some restrictions in place for junior license holders (whether 18 or above):
The driver may not be behind the wheel between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions for employment and volunteer or charitable service will apply, but young drivers must carry proper documentation proving a need to travel.The number of passengers must not exceed the number of seat belts in the vehicle, and all seatbelts must be worn. This applies to all passengers and drivers under the age of 18.Drivers may not carry more than one passenger under the age of 18 who is not an immediate family member unless one of their parents or guardians is in the vehicle with them.After the first six months of driving on a junior license, the limit is increased to no more than three passengers under the age of 18. The increased limit does not apply to any junior driver who has ever been involved in a crash in which they were partially or fully responsible or who is convicted of any driving violation.A young driver’s junior license will be suspended for 90 days if they accumulate six or more points or are convicted of a single highspeed violation (driving 26 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit).
In some cases, an unrestricted license may be issued to an under-18, if they have maintained a crash-and conviction-free record for 12 months and completed an approved driver’s education course.
Under 18 unrestricted license holders have the following restrictions:
The number of passengers must not exceed the number of seat belts in the vehicle. Drivers and occupants under the age of 18 must wear a seat belt, and children under the age of eight must be securely fastened in a restraint system. Failure to comply with this law’s seat belt provisions is a primary offense, meaning that a driver can be pulled over and cited solely for that violation.
What Are the Consequences for Violating PA Teen Driving Laws?
This depends on several factors, including which license the teen has at that time, and if they have previous offenses. See the points above for detailed information.
Find lessons for learner drivers near you! Driver's licenseSafest Cars for New Teenage DriversWith a high number of accidents caused by young, inexperienced, or teenage drivers, it's no wonder that parents are often searching for the safest buys when looking for cars for their children. Safety features can make an enormous difference to driveability, shock absorption, and protection. Our experts have compiled a guide to finding the safest car choices for teen drivers.
Are All Cars Tested for Safety?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs crash-testing on 85% of new vehicle models (over 97% of passenger vehicles sold), using a star-rating system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is another important organization offering quality assurance to look out for when buying a vehicle.
It's sometimes difficult to find crash-test scores for large SUVs, luxury cars, low-volume models, and sports cars - for these, you would need to do your own research and consult with experts as far as possible.
Are Old Cars Safe for Teenagers to Drive?
First, let's define "old". Anything more than 10 years old is a good marker. While there are special cases of "miracle" older models of cars that have been significantly re-done, for the most part, buying an old car for your teen driver who is still learning to drive is a bad idea. Here's why:
Parts Breaking Unexpectedly
These cars will most likely have recurring problems, making them inherently less safe to drive for anyone, let alone novice drivers without the experience to handle it. Think of something breaking unexpectedly and the driver having to react or defend against it in the heat of the moment. More experienced drivers will probably have a much quicker reaction time, or have an idea of how to handle the car, while teen or beginner drivers might simply have a panic attack!
Relatively newer features such as power steering or smooth gears allow for a much easier driving experience, which inevitably prevents knock-on problems (stalling, etc.).
A lack of stability is another common problem in older cars. Studies have shown that a high number of accidents in older models are due to instability (when compared with the stability of newer vehicles). This is why it is essential to practice defensive driving.
Lack of Modern Safety Features
Airbags and other similar advancements in car production add peace of mind.
Other Reasons to Avoid Old Cars
Older models (especially those older than 10 years) will increase insurance premiums significantly. While you may be saving in the short term by buying a cheaper, older car, the costs of insurance will stack up quickly (alongside expensive repairs).
What Are the Safest Cars for Teen Drivers?
These are some of the safest cars for teen drivers in 2022, in a mid-range price bracket:
Honda: 2022 AccordFord: Bronco Sport, ExplorerHyundai: Nexo, Palisade, Santa Fe (examples built after July 2021), TucsonKia: K5, StingerMazda: Mazda3 (hatchback and sedan), CX-30, CX-5, CX-9Nissan: Altima, Maxima, Murano, RogueToyota: Camry, Highlander, SiennaVolkswagen: ID.4
Higher Price Picks
Here are our top choices for safety in a higher price range:
Audi: A6, A6 Allroad, and A7 Acura: TLXGenesis: G70, G80, G90Lexus: ES 350, ISMercedes-Benz: E-ClassTesla: Model 3Volvo: S90 and S90 Recharge
Top SUVs and other Larger Models
Some of our best SUV and larger model car picks include:
Tesla: Model YMazda: CX-30 Subaru: AscentChevrolet: Bolt EUVNissan: Murano
What Else Can You Do to Improve Safety Levels for Your Teen Driver?
As a parent, three of the other most important and useful things you can do to minimize the chances of your child or loved one having an accident are:
Help your child by guiding them in plenty of driving practice, or find another trusted adult driver to accompany and guide them for practice.Organize things so that your child is practicing in the same car that they are taking the road test in.Find the best lessons for teenagers nearby and enroll them in classes to make sure they are getting the professional driving tuition they need. There are numerous complex aspects to the latest tests which your knowledge won't cover, as the rules have been updated in recent years. It's vital that they cover all the technicalities in order to pass the driving test.
Notes on Learner's Permits
First thing's first: help your teen get their learner's permit! Find out what to bring for a learner's permit here. It's also worth noting that a high score on a learner's permit test will help young drivers enormously in their understanding and preparedness for the road test.
Driven2Drive—the Best School for Your Teen's New Journey
Book professional lessons for your teen now by calling 610-664-7400 or sending us a direct message, and we promise to support, protect, and guide your loved one as we do our own kids! Let's get you driving! Learner's permitGuide to PA Permit Practice Test QuestionsWhile learning to drive might seem like a scary prospect to some young people, it doesn't have to be! The first step, acquiring your learner's permit, can be quite straightforward with the help of the numerous resources available online. These include a handbook and several practice exams.
It's also possible to get additional support with the help of professionally-led permit preparation classes, which are available at Driven2Drive. Young prospective drivers can choose between booking individual one-hour classes, or buying a package that includes three classes and a certificate that can be presented to insurance companies (which may help you get a discount on your premiums).
We are always here to assist you in answering your questions and helping you get prepared for any of your tests.
How Many Questions Are on the PA Permit Test?
There are 18 multiple-choice questions in the permit exam in 2022. Of these, you will need to answer 15 correctly to pass.
It's important to prepare for your permit test by practicing on the free DMV sample question papers (available on their website) and even enrolling in a permit prep class if you can (such as one of the expert-led lessons curated by a professional driving instructor at Driven2Drive).
In the review sections (practice tests) on the DMV website:
There are 110 review questions in the section "Learning to Drive". There are 57 review questions in the section "Signals, signs and pavement markings". There are 16 questions in the section "Driving record information".
Common Mistakes to Avoid on Your Driving Permit Exam
Look out for answers that are similar to each other, but where something may be just a little off. The multiple-choice driving test questions often include two similar, seemingly correct answers which might confuse those who don't know their content very well.
Other than that, there aren't many common mistakes on the permit exam. The test is meant to test your knowledge, not catch you out.
However, there are many common mistakes on your driving exam that can lead to automatic fails.
Studying Your Driver’s Handbook Correctly
The driver's handbook (PA driver's manual) is an essential tool for preparing for your permit test.
To use the manual correctly:
Identify the correlating sections of the manual and permit tests, to help you break your studying into chunks. Break these chunks into even smaller chunks to make learning more manageable. Set realistic goals (e.g. one-quarter of a section every two days) and follow through. Make sure you understand the points first—our brains struggle to memorize facts that we don't understand. If any points confuse you, speak to your permit prep class lecturer and make sure that you grasp them fully.Try to memorize the correct answers before bed—studies have shown that we remember things learned before sleeping at night more easily as our brains process information while we sleep.
Importance of Practice Tests
Practise tests are hugely helpful in preparing for your permit test. They allow you to identify more easily where the "holes" in your memory are. They also help you get used to the testing process so that when you do the real test it feels familiar. "The more you are accustomed to sitting for a period of time, answering test questions, and pacing yourself, the more comfortable you will feel when you actually sit down to take the test” (1).
Testing is also another fantastic way of learning. "Research in cognitive science and psychology shows that testing, done right, can be an effective way to learn. Taking tests can produce a better recall of facts and a deeper understanding than an education devoid of exams" (2).
What to Be Aware of in Your Practice Test
You can use your practice tests to maximum benefit by paying close attention to what you are doing and taking note of where your weaknesses are. Get yourself into a place of sharp focus before your practice test by making sure you've had enough sleep, rest, hydration, and, of course, preparation. Boost focus by having a cup of coffee and a high-protein snack before you start, and choose a place in the house where it's quiet and there are no distractions.
If this isn't possible at home, find a quiet local library, or ask a friend or family member whose house is generally tranquil if you could do the test at their place.
After you've passed your learner's permit, be sure to take a look at our tips for first-time drivers.