Humility and Driving Licenses at DMV

May 26, 2016

Woohoo it’s summer! With final exams, I became really behind on blog posts so I’m catching up now. You’ll soon see posts about the Viterbi Gala I attended in April, the Dodgers game I went to after finals, and a host of other random news and events.

It seems only fitting to end my last spate of blog posts by talking about my car again. Last week I went to the DMV and was humbled yet again. I saw fancy suits and frayed jeans, babies and grandmothers, grumpiness and brisk kindness. Worst (or best) of all, there were a few handicapped people in line (because ridiculously enough, the line for those with disabilities was the same as the appointment line) following the same procedures, not expecting special treatment, and waiting like the rest of us. That put in perspective shallow complaints about grades (or other things) I thought I “deserved.”

Besides that dose of humility from fellow Angelenos, I also learned 5 useful things about applying for California Driver’s licenses:

  1. If you have an out-of-state, valid license, you do NOT need a California driver’s license as long as yours is valid. However, if you choose to get one, you can waive the driving exam and just take the written test. You will need official, government ID
  2. International students with valid, international licenses can drive in California as long as their license is valid and they have car insurance (which is a separate thing not handled by the DMV)
  3. The written test is computerized now and it’s not as easy as you would think. Preparing for 3-5 hours before taking it will definitely help you pass.
  4. You must schedule an appointment. Despite that, be prepared for a 2 hour visit.
  5. If you’ve never had a driver’s license, you will have to pass the driving test and the written test. It’s easier to pass the driving test if you pick a DMV office in the LA suburbs rather than the one near USC because those tests are conducted near the office so you can avoid the downtown craziness.

Published on May 26th, 2016

Last updated on August 29th, 2017