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Are you Ready??? (part 2)

When I last left you, I had talked to you about how to get your learners permit in the State of North Carolina. Today I am here to expand on that and get you to the next level which is the Level 2 Limited Provisional driver license. 

Before you can even apply for the Level 2 license, the state of North Carolina has now mandated that you drive a certain number of hours and keep a log of those hours. This mandate goes into effect January 1, 2012.  Not to worry though if you already have your level 1 or your level 2 license as this will not apply to you. 

So, back to the requirements for this level.  Once you have your provisional learners permit, you will have to log the aforementioned 60 hours behind the wheel under the supervision of your “moving buddy”.  This 60 hours, must include 10 hours of nighttime driving.  The maximum you are allowed to “earn” per week is 10 hours.  When you apply for your Level 2 license, you must turn in the log. 

There are some driving allowances that have changed for the Level 2 license. The first is that you can drive unsupervised from 5a-9p.  You may also drive unsupervised when travelling directly to or from work or any volunteer fire, rescue or emergency medical services. Other requirements and restrictions are:

  1. You must have kept a learner permit for 12 months
  2. You must have no convictions of moving violations or seat belt/mobile phone infractions within the preceding 6 months.
  3. Be at least 16 years old but less than 18 years old.
  4. When driving unsupervised, you cannot have more than 1 passenger under the age of 21 in the vehicle.
  5. As with the Level 1, you are NOT permitted to use a mobile phone, or other device associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle on public areas.

After you complete 6 months with the Limited Provisional License and have maintained a clean driving record, you are eligible to move up to the last and final step, Level 3. This is the Full provisional license which allows you to drive unsupervised at any time. The one constant throughout this graduated license process is the prohibited use of mobile phone. 

So these are the steps you will have to go through to obtain a license.  I have some other tips and rules of the road that I will cover in next week’s blog. It won’t be a Part 3 but will definitely stay in line with this topic.  So for all you young drivers out there, Good luck and if you don’t pass your tests on the first try, you won’t be the first. 

Happy Driving


Are you Ready??? How to get your first Drivers’ License!!!

This is the first of two blogs about the rules and regulations of driving as a teen.  There may be an additional blog necessary if I haven’t covered everything.

Boy do I remember when I was studying for my driver’s license exam. It was all I could think about for months.  Since my birthday is in the summer, I was lucky enough to be able to get my license before going back to school in the fall. What a big thing that was. Of course, back in 1982 getting a license was a much easier thing.  Nowadays, you kids have to practice long hours behind the wheel and once that is done and you actually get your license, there are all kinds of rules until you turn 18.

So we are going to start at the beginning with what is required to take those first steps. The program here in North Carolina is called Graduated Licensing and it is for teens age 15 to 18. There are several levels that need to be taken before you are free to drive yourself anywhere you want without supervision.  

Level 1 is the Limited Learner Permit-available from age 15-18

  • Have your required documents with you.  For your first visit to the NC DMV, license office, you will need your birth certificate plus one other item showing your date of birth. These could be a transcript from your school with an official signature; a valid passport, a US military dependents’ card, etc.  You will also need to have your social Security Card. Last and certainly not least, you will need your Driving Eligibility Certificate and your Driver Education Certificate.
  • Pick a moving partner. No seriously, you will need to have a responsible Supervisor with you whenever you are driving. This person can be a parent, grandparent or other licensed adult approved by your parent.  The supervisor has rules as well. He or she must be a licensed driver, licensed for 5 years and be seated next to driver when supervising.  See we all have rules to follow
  • Submit documents & pay fees.  The fee for a first time learner permit is $15.00. 
  • Pass written, sign and vision tests.
  • Taken and passed an approved driver education course and receive your driving eligibility certificate.

Once you have accomplished all of the above and have found your driving buddy, there are restrictions you must adhere to. They are:  the first 6 months you may only drive from 5a-9p with your supervising driver.  You are not allowed at all to use a mobile phone or other additional technology associated with a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle on public property. 

Well I think that is enough information to get you started. Good luck and stay tuned for the next episode of Gina helps you get your license. Next up is the Limited Provisional License.  

Happy Driving


Traffic Woes And How To Deal With Them


 This is a repost from our monthly Ezine. And since I was stuck in traffic last night on Hwy 52, it seemed appropriate to remind everyone, including myself, about this great website.

Have you ever found yourself sitting in traffic and wondering what the problem was? Well we have discovered a great tool to help you with that. This website enables you to check your route to see if there are any traffic backups/delays or road construction.  For those of you who travel in Winston Salem you are aware of the many delays on the 421 or 52. Both of these highways are located on Sigalert.  Also listed on there are the construction delays for the current liberty street bridge replacement and the camera relocation on US 421. 

Imagine how much easier life would be if you knew ahead of time if you were going to be stuck in traffic. Sigalert also offers options for cell phones as well as iphone’s.  This website is being updated continuously so you will always have the most up to date information. 

Sigalert covers 34 out of 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.  This makes it even better because if you are travelling from North Carolina to New York City you are able to check the traffic as you approach the “City” and can avoid or alter your route.  Using this tool along with a GPS would make anyone’s driving trip so much easier.  Another of the features is a page to help you find the shortest route to your destination. 

My husband started checking this site every night before I left work and now it has become my habit to check to make sure I don't get stuck in traffic. As we know getting stuck in traffic for any length of time is not only a hassle but time consuming. 

As a side note, here are some things you should do to prepare your car for sitting in traffic: make sure you have enough gas in your tank (being low on fuel or running out just creates more headaches for you), make sure your radiator has enough fluid (it’s always a good idea to carry extra water and coolant in your car), be sure that your cell phone has a full charge, and lastly it is good to have enough drinking water in the car for all passengers. 

So before you head out to work, school or a road trip, be sure to check the sigalert website for your departure city as well as your destination city.



Tips for a Safe halloween


As the sun starts setting and darkness approaches, trick-or-treaters begin leaving their houses to walk the block gathering goodies. As innocent as this is, it can make Halloween a dangerous night for both drivers and trick-or-treaters.  A lack of inattention on both parts helps make it one of the deadliest nights of the year.

The best tips that I can give you about Halloween are

  • Teach your child the dangers of not paying attention.  This means, looking both ways to cross the street. Keeping their heads up and not buried in their bags looking for that favorite piece of candy.
  • Make sure costumes/outfits can be seen by drivers as well as other trick-or-treaters. This may mean putting reflective tape on your pants, shoes, shirts, hats, candy bags, or all of the above.
  • Stay in well-lit areas and on sidewalks if at all possible. If you have to walk in the street, make sure you are facing traffic. Just remember, if you can’t see them, then they can’t see you.
  • Using flashlights or glow sticks not only helps your children see better at night but it also helps drivers see them.  Who knows, you can even make them a part of their costume.
  • Help their visibility by opting for make-up or face paint rather than a vision impaired mask

For all the drivers out there, you may be distracted looking at all the little ghosts, witches, vampires, etc. and miss the little one all dressed in black not paying attention and have to slam on your brakes. Here are some precautions to take so that this doesn’t happen to you.

  • Put down the cell phone. Because children are excited about Halloween, they may not be paying attention so you have to.
  • Go slowly through neighborhoods. You know they will be out so pace yourself.
  • Keep your headlights on, so that others can see you.

Here’s hoping this helps those reading. Stay safe and have a Happy Halloween.