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Can I Drive by Myself With a Permit at 18?


It is exciting to get your permit finally, and there is the excitement to start driving without any supervision. But before doing that, there is a question you should ask the older ones around you. ‘Can I drive by myself with a permit at 18?

Technically, the answer should be yes, but it will be illegal. So, NO, you can not drive by yourself at 18 even if you have a permit. A  learner’s permit has restrictions, so you have to have someone as a passenger by your side. Now do not get tricky; the person can not be your age mate; there is a certain minimum age the person should be. 

Understanding A Driver’s Permit

A driver’s permit is a temporary license that permits someone below the legal driving to drive before getting a real driver’s license. The permit allows the individual to drive a car to practice and apply for their legal driver’s license. When driving with the permit, there must be an individual by their side, and the person must be a fully licensed citizen.

temporary driving permit

However, the permit does not allow the individual to drive wth another young passenger in the car, even if there is a licensed individual in the front passenger’s seat.

Steps to Getting a Driver’s License

Even though you feel excited to get your legal driver’s license, you have to go through a procedure. The procedure might vary depending on your state of residence, but the most common one is here.

Learn the Rules and Regulations

Indeed, driving with a permit without someone by your side is not the only illegal action when driving a car. If you want smooth rides after getting your driver’s license, know more about the legal and illegal driving actions.

Equally important, you will need to know the rules and regulations for the permit test you will take.

Go for a Permit Test

The test tests your knowledge of the driving rules and regulations, road signs, road laws, and other things the rule and regulation handbook contains. The test will determine if you will get a permit.

After getting your permit, you can get a student driver’s sign to warn other drivers.

Take the Driver education course.

The driver education course is not for everyone, especially those above a certain age. It all depends on your state’s law. The course teaches individuals basic driving lessons and rules; some of the lessons will be from the permit test handbook. You will practice driving with an instructor by your side during the course.

Drive for a designated number of hours.

Next, learners have to drive for a certain number of hours before getting their license, both during the day and at night. There are specific rules and restrictions depending on your state; know them before you start driving.

Take a Driving Test

Finally; this is the last hurdle in many states. After taking the driver education course and logging the number of driving hours, you can apply for a driving test. Of course, this will be after some time (3 to 6 months). 

An instructor will be by your side instructing and inspecting you as you drive through a specific area to take the driving test. If you follow the laws, you will get your driver’s license.

Some state laws do not allow young adults to drive other young adults until they reach a specific age. Once they reach the required age, they can get their driver’s license.

Laws to Note Before Driving

State Age to Get a Permit and License

StateMinimum age for permitMinimum age for license
Alaska1416 and a half
Arizona15 and a half16 and a  half
California15 and a half17
Colorado15 (with driver’s education0)17
Hawaii15 and a half17
Idaho14 and a half16
Indiana15  (with driver’s education)18
Kansa1416 and a half
Maine1516 and three quarters
Maryland15 and three quarters18
Michigan14 and three quarters17
Montana14 and a half16
Nevada15 and a half18
New Hampshire15 and a half17 and a month
New Jersey1618
New Mexico1516 and a half
New York1618
North Carolina1516 and a half
North Dakota1416
Ohio15 and a half18
Oklahoma15 and a half17
Rhode Island1617 and a half
South Carolina1516 and a half
South Dakota1416
Vermont1516 and a half
Virginia15 and a half18
Washington15 (with driver’s education)17
West Virginia1517
Wisconsin15 and a half16 and three-quarters
Wyoming1516 and a half


As a new driver, you are more likely to make mistakes in some situations, so the law put down restrictions to prevent accidents.

happy black woman and her new driving license

In many states, there is a curfew for teenage drivers. The curfew is usually between 9p.m to 6a.m, and others start the curfew at midnight.

Also, some rules govern the passengers you can have because friends are most likely to distract them during driving. Some states limit the number of underage passengers, while others do not allow passengers for some months. 

It is common knowledge that the cellphone is a major distraction, so teenagers cannot use cell phones while driving, especially without a cellphone holder.

Some states’ laws go beyond this, so before driving, ensure you know the rules governing your state’s laws and abide by them.


Even though 18 is beyond the legal age for most states to grant you your driver’s license, do not drive without a licensed passenger if you are still with a permit. If you wish to drive alone, follow the procedure and get your driver’s license.

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