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Driver’s Permit
Distracted Driving
Passing Your Test
What You Will Need

When you reach a certain age, there is only one thing on your mind — finally getting your driver’s license. A driver’s license offers a sense of freedom and a belief that you can go anywhere, so it only makes sense that when someone turns 15, they can’t wait to get behind the wheel.

At MVD Express, we strive to provide you with tips, advice, and all the MVD Services you need to safely operate a vehicle. Whether you’re a long-time driver looking to renew their vehicle registration or a brand new driver about to take your New Mexico driver’s test, MVD Express is here to help in any way that we can. Explore our website to learn more about our MVD services and give us a call to schedule an appointment at the MVD Express near you! We look forward to helping you.

Obtaining a Driver’s Permit

Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to learning how to drive a car. For this reason, before you can even think about getting your New Mexico driver’s license, you first need to get your driver’s permit and go through each stage of the Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) program. This program was put into effect on January 1, 2000, as a way to help young drivers gain more practice and experience behind the wheel before they get their full driver’s license. Currently, the GDL program consists of three stages, and you must pass each stage before you can move to the next one. We’ve outlined the three stages below.

Stage 1

During stage one of the GDL program, you will obtain your driver’s permit. To obtain your permit, you must:

  • Be at least 15 years old
  • Complete or be enrolled in a state-approved driver education program
  • Receive parental or guardian consent
  • Pay an application fee
  • Pass a written and vision test

The written permit test consists of 25 questions, and each young driver must receive a minimum score of at least 72% in order to pass. The best way to study for your permit test is to obtain a copy of the New Mexico rules of the road from your local MVD Express. When you take your test, it will ask you questions about signs, what certain markings on the road indicate, and more. If you pass the test, then you will be granted your driver’s permit!

Unfortunately, obtaining your learner’s permit does not automatically graduate you to stage two of the GDL program. There are still a few qualifications you will need to meet before you can move on. These qualifications include:

  • Holding the permit for at least six months
  • Complete a state-approved driver’s education course
  • Drive with an adult who is 21 or older and has had their driver’s license for at least three years
  • Maintain a clean driving record for 90 days before applying for a provisional license
  • Complete 50 hours of supervised driving practice, including 10 hour driving at night
  • Do not drink and drive

Once you pass all of these requirements, you will be able to move on to stage two of the GDL program!

Stage 2

During stage two of the program, you will receive a provisional driver’s license. A provisional driver’s license gives you the freedom to drive a vehicle without an adult present. However, this license also comes with restrictions. To receive your provisional license, you have to:

  • Successfully complete stage 1 of the GDL program
  • Be at least 15-and-a-half years old
  • Pass a behind-the-wheel driver’s test

After completing and passing your behind-the-wheel test, you will be granted a provisional license! However, before you get too excited about driving around with your friends, it’s important to understand the rules associated with a provisional driver’s license. In order to move on to stage three of the GDL program, you must:

  • Hold your provisional license for at least 12 months
  • Only drive with one passenger who is not an immediate family member, unless accompanied by a driver who is 21 or older
  • Not drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. unless accompanied by a licensed adult. The exceptions to this rule include work permits, school, religious functions, and family and medical emergencies.

If you have followed all the rules within the 12 month period, you will then be allowed to move on to stage three of the GDL program.

Stage 3

The final stage of the GDL program is where you will finally be able to obtain your unrestricted driver’s license. With this license, you will be able to drive with multiple passengers in your car, and you won’t have to worry about a driving curfew. However, you will not be able to receive your unrestricted driver’s license if you:

  • Do not pass stage two of the GDL program
  • Receive convictions for traffic violations 90 days prior to your application
  • Have pending traffic violations at the time of application

If none of those contingencies apply to you, then you will be able to receive your New Mexico driver’s license from MVD Express and enjoy your freedom!

Avoid Distracted Driving

Once you get your New Mexico driver’s licence, you will probably be ready to hit the road with your friends as soon as possible. However, for new drivers, it can be difficult to avoid distracted driving. As you’re first learning to drive, you have a parent or guardian with you in the front seat to help keep distractions to a minimum, but as soon as you’re on your own, distractions can get out of control. In an effort to keep yourself and your passengers safe, it’s important to limit distractions from the beginning, and you may even be surprised what is considered a distraction when you should be focusing on the road!

These are just a few of the most common distractions for both new and experienced drivers. It’s important to do your best to avoid these distractions, helping to keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers safe on the road. If you have any questions about distracted driving, don’t hesitate to reach out to MVD Express!

Passing Your Driver’s Test

One of the most daunting parts of getting your driver’s license is the behind-the-wheel test. As explained above, you will need to pass a behind-the-wheel test in order to receive your provisional license. With that in mind, it’s easy to ace your driving test with a few simple tips.

Get Plenty of Practice

The best way to feel confident behind the wheel is to practice. Practicing should come easy, especially since you will need to log 50 hours in order to get your license. However, the way you practice can affect how you feel during your test.

When you practice driving, make sure you test your skills in many different situations. For example, if you only practice driving when it’s sunny and the road conditions are ideal, you may start to feel anxious the first time it starts to storm while you’re driving.

Learn the Basics

Putting on your seatbelt and adjusting your mirror may seem like common sense when you’re driving with a parent or guardian, but it’s important to remember that you will be graded on the basics in addition to your overall ability to drive a car. Consider making a mental checklist that you go over each and every time you get in the car.

Before the Test

The night and morning before your driver’s test, you may feel nervous and anxious — this is totally normal. However, despite your nerves, it’s very important to get a good night’s sleep and have a filling breakfast. You want to be able to focus on the road and any prompts given to you by your instructor.

If your local MVD is in another area from where you live, then you may consider driving to your test a little early so that you can become familiar with the roads. Most behind-the-wheel exams take place in the area surrounding the MVD, so it could help your nerves to become familiar with the roads you may be driving during your exam.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions

During your driver’s test, you want to show the instructor that you know what you’re doing and that you are confident behind the wheel. However, many people are under the impression that they can’t ask any questions if something is unclear, but that is not the case. If your instructor asks a question or gives you an instruction during your exam, and you’re not quite sure what they mean, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Failing to ask for clarification when you’re unsure about the instructions could result in lost marks because you failed to follow the instruction. It’s better to ask for clarification than try and guess and risk failing your test.

Schedule Your Test in Advance

If you know you need a few more weeks to practice, or you think waiting too long at the MVD will make you more nervous, it may be a good idea to schedule your driver’s test in advance! At MVD Express, we give you the option of scheduling an appointment at all of our New Mexico locations. All you have to do is find the MVD Express that is closest to you and schedule an appointment for a time that is convenient for you! Then, all you have to do is show up at your designated time, take your test, and get your provisional license. Explore our website to learn more and schedule your appointment!

What You Will Need to Obtain Your License

When you go to MVD Express to get your provisional license, you want to be prepared for passing your driver’s test, meaning you will need to ensure that you have all the proper documents to obtain your license. It’s important to note that obtaining your license as a new driver may be slightly different than when your parents got their first license.

In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act, which established security standards for driver’s licenses and state IDs. As a result, the REAL ID was created, which is a more secure version of the standard driver’s license. Anyone who chooses to obtain the REAL ID will be required to do so by October 2020, meaning all new drivers will need to provide the necessary documentation for the REAL ID when they receive their provisional license.

Because the REAL ID is a more secure form of identification, you will need to provide more documents to prove your identity and age, residency, and identification number.

In order to obtain your REAL ID driver’s license, you will need to provide:

  • One proof of your identification number
  • One proof of identity and age
  • Two proofs of New Mexico residency

The state of New Mexico has a list of documents that are acceptable for each requirement. Some of the approved documents include:

W-2 form, Social Security Number card, SSA-1099 form, and a pay stub that displays your name and SSN.

Current US passport, foreign passport with I-551 stamp, and an original or a certified copy of your birth certificate.

Bank or credit card statement, employment pay stub containing the applicant’s name and address, and documentation from an education institution.

For new drivers, it may be difficult obtaining documents proving proof of residency. For this reason, drivers under 18 who are applying for the REAL ID can also submit a document indicating a membership in a New Mexico sports or religious group or an affidavit of New Mexico residency.

Get Your New Mexico Driver’s License Today!

If you are a new driver who is ready to start the process of obtaining your driver’s license, MVD Express is here to help! We offer all the MVD services you need to get your license, from permit tests to behind-the-wheel tests and more. If you’re looking for more information about how you can ace your driving test, don’t hesitate to give us a call, and be sure to schedule an appointment at your local MVD Express to help you skip the line.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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