South Carolina Learners Permit
If you intend to obtain the license in South Carolina and you do not possess a drivers license issues by a different state, you will need to apply for the learners permit first. The drivers permit will give you the chance to hone your driving skills and it is a necessary step of the licensing procedure no matter how old you are.
Graduated Drivers License
Driving is a dangerous business and it becomes even more dangerous when a teenage driver is behind the wheel. Unfortunately, teenage drivers are highly likely to be involved in a traffic accident and in most cases, those accidents can end tragically. This is why most states use a graduated drivers license system to lower the risks for the teenage driver and those surrounding him. South Carolina has its own version of the GDL, with an extended learners permit holding period and compulsory drivers education classes.
Applying for Learners Permit
The minimum permit age in South Carolina is 15 and you will not be able to obtain your drivers permit before your birthday. When you are of the right age, you can visit the DMV and apply for your permit. At this point, the DMV will require you to take a drivers permit test that will test your knowledge of South Carolina driving rules.
The test itself it not hard, but in most cases, the applicants overestimate their level of skill and fail it the first time. If you want to pass the test the first time you take it, you should study hard and there is no better way to do that than taking a state-certified drivers education class. Permit applicants who are under 18 are required to complete the class before obtaining a license anyway, so taking the class early will not hurt.
If you decide to skip drivers ed on your way towards the permit, you can grab a copy of the drivers handbook from the DPS. The book covers everything you need to know for your learners permit exam.
In case you want to see what type of questions will appear on the exam, you can take a few permit practice tests. Keep taking them until you will be getting a high score on each one of those tests.
Learners Permit Restrictions
The learners permit provides you with a great opportunity to get behind the wheel and gain some driving experience before you take the road test, but you have to remember that this is not a full license yet and that the permit comes with certain restrictions. The main limitation of the permit is that you cannot drive unless another licensed driver is sitting next to you.
Upgrading to Drivers License
According to the GDL laws, you have to hold your South Carolina drivers permit for at least 180 days before you will be able to take the road test. This restriction is independent of your age. You should use this time and try to gain as much driving experience as possible. Applicants under the age of 18 must complete a drivers education class and at least 40 hours of supervised driving during this period.
When you fulfill all of the above requirements, you can schedule the road test with the DMV. Passing the test successfully will yield you your official South Carolina driver's license. Note that applicants under the age of 18 will be issued with a restricted license at this point.