The American Story of Car Business (Part 1): Dodge

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When you look at the auto industry as it exists right now, it’s easy to get confused when talking about cars because there are so many brands, makes, and models. It’s like joining a movie halfway through. Many of the household names we associate with automobiles have a fascinating origin story and a fairly logical evolution. Knowing a little trivia about these names can help you wow you’re your friends and co-workers on trivia night, but more importantly it can really clear up your own understanding of cars.

As part of our effort to entertain and inform the on-line generation about the integral part the auto industry has played in the development of modern America, The Kicker Blog is pleased to spin off a series looking into the story behind names like Oldsmobile, Dodge, Nash, GM, Chrysler, Ford, Mercury, Saturn, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Benz, Audi, Opel, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, etc.

If there’s a theme to the auto industry it’s that successful car companies swallow up less dominant car companies. This accounts for several of our mystery names, but it doesn’t explain why those names continue to this day. Sometimes the reason lies in the fact that an innovative designer or quality auto maker might not be the most successful business person. Like the auto industry as a whole, often the backseat role a particular brand plays now belies the crucial role it played in American history.

We kick off our series with a deep dive into Dodge.

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Dodge

Compared to other names, some folks consider Dodge an “also-ran” in the story of the American motor industry, but that’s not the real story. Unlike many of the names we’ll cover, Dodge is still a major player who has remained a fairly constant brand.

Dodge began in 1900 with the Dodge Brothers, Horace and John. While many automakers started as wagon or bike makers, instead the Dodge brothers began as a parts supplier for Detroit’s growing number of car manufacturers. That was until they made their own car–the Model 30.

It could be a coincidence that the Model 30 bore a strong resemblance to the Model T, but it wasn’t. The Model T Ford dominated this part of car history and unlike modern times, in those days you didn’t improvement your existing design each year just to beat your competitors to it. In short, Ford wasn’t eager to fix what wasn’t broken. So the opportunity was there for the Doge brothers to beat Ford at his own game.

Although both cars used chromium steel, the Model T has a wooden framing underneath and the Model 30 didn’t, improving the suspension immensely. The Model 30 also had 35 horsepower, compared to the Model T’s 20.

This was truly the hay day for Dodge as they were in second place to Ford between 1916 and up to the early 1920’s. 150 Dodge vehicles were used in the Mexico border war in 1916.

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Unfortunately the Dodge brothers would not live to see how their brand would develop, they both died in 1920, John from pneumonia, Horace from liver damage.Because there was no relative the company went to an investment bank.

One theme you’ll notice in the car industry is that auto-manufacturing is a unique animal and it’s easy to lose your shirt trying to do it. Although the bank branched out the business to also make trucks it seems that the bank wasn’t taking enough risks. Ultimately the Dodge moved from the second biggest car company to the seventh biggest company; they needed an investor who was wise in the ways of the auto market.

The investor finally arrived in 1939, when Chrysler came to the helm. What Chrysler wasn’t interested in was competing with itself, so they began to look into more profitable areas like sedans and tanker trucks. All in all, Chrysler allowed Dodge to flourish.

The billboards and magazine adverts touted a new golden age for Dodge. The 53 Dodge was marketed as steadier, more level, and softer. It seemed no one cared about the price, or nothing could be done about the price. So it was better to concentrate on making the ride smoother. Chrysler poured money into marketed the all-American Dodge, suggesting thronging crowds visit it’s showrooms. Nowadays you won’t find an exclusively Dodge “showroom” but given the amount of money spent on advertising they must have been popular back then.

Dodge still make vehicles today and seem to be still proud of their Michigan roots. Having said that, Italian Car maker now owns Chrysler and with it, Dodge, having acquired it in 2014, but that’s Chrysler’s story for another day.

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The Future of Cars – Steel Or Silicon? (Part 1)

Steel or Silicon

Donald Trump seems to think the future of car production in this country is all about controlling the price of steel and aluminium, but it might come down to silicon instead. This first article will cover what’s happening in the US. Part 2 will go into the changes in Asia and elsewhere.

How long has computer technology been linked to cars? Amazingly, an automated navigation device was first placed in a car in the 1930s, but it mainly consisted of a map on a roll. As you journeyed along the road, you could adjust the dial and travel along the map. Presumably if you traveled the other way along the road, you could adjust the dial the other way. (The real problem was if you went on a road that wasn’t important enough to have one of these maps.)

The first SatNav as we would understand it happened in 1985 with the Etak Navigator. Like most tech at the time the drive was stored on a cassette tape. It still didn’t give you directions; it showed you what the road should be like according to the records. The city of LA could only be stored in four cassettes. The first SatNav with a voice to guide you was created by Mazda in 1990.

Surprisingly, a radios wasn’t even stock in most cars during the 1960 but it didn’t take long to go from radio to 8-track, to cassette. The first Compact Disc device installed in a car was the CD-X in 1984. We can’t find a record of which manufacturer first to install a mobile download system, but it was sometime around the beginnings of 2010.

look-out-of-the-window-2121134_1920We are so used to opening our windows electronically that we rarely think of it as technology at all. The power window seems to go back all the way to 1947 to the Cadillac Fleetwood. However the system was not (still is not) fool-proof. Power windows have produced injuries and even fatalities when obstacles got caught up in the window.

The early concern was that a power window wouldn’t go down if a car became submerged, thereby preventing occupants from being able to equalize pressure and open the door. But think about trying to crank down a manual window while your car sinks slowly into the murky darkness and water pours in on you…truth be told you are best off to keep a device nearby that can smash your window out.

The US government is trying to make these windows safer with items like a lockout switch but safety campaigners warn that injuries can still occur. See the Wikipedia article on Power Windows. As regards automatic sunroofs, well there are so many different types that they deserve an article on their own.

Of course self-driving (AVs) might seem an obvious thing to talk about next, but at this time they’re only for display purposes. The Aptiv for instance although operating in Las Vegas has a real human behind the wheel and the same thing with the Chevy Bolt.

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Power assisted steering comes from 1951 from a Chrysler model, this however used hydraulics. The first electrical power steering was created for the Porsche 911 in 1963. The great advantage for electrics over hydraulics in the lack of wires making it much more efficient and less likely to overheat.

So “The Donald’s” efforts to promote jobs in the legacy American Auto Industry with heavy metal will have some impact on frame-and-body but there’s already a lot more going on inside the automotive brain, which could be a better source of jobs.

 

The Amphibious Vehicle

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James Bond movies aside, the amphibious vehicle has never really caught on. You might associate an amphibious vehicle with a car, but bikes and buses can also be amphibious. Most are developed and used by the militaries of the world. Let’s take a closer look at some Russian, German and American amphibious vehicles.

From the former Soviet Union comes the Vityaz, a the multi-unit ATV and not truly amphibious because it doesn’t really float. It is, however, capable of carrying a monster payload (over 5 tons) through snow or swamp. The Vityaz resembles two carriages from a train with caterpillar tracks. While it’s predecessors go all the way back the the 1960’s the current model has been in production since 1982.

280px-VW_Kuebelwagen_1The German car-maker Volkswagen brings us two offerings: the Schwimmwagen and Kübelwagen. The Schwimmwagen is a squat 4×4 and the Kübelwagen resembles the bottom half of a VW Beetle. Bothe descend from the civilian version of the humble VW Beatle, but the Kübelwagen came first. The Kübelwagen became the Axis version of the allies jeep, sort of an all-terrain swift transport and tow platform. Unfortunately, the bottom design didn’t lend itself to swimming, with lead to the later developed Schwimagen. Over 15,000 Schwimwagens were produced between 1941 and 1944, making it the largest number of amphibious vehicles ever produced.

280px-VW_Schwimmwagen_1The Americans meanwhile developed the DUKW, which is where the story really twists.

The DUKW Story

It isn’t that clear what the DUKW stands for, the official line is that the initialism concerns “Designed in 1942” and “Utility” but the K and the W don’t stand for much at all. It may just be thought of as a code name but if that’s so why come up with code name which resembles what they are?

The DUKW, from this point forward ‘Duck’ was developed by top military and naval pioneers and quickly rejected by the main forces. When several Coast Guards got into difficulty off the coast of Princetown in Massachusetts a Duck vehicle happened to be giving a demo. The vehicle had no difficulty in rescuing the stranded Guardsmen. Later the Duck would show its usefulness by crossing the English Channel as well as manoeuvring on French soil but firstly the initial vehicle was re-engineered by the Yellow Coach & Truck Company.

300px-DUKW.image2.armyTwo thousand such vehicles were used by Great Britain during the WWII as well as 500 being used by Australian forces. Just over 75 years ago they were used in D-Day When the war ended they were used both in the Borneo and the Malayan campaign. These old vehicles seemed remarkably hard wearing, given that many had to undergo the rigor of the tide. The last Duck to be used in the military was in 2012.

There were plans to make Ducks bigger, to turn them into Superducks or “Drakes”. Developments were especially made in what was then the Soviet Union, including the addition of a ramp to the back of the vehicle, which would seem more like common sense than a physical difference.

How Floating Cars Help Regular Cars

As you might guess, there are many factors at play in creating amphibious vehicles that can be used in normal vehicles. Water in the engine is always a bad thing and the developments during the war and beyond were vital to keeping modern cars running smoothly. Then there is the difficulty of what happens when a car not exactly built for it has to drive through water.

The official recommendation is always to avoid driving your car through water deeper than a few inches but even car makers know it’s going to happen. Any water on the road, ford or puddle, may affect your brakes. After going through the water you are advised to check that your brakes work.

A ford is a place you cross a river where no bridge has been built. You should, at least, find a depth gage which marks the current depth of the water. Without a depth gage you’re advised not to try.

The Ultimate Demise of the DUKW

The final resting place in history for the “Duck Boat” has been tourism. Places like Seattle, Washington and Branson Missouri have employed them to take visitors around to see the sights from the unique views available to a vehicle that can go on land and water.

However, these tours have been plagued by tragic accidents, when taken out in adverse weather conditions or when poorly maintained. It will become increasingly more difficult to find an operational DUKW, but that doesn’t mean the world has given up on civilian Amphibious Vehicles.

Quite a few UTV’s are in production with limited amphibious ability, due in no small part, to their ability to help sport hunters and outdoor enthusiasts reach destinations that are otherwise nearly unattainable.

Jaguar Mark V 1948-1951

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Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels

This model was produced and launched in London. The production period for this model mirrored the Jaguar XK 120 model, and the competition which the two models created was good for business. The sales of the Mark V topped the charts but the power produced by the engine was outrageous, above the 80KW mark.

The specifications of the model

The model had a unique, two-door convertible, body type. The 1951 model was rear wheel drive with a 4-speed manual gearbox. The engine displacement for this model was 3486cc and an output power of 90KW. The engine of the car produced a torque of 245Nm.

The performance of the car

According to factory tests, the Jaguar Mark V had a speed of 153km/h. The car could accelerate from 0 to 95km/h in about 15 seconds which was very high considering the development period. On average, the Jaguar Mark V would drink17 liters of fuel in every 100km of travel. The fuel economy wasn’t actually that bad for the time. Fuel economy aside, this model had a lot of features to admire. Primarily, the rugged simplicity–it was much easier to handle than competing models. While convertibles were much desired and priced with that in mind, but even comparing apples to apples with other convertibles of the time the Mark V was expensive.

There were several different models and capacities produced depending of the market demands, and production rates varied widely, although they were always high. The production figures for the different models were varied with the highest being the 3½ liters RHD saloon model which had a total of 5930 units. The 2½ liters of the same model followed in the production quantity with 1481 cars.

How the Car Economy Began

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It makes sense that the US is a car-based economy. The bulk of the continent is rural and everyone needs to use them to get from town to town. Unlike Europe with large population centers a small distance apart where public transport is more economical privately owned vehicles are baked into Americana. But when did it start and were there people trying to defy the rise?

Despite the latter days of the nineteenth century being a steam driven age, the biggest form of transport was actually the horse and carriage. It was such a slow method of being transported that people often got out and walk overland to avoid crowded, windy roads, and easily outran a horse-drawn wagon. Horses also added to the amount of manure in big cities. It seems that things were ripe for a change.

While steam travel rose sharply it had its own problem; the smoke from a steam train was a great deal more polluting than the early cars.

The idea of cycling could have taken off, but in many ways, it is harder to cycle than use one of these early cars. Consider the size of a wagon or horse compared to a bicycle for starters. Remember they didn’t have crosswalks, traffic lights, or for the most parts paved roads. Ever ride a bike on cobblestones? Not easy.

The first big issue with cars was the price. Every part of a car had to be scratch built and that is a highly expensive way of building autos. There were no plastic parts either, so you built everything out of steel, brass, or wood—even the dashboard. All that medal and labor were costly. A car cost $1,000, about $30,000 today.

A side effect of all that metal is weight, and with no power steering, it’s no wonder cars were difficult to operate which brings us to the second big difficulty with cars. They broke down a lot, requiring anyone who drove one to also be a mechanic. And fairly intrepid, as they occasionally blew up. The early internal combustion engine wasn’t as perfected as they are now and maintenance wasn’t an exact science.

Although mechanics were in great demand it was not until the Ford assembly line factories that they would get anything like $5 a day, about $130 today. It was not until the process became slick that car builders were paid anything like their true worth.

Since the price already put cars in the luxury category, makers tried to help sell the car with interior trim, giving it a plush look. This was an unfamiliar environment for those accustomed to buckboard, but it allowed cars to compete with the railway carriage for first class travelers.

The other problem for the early car driver was the lack of infrastructure, in other words, the roads. Although tarmac was invented in 1902 it took a long time for it to be the mainstay of roads, in America, the longest roads resembled trails for a long time. Even when the cities had tarmac it would take decades for interstate highways to be created.

It was an industry finding its feet. The fact that the automobile pushed through to success is a function of the American dream, families all searching for freedom and the ability to travel. By no coincidence, it was during the great era the 1950s that the car completely replaced horse and steam as the main form of transportation for most Americans.

 

Best of the Web: Buick Y

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Why the ‘Y-Job’ — Harley Earl and the Buick Dream Car

by the fully retractable Albert Mroz

 

Perhaps the real question you might be asking is, “Who was Harley Earl?” Well, this well-crafted post by Albert Mroz is truly an expose of a creative genius which does eventually answer the question in the title. It’s a fun read and it’s worthy of our best of the web series.

For complete story read the original at the link below.

http://www.prewarbuick.com/features/why_the_y_job

The Rise and Fall of the Motor Town

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When you think of motors and motor manufacture you think of Detroit. Nowadays though it is like a ghost town with many abandoned factories. The Big Three factories were all based here, namely General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, but the place is full of so many remains of old car factories that it is hard to chronicle properly. But let’s start at the beginning.

The very earliest factory in Detroit was in 1899 and was called the Detroit Automobile Company. It only lasted two years and the cars and trucks weren’t that impressive, especially as the cars manufactured looked like they were made with baby-buggy wheels. At that point, cars weren’t thought to replace the horse and carriage and no one was looking at them as economically viable.

Only slightly later the Packard Automotive Plant was built in Detroit; 1903. Based on the East Grand Boulevard it still stands as a huge urban sprawl of concrete. Although it closed in 1953 businesses were still using the space up to the 1990s.

Although everyone associates the Ford Motor Company with the Model T Ford these were built in Highland Park, Michigan in 1908. Having said that he did have a factory in Detroit also in 1903 in Mack Avenue but it took some time to be as large as the Packard factory. Ford had put money into the Detroit Automobile Company too but the Model T would be a real turning point for him.

The biggest Ford factory in Detroit was the Rouge Factory or Rouge Complex built between 1917 and 1928. To date, this is the largest factory in the world and went on to inspire car factories all around the globe. It is currently a museum to the history of car manufacture and innovation in general. It is not unremarkable that Detroit still holds their automobile heritage in high esteem.

The Chrysler factory was also known as the Dodge Main Plant. To be technical, the Dodge brothers owned the factory before Chrysler but that’s just the story of car manufacturers, takeovers and more takeovers. The Dodge brand was originally about working cars, vans and trucks such as the Texaco tanker. In about 1939 it became a more luxurious brand (although all cars from this point look rather stylish).

The factory closed in 1979 and became the site of a General Motors factory building cars like the Cadillac, though it looks like even the GM factory will be demolished this year. Chrysler had been merged with Daimler in 1998. In 2014 Fiat went into partnership with Chrysler to create further Dodges, such as the Dodge Dart. It’s sad that they are no longer associated with Detroit.

There are plans for a new car factory in Detroit building the Grand Cherokee and the Jeep, ironically on the site of Ford’s Mack Avenue car factory. Of course, the SUVs won’t be ready until next year, but the investment in Detroit is the main thing. So maybe Detroit’s love affair with the car will remain.

 

Chauffeur Driven Limos

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What could be more stylish than a chauffeur-driven limousine greeting you from the airport? The business is all about creating a positive experience which needs to operate 365 days a year, even Christmas Day. But what is the life of a chauffeur all about?

Becoming a Chauffeur:

I addition to passing a background check many chauffeurs have to take a comprehensive test as well. Then they need to gain the knowledge of the streets they will work on and usually have to know them backward. In fact, training is ongoing as construction and driving patterns change with time, and different customers require different services en route.

Types of Gigs:

In some cities, a Limo is nearly as affordable as a taxi and many Limos serve the airport commuter, but we also think of the party limo which is rented by teens going to prom or bachelors/bachelorettes for their last big bacchanal before they settle down for good (or 7 years whichever comes first).

stretch-limousine-2714963_1920These days Limo companies typically diversify into specialty party limos for these gigs. You might see a stretch hummer with a built-in hot tub on the streets of Los Vegas, but smaller towns will still push their basic black stretch into double duty from Friday nights black tie to Saturday nights stag party.

The key to a party/airport driver might simply be patience. If you can drive and you are longsuffering this could be your calling, and the tips aren’t bad either.

The upscale driver will also do Corporate Services, and some chauffeurs work in the diplomatic services. These Limos are now outfitted with access to TV news and radio while you are driving along – well access to radio isn’t that new, but you get the gist. Onboard wifi for internet access isn’t unheard of.

These drivers still need to know where the best places to relax in the city are, but will also know how to find the opera hall and the bank tower buildings. So again training is vital.

Communications:

In the old days communications were down by CB radio, which we probably think of more with taxis, but no, they were also a mainstay in Limos as the company needed to know the whereabouts of their car at all times and provide updates about traffic and road conditions. If this seems counter-intuitive, just think about how often a business person has a change of schedule or a gang of drunks decides to switch clubs. The company needs to receive updates. Also, they need to give them, because speed bumps and potholes that are an inconvenience in a taxis, present a bad limo ride experience and cause costly damage. Of course, now the mobile phone fills in for the CB radio.

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History of Limos and Chauffeurs:

The limousine has a longer history than you might think of being named after the town of Limousin, found in Central France. The most noticeable feature is the partition between the driver and the chauffeur. In Germany, a limousine is referred to a Sedan, though in other countries, sedans refer to a more generalized type of car.

The stretch limo has surprisingly workaday origins, created as it was by a  coach company in Fort Smith, Arkansas and was used by Big Band Leaders. It seems to show that it always had been about style rather than substance, a fun way to travel rather than something more presidential.

Early types of the limousine were the berline and the brougham. The berline takes its name from a type of horseless carriage and began with the driver in the open air and the passenger in the roofed area.  The Brougham was similar but had the driver in the center of the vehicle using a steering wheel which was on a pivot which seems a hell of a job to maneuver. The evolution was to improve life not only for the passenger but also for the chauffeur.

Personality Types for a Chauffeur:

Unlike taxi drivers, chauffeurs know where they are going before the day and can plan for it. So you don’t require quite as much desire for an unscripted workplace. Limo drivers’ personality tends to be available but not too sociable as they need to know when to keep quiet. The other three primary character needs are knowledgeable, professional and prompt.

prom-264219_1920We have this mental picture of chauffeurs as crisply professionals though that is not always the complete picture. Whole books have been written talking about unreliable drivers who are not given adequate rest breaks, so accidents are waiting to happen, such as a 1908 book called Motor Age. As with anything, you get what you pay for.

Another interesting character trait often found in chauffeurs is natural networkers, One reason is that chauffeurs be the last profession to rely on word of mouth to get new clients? Lately, though, everything seems to need to surrender to social media, and limo drivers remain avid networkers. So it’s likely that the profession draws people who like to be near people of influence.

Wherever you want to go, be it a concert, the airport or just round in a circle it is reassuring to know that there is someone to drive you.

Winter Roads and Ice Roads

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Most of the time when we’re talking about winter weather and roads we’re talking about getting rid of it’s effects on the road to improve safety. However, there is a type of road which is built over snow or a similar substance called a winter road due to their reliance on seasonal climate. A special type of winter road is called ice road and this is what the majority of this article is in reference to.

If you live in a temperate region you may live your whole life without seeing an ice road. It is a road built over a frozen lake or even a bay of the ocean, though the word “road” may be pushing it somewhat.

Ice roads can be permanent or temporary–some only exist between late Fall and early Spring. Even when they are melted the lack of vegetation in a specific part of the water shows where the road used to be.

But why use an ice road when you can wait until the thaw occurs? As with many other things it comes down to expense. It’s cheaper to transport things by truck than by air freight. The other concern is that for some items, carrying by air is impractical. But the basic reason is the old adage, “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” If you can drive straight across a lake instead of taking a twisty road around it and a mountain you save a lot of time and fuel.

Making an Ice Road

In order to keep the road as traversable as it can be this routes are often snow plowed. Most people consider ice to be level, but not all types of water being frozen provide a level surface–snowplowing helps make it level.

To create a road takes more than plowing a couple lanes. Often you need to thicken the ice by drilling holes at intervals. The water from these holes floods out and in turn thickens the ice.

The vehicles on the ice road tend to be big trucks, though smaller pickups are also used. The speed limit for ice road is about 25 mph to help prevent the truck from falling through the ice.

Because you can’t just drive out onto most lakes you need some bizarre engineering. One way is a ramp made of slush. It doesn’t sound like a good solution, but it seems to work.

History of Ice Roads

Perhaps the most famous ice road in history is the 900-day siege of Leningrad. In June of 1941, the German and Finnish Army attacked and ultimately blockaded the city where many munitions were manufactured for the Red Army. The attempt to starve out the army and inhabitants failed in large part to allies driving supplies across Lake Ladoga at night. The Nazi Army simply didn’t think anyone was crazy enough to do it so they didn’t waste bombs breaking up the ice.

The ice roads in Canada have a long history going back to the 1930s. These weren’t used by trucks though but by caterpillar sleds. A number of them can be traced back to Al Hamilton of Grimshaw Transport, which still exists. Their main business is to transport fish from the topmost parts of Canada to the USA and beyond. These roads have since been improved by other trucking companies.

What’s in a Driver’s License?

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Sixteen is the minimum age for issuing driver’s license in most states, but there are states in which you can be younger and states where you need to be older. It wasn’t always the case.

Brief History

The first licensed vehicle was in 1901 in New York and it took another seventeen years before all states issued license plates. Licensed drivers, however, were harder to come by, in 1935 for example only 39 states issued licenses and barely any needed a test.

There were no driving schools at this time, incidentally. People were taught by the YMCA, high schools and similar organizations. Even now, some schools still teach their students to drive. Even if your school does not, you may still be entitled to reduced insurance rates so it is worth starting early.

Types of Licenses

The license that most people own is called “unrestricted” which allows you to drive most vehicles, provided that you don’t ply for hire. The various types include restricted, chauffeur, motorcycle and so on, which some states call endorsements since they’re added to a basic driver’s license.

Hardship licenses are especially interesting in that they are for teenagers between 14 and 18 who have to drive themselves back and forth to school or work. They are issued if their family has medical or financial needs which prevent them from driving. There’s a different type of hardship license issued for those which would be otherwise a suspended or revoked unrestricted license.

The provisional license is another form of beginner’s license, issued to the newly qualified, usually between 14-17 years old. This type of license doesn’t let you drive at night or and restricts the number of passengers.

Professional Licenses

A chauffeur’s license is slightly misnamed as most states require them for other forms of passenger transport like a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Usually, you do have to be over 25 to be awarded this type of license.school-buses-2801134_1920

You may also need CDL endorsement to drive specific vehicles, such as a tractor with a trailer or a bus. There are other types of endorsements needed for hazardous materials, vehicles carrying bulk liquids and so on. It’s very complex. For example, a liquid such as diesel is flammable & combustible which is an upgrade from mere flammable. It’s also an upgrade from a liquid endorsement, which requires extra stopping distance when transported in large quantities.

Testing

The test is both written and driving (or practical). There is an additional visual test required. It is recommended that if have glasses or contact lenses normally that you wear them for the test, as it is to give an idea of your usual driving state.

As well as these three parts there may be additional courses, for instance, drugs awareness, traffic awareness and so on.

It is also a good idea to know the validity of your driver’s permit and to get another one should you need it. They are conditional and they expire. (In other words, if something is stopping you getting a full driver’s license). Making a mistake while driving with a permit could result in a severe delay in getting your full license.

As Identification

The advantage of owning an enhanced license doesn’t involve driving. It means that your license can be used as a document for establishing US nationality. Many states that border Canada have begun issuing this type of license to reduce the need for a passport when traveling to such a friendly neighboring nation.

You also need to show proof of identity in order to prove who you are and where you live. If you’re taking the test while under age 18 many states need proof that you are attending school.

The license is all about the freedom of the road, as long as you remember everyone else too!