Driving without a license is illegal and can be a costly mistake. In addition to some steep fines, it can land your car in the impound lot and you in the pokey. Not to mention the fact that it can lead to gaps in your insurance coverage, which in turn lead to higher car insurance rates.

Nonetheless, thousands of drivers are cited each year for driving without a license. And according to a 2008 AAA study, unlicensed drivers are involved in 1 out of 5 fatal crashes.

So why are so many drivers hitting the road without a license? And more important, how can you avoid becoming one of them? Well, people can have their drivers license suspended for a variety of reasons, but here are the 6 most common:

  1. Accumulating too many points on a driving record. In New York, for example, drivers who accumulate 11 points or more within an 18-month period are summoned to a hearing and may have their drivers license suspended or revoked.
  2. Getting one or more serious moving violations, like reckless driving, hit-and-run, or DUI.
  3. Driving before you get a license. (If you’re caught driving before you ever have a license, it could make it harder for you to get a license down the road.)
  4. Having a physical impairment, such as seizures.
  5. Failing a state-mandated vision exam.
  6. Refusing to take a blood alcohol test. States have implied consent laws stipulating that drivers must agree to a chemical test when a police officer requests one.

By simply driving safely and obeying the rules of the road, you can cut your chances of having your drivers license suspended or revoked in half. Worth it when you consider how much time, hassle, and downright misery it can save you in the long run.

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Find out more about the legal and financial implications of driving without a license.

Safe and smart | Travel hacks

about Merrie

Merrie attended Northwestern University and previously worked in entertainment. Currently, she lives in San Francisco, where she continues her commitment to food sampling at farmers markets and “Dr. Who” marathons.