In the UK, you have to pass a written exam on driving and road rules before you're allowed to take the actual driving test - does this happen in the US too? Where do you go to take the test, the DMV, or in school during Drivers Ed class? What about people learning to drive who aren't taking Drivers Ed?
I was always fascinated hearing about Drivers Ed. In the UK we don't have anything like that in schools; people hire an instructor via an independent driving school and all the instruction is one-on-one in the car. People are expected to buy the Highway Code and learn the theory stuff in their own time. Do you have independent driving schools, where you can phone and an instructor brings a car to your house for a lesson, or is learning to drive mostly done via Drivers Ed and relatives? I think we should have Drivers Ed, it sounds like a much more sensible idea.
There are a variety of ways to learn how to drive in the US.
Many high schools have driver's ed classes, where the theory and rules of the road are taught in a classroom setting, and driving practice is provided on the road, usually in a special car with dual controls.
There are separate, private driving schools that offer both classroom and on-the-road instruction.
You can also, if you want, take just the on-the-road instruction from a driving school, and learn the rules/read the manual on your own. The driving school with send a car and instructor to your house. The car will have dual controls. (This is an expensive option.) There are insurance discounts for teenagers to take a formal class, but for adults, those discounts usually don't exist, so they may opt for just the on-the-road instruction.
Your parents/other responsible adult can teach you how to drive. This involves getting your learner's permit. Once you have that, you can drive as long as there is a licensed driving sitting next to you (there may be other conditions that need to be met, but those are state-by-state). You then read the manual on your own.
The tests are usually given by the state Department/Registry of Motor Vehicles. There's a "written" test, which for me was 15 multiple choice questions on a touch screen computer. If you pass the written part of the test, you then get in your car with someone from the DMV, who tells you where to drive and what to do. My driving test was very simple. I drove around the neighborhood of the DMV office, stopped at a few stop signs, had to make a turn from a one lane street onto a two lane street, had to parallel park, had to back into a parking space. Never got on the highway or even into heavy traffic.