Becoming a licensed driver is the biggest milestones in your teen’s life so far. While it represents freedom and adulthood to your child, it is a scary proposition for you. Fortunately, you can help your child develop good driving skills. While many public and private schools offer driving instruction as part of the curriculum, other American teens must attend a driving school in order to start on their path to a driver’s license. Laws regarding the legal age for obtaining a learner’s permit and a driver’s license vary by state. Requirements for driver training (both in the classroom and on the road) also vary. Many, but not all, states require driver’s education for teens under 18. Before you teen starts driving you should familiarize yourself with your state’s laws and regulations. Then start school shopping. So what should you look for in a quality driving school? Here are some of the steps that you should follow:
- Personal recommendations: Ask other parents and teens about their experiences with certain Some schools follow the minimum requirements set by your state while others go above and beyond and have a strong focus on safety. Asking parents and their teens for their opinions on a particular school gives you a pretty good feeling for whether or not the school focuses on safety, or wants your child to have fun in class so that they will recommend the school to others.
- Professional associations, licensure, and business practices: Driving school licenses are public record. Your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles should be able to confirm that the school is properly licensed. You should also check professional associations such as the American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA.org) and The Driving School Association of the Americas (thedssa.org). Membership in these organizations and similar state organizations shows a commitment to updated training. Finally, check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company.
- Tuition and fees: Don’t automatically reject a school because they are the most expensive. Compare actual programs. If a school is more expensive but your child gets more driving time, or the cars are newer and safer, that may be an appropriate trade-off for the price. Make sure that there are no hidden fees.
- Length of the program: Program lengths are determined in part by state requirements. A certain number of in-class hours are required. Look at schedules and see how many weeks a class meets, and for how many hours at a time. Find out what works for your child’s schedule.
- The quality of the classroom program: Are videos and movies used? Are state-supplied materials being used appropriately? This driving school Melbourne website contains good tutorials. Visit a class in session. Is the instructor professional? Is the classroom clean and organized? Are the training materials up-to-date? Do they provide for a parent session, and do parents receive tools for their use in supervising their child’s driving?
- Driving time: How is driving time scheduled and rescheduled if necessary? Do students drive alone with the instructor? If you child is a teenaged girl, this may make you uncomfortable. Where are students dropped off and picked up? At the driving school, home or their school? How many hours does each student have behind the wheel, and does it include night driving and highway driving?
- School policies: Find out how the school handles payment, absences, refunds, and makeup classes as well as weather cancellation
It can be a lot of work to find just the right school, but it is completely worth it when you are setting the foundation for your child’s driving future. You want to give your teen his or her best chance at becoming a responsible driver and staying safe.