Learning to drive is a monumental achievement. The task of driving is a big one full of numerous steps, checks, and rules to remember. So it makes sense to have solid training before you get behind the wheel, right?
But where do you get that training? You have a lot of choices when it comes to driving schools, and if you don’t have a personal reference and are choosing a driving school online, it might be hard to tell a high quality school from a so-so one.
Here are some important questions to ask as you evaluate your options and to help you decide which driving school is the right one for you or your teen driver.
What kind of driver training do you need?
Driving schools typically cater to two types of students: New drivers who need behind-the-wheel training, in addition to classroom instruction; and defensive drivers who need to improve their driving skills.
If you need to acquire your driver license, then brush up on the requirements in your state for drivers education. For example, in Arizona, teens are required to have a total of 30 hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel driving practice (20 hours of daytime driving and 10 hours of nighttime driving). It can be beneficial to have many of those hours covered during in-car driver training with an instructor.
If you already have your license but are looking for defensive driving courses, you’ll want to find a driving school that offers those courses.
Is the school certified and does it meet other requirements?
Most states, including Arizona, require that a driving school be registered and licensed in the state. Both the school owner and the instructors must be licensed. In addition, schools must have car insurance on all motor vehicles used in driving instruction.
What is the in-classroom curriculum and what are lessons like?
Arizona has a state-mandated curriculum for classroom instruction, but driving lessons can follow the curriculum set by the school. Be sure to ask for information about what is taught during training.
For classroom instruction, you may also want to find out what the student-teacher ratio is, what the expectations are of the students, and what the classroom environment is like. Don’t be afraid to visit the facility in person or ask to see a classroom. A good driving school will accommodate all your questions.
How long are the in-car driving lessons and what do they focus on?
In-car instruction is the best way to prepare students and teach them safe driving skills. Ask for a list of skills that will be worked on during the driving portion of the instruction. Follow-up is just as important. Look for a school that will involve the parents or guardians, as well, by giving a full report following each lesson and letting parents know what their teen should work on.
What are the cars like that are used for instruction?
Check that the vehicles used are newer models, that they have all been inspected recently, and that they are equipped with safety features, such as in-car cameras, GPS, and a brake pedal on the trainer side of the vehicle. Safety should be the number one priority for driving schools when it comes to the vehicles they use.
What experience do the instructors have?
Experienced trainers should be more than licensed. They should also be calm, patient and encouraging, while able to firmly teach driving skills. In addition, look for schools whose trainers have successfully completed background checks, obtained fingerprint clearance, and been drug tested, in addition to extensive teaching training.
Are the locations convenient?
It may be helpful for you if a particular driving school has multiple locations for you to select from. Many driving schools prefer to pick up students from their homes for in-car instruction, so be sure to ask about that, as well.
Is the driving test part of the instruction?
Being able to take a driving test as part of the final in-car lesson is convenient and brings peace of mind to the student, who has familiarity with the person administering the test because it’s their driving instructor. Many students prefer this option.
Stop and Go Driving School is your one-stop destination for helping students progress from new driver to safe and experienced driver. Learn more about our Driver’s Education programs and other courses. Of course, we welcome questions! Contact us to ask any questions you may have.