So, your teenager has his or her permit and it’s time for them to actually get behind the wheel. If that weren’t scary enough, you’re considering having them drive with a complete stranger: A driving instructor.
Here at Stop and Go Driving School, we get it. Getting a driver license is a highly anticipated and exciting milestone in everyone’s life. At the same time, you know the dangers driving can bring, and you want to make sure that your child’s driving experience starts with a safe driver’s education and trainers you can trust.
Here we answer some common questions and provide information to calm some of the fears expressed by parents who contact us about driving lessons for their teen drivers.
Are the trainers certified and background-checked?
Reputable driving schools do have trainers who are certified, and that is something you should look for. Ours are certified by the Arizona MVD, and in addition, have successfully completed FBI background checks, obtained fingerprint clearance, are randomly drug tested, and have also completed extensive in-car and in-class training.
What other qualifications do the trainers have?
Most of our trainers are former school teachers and law enforcement officers who have thousands of hours of experience teaching students how to drive. Our trainers have continuing classroom education and regular in-car observation so that we can ensure quality instruction and consistent teaching across trainers.
What’s more, they don’t just specialize in driver training; they also specialize in patience. Patience with brand-new drivers is a skill that is really important to us and will help make sure your child is in the best possible learning environment.
Can I meet the trainer in advance?
Parents and students are always welcome to drop into our office at any time to meet our staff, learn more about our trainers, and even schedule lessons. We welcome questions about your trainer, including their qualifications, background, personality, and other things you might want to know that will help you and your teen be comfortable.
Although we don’t set up separate meetings prior to the first lesson, our trainers set aside five to 10 minutes to meet parents at pick up, as well as at drop off after the lesson. During this time, you can ask questions, and the trainer will also report (verbally and with a written scorecard) on how the student did, what skills they worked on, and what they should practice before the next lesson.
Do I drop my child off or will they be picked up?
The trainer will pick up your teen at your address. Our trainers are assigned to specific zip codes, so your student will work with a trainer who works in your zip code. If a student needs to be picked up or dropped off at work or school, this can be arranged by calling the office in advance of the lesson, as long as it’s within the same zip code.
How long are lessons and how many hours of training does my teen need?
We usually do 4 2.5-hour lessons for a total of 10 hours of in-car training.
It’s important to plan on 20-30 hours of driving between each lesson, for an overall 100-plus hours combined practice and training by the time they complete their 10 hours of formal instruction.
What skills are covered during in-car driving instruction?
We start where your child is and build skills as we go, progressively working through different exercises that will prepare them to get their driver license. Some of these skills include:
- Speed control
- Lane changing
- Defensive driving
- Freeway driving
- High-volume traffic driving
- Parking maneuvers, including uphill, downhill and parallel parking
- Three-point turns
Your teen will also get experience driving in a variety of areas, including residential and rural areas, downtown Phoenix, and even the airport.
Are the cars safe and do they have special teaching equipment?
The MVD requires that all driver’s ed vehicles have a second brake, a second mirror, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher. At Stop and Go, we have some additional requirements for our vehicles: GPS with audio and visual recordings so we can track where the vehicle is at all times, a full-size spare tire, jack, and emergency triangles.
Can my teen take their driving test during the instruction?
Yes, a final MVD road evaluation is included in our 10-hour packages. This saves you a trip to the MVD, but more importantly, allows your teen to take the test with the trainer that they’ve grown comfortable with and who knows their driving abilities.
Following the test, your teen can get transportation to an authorized third-party MVD provider to get their physical license. We opt for third-party locations because they have extended days and hours.
What happens if my student doesn’t pass?
It’s ok! It happens. If a student doesn’t pass their road evaluation, you can purchase an additional lesson at a discounted rate or schedule a retest.
What role can I play in helping my teen learn to drive?
Driver’s education is truly a partnership between your family and the trainer. Be sure to read the trainer’s notes and communicate with him or her so you know what your teen needs to practice in between lessons, so they can solidify defensive driving skills, techniques and other safe driving behavior.
Ready to schedule driving lessons for your teen? Check out our driver’s ed in-car packages, and never hesitate to call our office with questions.