How to Pick a Driving School for Your Teenager
Did you know drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to get in a fatal crash than drivers aged 20 or older? Luckily, a solid driving education can help minimize the chances of a crash occurring at all.
When looking for the best driving school for your teenager, make sure to follow these tips.
Do Your Research
Does the school have the right licenses? Do they meet the state-mandated requirements? In Arizona, every instructor has to have at least 100 hours of training and complete a background check through MVD (Motor Vehicle Division) to become a certified instructor, after which they receive a unique instructor number.
As a parent, you have a right to ask about the facility’s qualifications, but right away, if you notice there are not any certifications displayed on the walls or they can’t give you that instructor’s certification number, that school isn’t the right one for your teenager. Every driving school must post their certificates for parents to view.
You might also talk with other parents or check out different review sites. While word-of-mouth shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, it’s helpful to hear what others have to say about their and their children’s experiences.
Ask About In-Class and Behind-the-Wheel Learning Times
Some schools might claim they can teach your teenager in a shorter amount of time, or guarantee passing your student on the road evaluation, but this is a warning sign, not a selling point. Mastering basic driving skills takes many hours of training inside the classroom and out on the road, so make sure the driving school’s courses meet the required lengths. Good schools encourage practicing between lessons, and spacing out lessons to allow for practice. A school with a wait time to get scheduled is a school worth the wait. Plan ahead, especially during school breaks, and book out lessons to allow for practice.
MVD mandates driving courses to provide at least 30 hours of classroom instruction to receive a written test waiver for a permit, and 10 hours of behind-the-wheel training for a road test waiver to receive a license. Any courses with fewer hours put teenagers at risk by taking away critical learning opportunities.
Tip: In addition to checking the training hours, ask about the curriculum. Will your teen be practicing in different types of driving situations, or will they just end up circling the neighborhood? A good school will encourage complex and freeway driving, building on the student’s skill level for each lesson.
Check Out the Facilities and Vehicles
You can tell a lot about a driving school by getting a feel for the classrooms and vehicles. Established schools have offices for parents and students to stop in at and have their own classrooms to facilitate in class education.
When it comes to the vehicles used for hands-on learning, make sure the school is using newer models that have proper safety features, such as curtain airbags. MVD requires all certified vehicles to have an extra brake and mirror on the passenger side for the Instructor to use. If the vehicle doesn’t have this basic equipment, it isn’t certified to be used for instruction.
Look for Parental Involvement
At the end of the day, it’s your child getting behind the wheel, so you want to ensure you’re involved in the training process. Plus, you’ll be working with your child at home to reinforce what was learned in school, so a clear line of communication is critical. Ask the school how they plan to keep you in the loop. Ideally, they should provide you with feedback after each driving lesson so you’re better equipped to support your teenager.
Here at Stop and Go Driving School, we have the expertise and experience your teenager needs to stay safe as they begin their driving journey. Book one of our driving courses today or contact us today to learn more about why parents choose Stop and Go.