How To Choose A Driving School
In spite of the alarming statistics regarding teen drivers, some parents don't put enough thought into choosing a driving school for their teen. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that the crash rate per mile driven is up to four times higher for teenagers than for older adults. Too many parents simply choose a driving school that's cost effective. But quality driving instruction can make the difference between life and death. Studies conducted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety have concluded that the accident rates of students who graduated from the New Driver Car-Control Clinic in Melbourne, Florida were lower in a four year time period by 77 percent than the accident rates among 15 to 19 year-olds overall.
Parents should have their teenager complete a driver's training and safety class not only to improve their driving skills but to help lower their car insurance costs as well. But completing a class is only the beginning. Refresher classes in the future may also be needed as the basics in a driver's education course are only the beginning. There are a lot of driver's education courses available and some will obviously be better than others. The following are six areas to keep in mind when selecting the best driving school for your teen.
1. State Standards for Licensing
Most states require a certain amount of time spent in the classroom as well as the required time actually driving. Don't just listen to an advertisement for the driving school. Make sure the program you choose meets the standards of the state you live in. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles in each state can be contacted to find out the requirements for obtaining a license.
2. The Reputation of the School
Find out who operates the driving school and what his or her credentials and background may be. Check to see if the school has received disciplinary actions for any violations. The Better Business Bureau is a good place to start. Check to see if the school belongs to any professional organizations. Don't be afraid to ask the school for references and then check them out to see what experiences other families have had.
3. The Quality of the Instructors
Select a driving school that has instructors who have gained experience and education beyond the most basic requirements. According to AAA the instructors at the school should have successfully completed at least three professional development classes. If you're not satisfied with your teen's instructor, request that another instructor be assigned.
4. What's Included in the Courses
Before enrolling in any school be sure to ask for a syllabus to see exactly how the course will be conducted. Programs should be well-rounded and expose drivers to a wide range of situations that they may encounter while driving. There should be a gradual increase in difficulty as the course progresses. Some schools set up courses to test a driver's specific skills when on the road. The school may take students to a track to simulate actual driving experiences. Make sure the class covers other basics in driver's education such as how to handle emergencies and not to drive under the influence.
5. The Kind of Vehicles Used
It's important to check the age and condition of the vehicles used in the driving program. It's a good idea to have kids learn to drive in cars that are similar to what they'll be driving when the courses are over. Most driving programs use smaller cars because they're easier to handle. Above all, safety should be the prime concern. The cars should be recent models and in good shape.
Find out how much the fees are for each course and what kind of refund policy the program offers. Will your teen be able to make up classes if he or she needs to miss for any reason?