Different ways to learn to drive
Where to learn to drive and what to expectLearning to drive is one of the biggest markers in many teenagersí lives. They canít wait to get themselves to where they want to go without depending on parents or siblings for a ride. They want to learn to drive. Now.
Learning to drive is a process and a major responsibility. How someone gets there, comfortable and confident behind the wheel, is not always easy.
There are a few different ways to learn to drive. Whether youíre feeling excited, anxious or a little of both, itís a good idea to be familiar with all of your options and choose the one best suited to how you learn.
High school Drivers Ed courses will teach you the rules of the road and the general knowledge you will need to pass the written exam, but only the way to become a safe driver is to get behind the wheel with an adult.
In many states, teens qualify for a learnerís permit once they turn 16 or 17 years of age, which allows them to drive on the road as long as there is a licensed adult in the car. At this time, many parents teach their teens to drive while others hire an independent instructor or enroll in a driving course. Learning to drive can be a high-stress situation at first so itís important for the student to be comfortable with her instructor.
Different ways to learn to drive
Learning to Drive from a Parent
Many people are taught to drive from a parent. Though parents can be as nervous about their kid driving as the kid, they choose to take an active role in their kidís driverís education for the following reasons:
* Kids observe their parentsí driving skills every day. Naturally, their attitude about driving is already influenced by their parents.
* Many states require 30-40 hours of practice behind the wheel. Driving schools do not provide this much practice and hiring an instructor for this many hours can be expensive.
* About 7% of drivers on the road are teens, but 14% of fatal accidents involve teens. Parents make it their business to teach their new drivers safe driving skills and make sure they thoroughly practice every skill and potential situation.
* Many teens feel more comfortable with their parents so theyíre more likely to ask questions or express concerns.
For parents, AAA offers a video or CD-ROM called ĎTeaching Your Teens to Drive: a Partnership for Survivalí.
Hire an Independent Instructor
Hiring an independent driving instructor gives a teenager a focused one-on-one environment so the student can learn at his own pace. You can find instructors online, but the best way to choose a professional is through word of mouth. If you donít know anyone who can recommend an instructor, ask candidates for references.
The advantage of learning to drive from an independent instructor is that many teach with dual controls and have quick reaction times. If the student makes a mistake, no one gets hurt because the instructor takes control of the car.
A good independent instructor begins the student on back roads to assess his comfort level and ability. Gradually, the instructor will direct the student to busier roads where they can learn and practice one skill at a time.
Take a Driving School Course
The biggest advantage of learning to drive at a driving school is that in many states teensí auto insurance costs are reduced if they complete a driverís course. Many driving schools offer discounts so this is often a more affordable option than hiring a private instructor. For parents who donít have the temperament to teach their kids themselves, driving school is a good choice, especially for kids who excel in a group environment.
The disadvantages to driving school are dependent on the specific instructor. Driving school instructors get a bad rep. In the class situation, studentsí donít have as much room to learn at their own pace, ask questions and build their confidence.
What to Expect from Driving Lessons:
* For parent instructors, consider beginning with short lessons. Both student and teacherís nerves are bound to be high and one of the first skills a student should learn is to be calm behind the wheel.
* The first basic driving skills to master include turning, braking and generally getting a feel for how the car handles. Students should learn to use lights, mirrors, defroster and the windshield wipers, and practice moving in drive and reverse. First lessons often happen in an empty parking lot so the student can focus instead of worrying about hitting something.
* Once a student is on a road, they practice maintaining a constant speed and safe distance from the car ahead.
* As confidence improves, students practice merging, changing lanes, approaching lights and stopping, using on and off ramps on busier roads, and driving in poor weather conditions.
*Students learn to anticipate potential problems from other drivers, and to drive defensively not aggressively.
Learning to drive is an important step in a personís life. If youíre nervous or scared, take your time and donít rush into getting your license. The more you practice with an adult, the more intuitive driving will become. You may even get hooked. Good luck!
Family Education: Teen Driving
Parents: Driving with Teens