Driver’s Ed Programs That Really Work
There is some anecdotal evidence that river’s ed helps. DMV officials queried for an Oregon study said learner’s permit applicants taught by professionals made better decisions and paid more attention to details than would-be drivers who had been, well, home-schooled. “Those who have not had driver’s ed pick up the bad habits of parents,” said one official interviewed for the report.
Choosing a School
Look for driver education programs that teach
* ways to reduce risk
* hazard recognition
* vehicle handling
* space management
* speed management
Too often, courses are focused on only passing the driving test and don’t address the most critical skills, so it is up to parents to select a good course.
American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association (ADTSEA) CEO Allen Robinson said you should expect to pay $250-$350 for a comprehensive private course that will stress both safety and building basic skills. Anything less than that, he said, and your teen driver is getting less-than-thorough training.
Look for schools that:
· Offer at least 36 hours of instruction spread over at least nine weeks
· Devote at least six hours of that total to on-the-road training, spread out over several days
· Have a written curriculum or study plan that the instructor can share with you. Look for signs that the course is designed to develop lifetime habits and skills, not just prepare your teen to pass the test
· Welcome suggestions, and have a few of their own for parents who want to reinforce the messages about safety and driver competence
Ask other parents whose teen drivers have taken public or private courses for their recommendations.
When you narrow your choices, check out the condition and age of the school’s equipment — its training cars, classroom simulators and computer software.
The Case for More Driving Training
Teen drivers interviewed for an Oregon study had two overwhelming requests of driver training – shorter, more interactive classes and more hours on the road.
This has prompted automakers to launch free programs to help teens gain unique, first-hand experience.
“Advanced driving courses”, which teach skid control, high-speed maneuvering and operating on a wet surface are concern for some. Former IIHS researchers Allan Williams and Sue Ferguson say advanced driving courses for brand-new drivers may produce a higher crash rate by creating overconfidence or by prompting teens to look for hazardous driving opportunities to try out their freshly learned “skills.”
But those who teach such programs to teens disagree. Bill Wade, national program manager of driver training sponsored by the BMW Car Club of America and Tire Rack believes “skid control and those associated skills are critical to be taught in a controlled setting because this is the only way you get exposed to this element of vehicle dynamics. As the saying goes, ‘Experience is what you get right after you needed it.'”
Parents in the Passenger Seat
Parents can and should stay involved even if they’re not technically teaching basic driving skills. Check your teen driver’s progress by riding with them on weekends, between driver’s ed classes and by monitoring driving later on.Whether you’re teaching your teen to drive or handing it over to a professional, driver’s education should be a family affair.