[Written by DriversEd.com contributing writer Alexis David, who is keeping an ongoing California online drivers ed diary for us, detailing her experience going through our California online drivers ed course.]
I’ve been taking my drivers ed course in a very leisurely manner, which doesn’t help when I just want to get my permit already! Plus, I find I keep forgetting what I learned if I don’t study regularly.
But, with school ending soon, and summer speeding closer faster than I expected, I’ve been trampled with school work last minute. It’s been hard to balance my California drivers ed course with high school and events, but at last I’ve found some time to catch up. Since my last diary entry, I’ve read about substance abuse, defensive driving, and how to drive in different areas.
Substance Abuse module
I already knew drugs and alcohol were bad and harmful. I know there are plenty of people who “enjoy themselves” by intoxicating themselves or getting high on marijuana. But, I’ve learned it’s much worse when people waste themselves while driving. Drugs can cause hallucinations, drowsiness, and dizziness, and alcohol can cause a person to be drunk.
The effects caused by alcohol and drugs can create an incapable driver. If you know someone is drunk driving, you should be aware of their swerving and be fast to react. If there’s an intoxicated driver, let them pass you. However, if you ever do drink, go with a friend to be a designated driver that’ll take you home. When people intoxicate themselves, not only are they a danger to themselves, they’re making it extremely dangerous for other drivers on the road.
Defensive Driving module
I now know defensive driving is like your mind telling you to, “Be aware, keep your eyes peeled, and react as soon as you can!” while driving. It’s true that you must act alert and plan for the unexpected. While driving, you should always wear seatbelts for any sudden stops or collision. Give room for yourself to maneuver on the road when you drive. Get ready for anything coming your way.
You can’t always prevent everything from coming your way, so if a collision does happen, take deep breaths, and check if people need medical assistance in your car, then check outside and assess damages to the vehicle. If I get in a collision, I’ve learned I need to give my information to the other driver, or the resident whose property I’ve damaged. If the resident is not there, I should leave a note with my name and address for them to contact me back.
At the end of the Defensive Driving module, I watched a movie called “Red Asphalt V”. Let me tell you, it was not an easy movie to watch. The video showed blood and guts from actual collisions. Most of the time, I was covering my eyes because I couldn’t handle the excessive amount of blood shown, the broken bones turned at odd angles, or the crushed frames of cars. I wanted to tell myself that the bodies and crashes I was seeing were fake like in any other R-rated movie. Instead, these were real people who weren’ prepared to be in a horrific collision. In that moment, I realized that driving is always about staying alert, which is why I need to learn more about how to do it to become a safe driver.
City, Rural and Freeway Driving module
These are all places I’ve observed my father driving during our frequent road trips from home to destinations in Southern California during the summer time. I’ve noticed that whether we leave in the morning or night, my dad must drive and be alert. In cities, he has to drive carefully because of pedestrians, stop lights, buses loading and unloading people, drivers coming out of alleyways, stop and go traffic gridlock, and many other people on different roads crossing our path.
On these long trips, my dad may end up driving through the middle of nowhere, where there is just grass, powerlines, a two-way road, and the company of my family. In rural areas, it’s mostly just plants and dirt, meaning there could be unmarked fields or farm-way entrances, dirt roads, and unmarked sides to roads. You still need to stay focused in rural areas, because if you get too relaxed, you might not see a farm vehicle coming into the dirt road!
Lastly, somewhere that appears to test not only the driver’s patience, but also the young passengers that want to enjoy the vacation. The freeway. There’s usually lots of traffic at a faster pace with more cars and more lanes, with more people trying to get to where they want to go. Freeway driving is chaotic, but if you stay focused, have patience, know where you’re going, and how to safely get there, it’ll be a smooth ride.
As I come close to completing my drivers ed course, I feel as if it has gone by incredibly fast. I started drivers ed about six months ago, and I’m almost ready to have my permit, after I pass the examination. I’m at 87%! I’m just hoping I’m as good as I am in this course when it comes to practicing behind the wheel.
Alexis Davis is currently taking eDriving’s California online drivers ed course. The course is now available with three options: Basic, Enhanced and Comprehensive, enabling you to include unlimited practice tests, in-car lessons and personal coaching with your California online drivers ed.
[eDriving's contributory teen writer Amy Tarczynski reviews eDriving's new defensive driving course, One More Second.]
1.2 million people die every year in road crashes. I know that’s terrifying, but scary numbers like that tend to fly right over my head.
So, when I was asked to try out eDriving’s new online defensive driving course, One More Second, and it started out with facts about car crashes, injuries and related costs, I thought, “Great, another boring video about how driving is dangerous.”
As if reading my mind, the narrator responded, “We are pretty sure these facts are nothing new to you and will probably NOT persuade you to think about your own driving style, never mind change it!”
I was instructed to pause and think about what would persuade me to think about my driving style. The narrator went on to say that most people don’t change their driving habits unless something bad happens–either to them or to a loved one.
Have you heard of Murphy’s law? It’s the idea that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. I feel like I have spent my driving career knowing that close calls are bound to happen and hoping that when they do my reaction time will be fast enough to avoid a major collision.
“By learning defensive driving skills, I can significantly reduce my chance of injury on the road.”
BUT, during this course, I discovered there’s a better way to stay safe on the road. There’s a method for anticipating what can go wrong and preventing it from happening: defensive driving. By learning defensive driving skills, I can significantly reduce my chance of injury on the road.
Defensive driving is a set of principles which can be combined with a planned driving system, the correct attitude and skill to guide any driver’s actions. The benefit? Defensive drivers are in control and continually aware of situations around them.
This sounds pretty simple, and the One More Second course emphasized that once you commit to changing your mindset and developing new habits, it becomes a lot easier to avoid trouble on the road.
Despite the simplicity of the concept, I was shocked by how much I didn’t know about driving defensively. The course was sprinkled with quiz questions, many of which I answered wrong on my first attempt. The surprise of seeing my incorrect answers made me pause and finally admit, “Yeah, maybe I could be a better driver.”
By the time I reached some of the other interactive activities in the course, I was hooked. When observing a driving scene from a bird’s eye view, it’s easy to anticipate dangers about to happen. You’re removed from the situation, you can see everyone involved, and you are paying close attention. So, when an animated cyclist circumvents a parked car at the last second, it’s no surprise that a closely trailing vehicle must swerve to avoid hitting the cyclist.
“Immediately practicing new techniques made me feel like I was absorbing the material as well as if I was being taught by an instructor in a moving car.”
It turns out that anticipating danger is more difficult when you’re right in the thick of it. The course’s challenging in-car simulations put me into the driver’s seat, from where I was tasked with identifying impending threats. I found these challenges difficult at first, but as the course went on I could feel my observation skills improving. Immediately practicing new techniques made me feel like I was absorbing the material as well as if I was being taught by an instructor in a moving car.
Another thing I liked about One More Second was that it didn’t feel like I had to remember every single tip to get a lot out of the course. It had clear and memorable takeaways about things like attitude shift and hazard identification. I’m confident that takeaways such as these, combined with some of the specific techniques in the course, will make me feel a lot safer the next time I get behind the wheel.
In just two hours One More Second teaches advanced defensive driving skills to make sure all drivers are ready for whatever the road brings! It is perfect for parents preparing to teach their teens to drive and perfect for teens who want to continue to gain skill and confidence behind the wheel.
[eDriving's contributory teen writer Grace Keller talks about why we're all guilty of distracted driving behaviors and shares her own methods for avoiding distractions behind the wheel. Read Grace's Drivers Ed Diary here.]
Though I may be young for someone driving, I feel it’s important for me to set one thing straight. It’s one thing to be adjusting the volume on the car radio while driving, or maybe rolling down your windows, but when I start to see snapchat stories of my peers taking videos while driving, or a friend texting me back when I know they’re driving home, that sets off some serious alarms for me.
Not only do these things make me incredibly worrisome for my peers, but they’re also indications that these drivers are not mature enough or responsible enough to be on the roads. Despite this though, we’re all guilty of these distracted driving behaviors while driving – no matter what we might think. Every time you let yourself sing a little too loudly to the music on the radio, every time you’re eating your breakfast while driving since you’re running a little bit late, and every time you answer that phone call or text message.
In my personal opinion (and I would hope many others) a car is no place for tweeting, snapping, instagramming, texting, or even just getting a little bit preoccupied looking for the perfect song to play while driving down the highway. Unless of course, you’re not the one driving said car, and you’re not becoming a distraction for the driver. Of course, I’m no expert on this either. I still have a long way to go in my knowledge as a driver. But, this knowledge only comes from experience.
Tips for avoiding distracted driving behaviors
To keep myself from getting distracted while driving, I usually throw my backpack in the back seat with my phone and all my other potential distractions in it, so that I don’t even become tempted. Though I admit it can be difficult – I mean, we’re all living in a very high-tech society where we feel the need to constantly be plugged into our social media, group-chats, etc., but whatever it is you need to look at or check up on can wait.
Another way to keep yourself from getting distracted behind the wheel is pulling off the road if you’re feeling drowsy, to avoid falling asleep or becoming less aware of your surroundings due to exhaustion. Other tips include limiting the number of passengers in the car, not eating while driving, and saving your multi-tasking for outside the car and off the road.
In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed by distracted driving, and 391,000 people were injured by it. During the daytime, about 660,000 drivers were preoccupied with their cell phones while driving, and teens were the biggest age group involved in this (Source: NHTSA). Hopefully these statistics show that distracted driving is a serious issue, and a seriously dangerous one, too.
It’s completely beyond me why anyone would even think to text someone back when they’re on the highway – it just puts your life in risk, as well as the lives of others. Knowing how many people’s lives are risked when distracted driving is at play, and how serious this issue truly is, it’s important to do whatever we can to lessen these deaths and injuries by being responsible when behind the wheel, and saving the distractions for somewhere else – not on the road.
This blog post has been published in support of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. To coincide with the campaign, eDriving has launched a new Distracted Driving Center where you can find everything you need to know about distracted driving and eliminating distracted driving behaviors.
[Written by eDriving's contributing teen writer Amy Tarczynski, who shares some key facts about distracted driving, along with her personal advice for staying focused on the road. Read Amy's last article about getting her drivers license.]
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This year, especially, road safety ought to be everyone’s top priority. 2016 brought a staggering 40,000 deaths due to car crashes. That’s 14% higher than the 2014 rate (National Safety Council). To stay safe as a driver in 2017, here are some facts worth noting:
Texting is one of the worst distractions for any driver. Nevertheless, 88% of millennial drivers (19-24) admit to engaging in risky behavior such as texting while driving (AAA). It is astonishing how many of us do something that we know is bad. Challenge yourself not to conform to the statistic because it’s your life at stake. Be self-disciplined about putting your phone away, and you’ll be safer for it.
Crashes are not usually caused by a lack of driver ability. In fact, in 19 out of 20 collisions, there’s something that at least one driver could have done to prevent the crash (NHTSA). While it’s easier to see in retrospect how a collision could have been avoided, there’s still plenty you can do to reduce your risk of a car crash before one happens. For example, putting your phone away, keeping focused on the road, and keeping in mind defensive driving techniques, such as the 15 best practices identified in eDriving’s SMART Driving Guide.
As you take caution on slippery roads during any April showers, make your focus your top priority. You can’t control everything when you’re behind the wheel, but you can pay attention. By saying no to distractions–namely, putting away your phone–you keep yourself ready to act when surprises come your way. In fact, if you’re focused on the road, nothing that happens should be a surprise.
This blog post has been published in support of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. To coincide with the campaign, eDriving has launched a new Distracted Driving Center where you can find more facts about distracted driving, take a distracted driving quiz and learn how to drive distraction free.
[Written by DriversEd.com contributing writer Alexis David, who is keeping an ongoing California drivers ed diary for us, detailing her experiences going through our California online drivers ed course.]
It’s funny how you can connect events in your life to movies. You can connect it to feelings, or cliché moments, or a similar event that makes you think back to a memory. This time, a movie connected to driving. While watching Marvel’s Doctor Strange, I realized that the whole movie happened because Doctor Strange wasn’t focusing on the road! He was looking at his phone! He could’ve prevented the car crash, the broken hands, finding the Ancient One, struggling with powers, and the chaos of dying about a dozen times by Dormammu. He should know the rules of the road, if you ask me; he’s risking his life and others’ lives. If Doctor Strange didn’t look at his phone and get distracted, he would’ve been in no danger. (Although, Dr. Strange learning magic in different realities and becoming a superhero to heal wasn’t so bad for him in the end so it wasn’t a big deal. You lose some you win some right?)
I’ve been noticing a lot of driving incidents in movies, shows, and on the road. I’ve been trying to find what the driver did wrong. It’s become a small habit, especially after all the studying in drivers ed. While going through the course, I’ve started doing something that my parents thought quite funny. I took my laptop, and headed out into the driver’s seat of the parked car in our garage. I sat there to get a feel of all the dashboard parts and where to find them. I found where the tachometer, the speedometer, the odometer, and the fuel gauge were on the dashboard. I identified which pedals were either the accelerator or the brakes. It took a while for my parents to find me, but once they did, they laughed, told me to continue my work, and they occasionally aided me in the course by sitting in the passenger seat. It was nice and quiet, and I got to figure out the parts of the car by myself.
While continuing the Driving Maneuvers module in the driver’s seat, I learned where to place my hands on the wheel. The course taught me that the best positions to place your hands are 9 and 3 o’clock, or 8 and 4 o’clock. I was told the two ways to turn a wheel; hand to hand, and hand over hand, which is better for slow, wide turns. I practiced both on the wheel, placing my hands in the motion and steps that I was taught.
I’ve learned basic concepts of the rules of the road, and I was glad because I’m finally learning how to do actual driving techniques and maneuvers! I got information determining when it’s legal to make a U-turn, when to pass another car, and how to do them both properly. For example, when you pass a car, you re-enter the lane to pass the other car only when you see the front of their bumper in your rearview mirror. The last thing I learned in the Driving Maneuvers module was how to park. I really liked learning about that one, knowing that it’s one of the hardest concepts to grasp. There are three ways to park: perpendicular, angular, and parallel. I learned how to back out of a parking spot, and how to park on a hill. Learning how to park on a hill was interesting. I knew you had to turn your wheels so you don’t roll down, but when I found out you had to make the wheels hit the curb, I just went, “Ooohh. That’s so smart!” I discovered a lot that day.
I’m proud of the progress I made in the last month. They’re definitely key ideas about driving that won’t be withdrawing my mind soon. Practicing in the driver’s seat of the car is what I’m going to keep continuing. I’m finishing the Alcohol, Driving, and Substance Abuse module, and heading to the Defensive Driving module. I’m trying to push myself to be at least 75% done with the whole course. I’m nearly there!
[Guest post by instructor and car captain Eva Flores! We'll be running a series of posts by her, getting her insights into everything related to driving lessons. In this post, she talks through a common problem for new drivers: being nervous about getting behind the wheel, and provides tips to overcome a fear of driving.]
When I took my drive test many, many years ago, I was confident I’d ace it. I got a 96. Close, right? The drive test examiner said I accelerated DURING the climb of the hill instead of BEFORE the climb. It wasn’t even a big hill. One minor error = 4-points off of my drive exam score. I should point out not every infraction will equate to a 4-point drop in drive score. Parents, if you are from my generation then you remember having to practice, and practice, and practice parallel parking and 3-point turns. Luckily, for this generation of SMART drivers, it is no longer a requirement during the drive test. (Whew, sigh of relief.) However, I must note, that at some point in your driving career, every driver will have to parallel park their vehicle. If you have a self-parking vehicle, awesome! I wonder how well it would perform parallel parking on a San Francisco hill? For the rest of us, parallel parking is actually pretty fun…after the second or third time. It’s all about the angles.
So, if parallel parking and 3-point turns aren’t required, what is?
I’d like to note that since these two drive skills are no longer required, the techniques and skills left to perform at a satisfactory level should be on point. No sugar-coating. You must demonstrate the following maneuvers during your behind-the-wheel examination:
- Pre-Drive Checklist: demonstrate emergency parking brake, arm signals, windshield wipers, defroster, emergency flashers, headlights, turn signals, headlights, foot brake, horn
- Parking Lot Driving: Leaving and Returning to the DMV
- Intersections: Up to eight total, including speed, yields, traffic checks, braking, and limit lines
- Business/Residential/Rural Driving: traffic checks, speed, spacing, lane position, etc.
- Entering/Backing Along Curb
- Lane Changes
- Turns: Up to four lefts and rights, including signals, full stops, limit lines, steering control, speed, turning too wide or too short, turning into the correct lane, etc.
Why do students not pass their driving test the first time?
I say this to all my students, make sure to SMOG!
I can’t stress enough how important and critical it is to look over your shoulder for turns. Yes, even for left turns. There could be a bicyclist/motorcyclist right behind you and you might not know it. Always make sure to clear your blind spots for turns and lane changes.
I took an adult student to the DMV for her drive test the other day. (One of the many services we offer at DriversEd.com!) We went over the evaluation form and drove around the area for a bit of practice and reassurance before the drive test. She assured me she wasn’t too nervous and would remember all the techniques we went over. I watched her drive away. Ten minutes later, she pulled back into the DMV. The drive test examiner informed me that she did not pass. According to the examiner, the reasons why she and other students fail the first time are:
- Nerves: Try not to let your nerves get a hold of you. Try to relax, be confident, and just let all the skills and techniques you’ve learned shine through
- Wide Turns: on a right turn on a 2-lane road, you should end up in the right lane, not the left. Students oftentimes make wide turns, then try and correct themselves by getting in the correct lane without signaling or looking over their shoulder, which results in an automatic fail
- Bike Lanes: Whether the bike lane is dashed or solid, signal 200 ft. in advance, SMOG, and put your tires into the bike lane before making a right turn
Real talk, tips and feedback from former students on how to pass your driving test the first time
- “My friend failed for running a yellow light because it turned red while crossing the intersection.”
- “Over-exaggerate your head turns for lane changes”
- “I failed because I didn’t get into the bike lane and didn’t look over my shoulder.”
- “If you’re female, wear your hair in a ponytail and wear hoop earrings.”
- “Just make sure to look over your shoulders even if you feel it’s not necessary & when driving on side streets keep scanning the road like shoulder to shoulder.”
- “Look on YouTube for DMV drive test routes”
Avoid These Bad Habits to Pass Your Driving Test the First Time
Sometimes students pick up bad habits, especially if there has been a huge gap from the date of the last lesson to the days prior to the drive test. Habits range from driving with one hand, to taking your hands off the steering wheel. Keep hands at 9-3, drive with palms down, and demonstrate hand-over-hand turns. The other night, I had a student tell me that while she was practicing driving with her dad and SMOG-ing, he said, “You know, you don’t have to keep looking over your shoulder.” She said, “OH, YES I DO!!!”
If you want to pass the drive test the first time, remember: It’s all in the details:
- Stop ahead of limit lines
- Traffic Check: Look shoulder to shoulder, use your mirrors
- Stay committed to your lane and follow it through for turns
- Watch your speed
- Keep adequate space cushions
- Make complete stops: no California rolls
I always advise my students to check out the CA DMV YouTube Channel for helpful tips and information on preparing for the drive test. You can also find us on YouTube for more resources and tips on how to become a SMART, safe and defensive driver.
I’m having another one of those moments…one where I can’t believe I’ve reached this point in Jeffrey’s life. He turned fifteen in February and it is time to lay the foundation of learning how to drive! Both fear and excitement grip me as I realize how quickly we’ve reached this milestone. A blink in time. I am pleased with the realization that soon he will be able to drive himself to some of his own events, which will give me some more time in my own schedule. I am secretly planning and protecting this new-found gift so it won’t be taken up with another commitment and washed away by the crazy pace of my life.
As for his driving, I believe he will be a good driver. He tends to be thoughtful and is not a kid who takes quick jumps into things. I hope these characteristics carry over into his driving. I am definitely talking more about driving with him. It is interesting how I am more conscious about what I am doing on the road when my kid is shooting questions at me about driving. I am also being very aware of my phone habits while I’m in the car. The continual pressure of getting it all done and setting a good example with the phone is a continual battle for me. I try not to let the pressure of time allow me to make bad choices about safety.
As he begins his DriversEd.com online course, he questions all the rules of the road and even tends to critique my driving. Did I stop early enough? Was it a smooth stop? Did you just roll through that stop sign? (Of course not!) I take a deep breath and try to remember if I took my menopause supplement. Then I slow down and think about how important it is to lead by example, with life and with driving. I begin to make a list in my head of all the support that I need to put in place for his journey. Who will help me in teaching him, setting the example and laying the foundation? Thank you DriversEd.com! Making a plan, setting goals and tracking them always calms me down and this is no exception. I add to my spreadsheet a column where I list all the good things having a second driver in the house will bring. This column is for me, for when I find myself short on patience. It reminds me how I felt when I sent him off to school. It really is sending your heart into the world…only this time it’s on wheels.
[Thanks to guest writer Martha Martinez.]
College is a drastically different experience than high school. When I think about what my life was like just a couple of years ago, I remember the obvious milestones first: big races that I won, Prom, taking the SAT, and learning to drive. That last accomplishment, getting my drivers license, was huge, because it led to so many other memorable adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. But when I think about it, driving wasn’t only important for the occasional weekend excursion…it was an integral part of my daily life, both before and after I was the one behind the wheel.
I was in more carpools than I could count on both hands. Each year, I rode with different groggy-eyed kids on our foggy morning commute to school. As a freshman, I sat squished in the middle seat every day, trying to stay hip to the conversations of the senior boys in the carpool. The driver, Nate, always had cool alternative music playing, and sometimes I would try to impress him when I knew the band. Then, one morning, he completely inverted my impression of his musical taste when he played a Taylor Swift album for the entire ride. At first I thought it was a joke. No one said a word.
Carpools can also make for unexpected friendships. For three years, I roughed it to rowing practice with the one teammate who attended the same high school as I did. Not the most natural of friends (we both had strong personalities), it sometimes felt as if we were siblings crammed into a family car for a long road trip. Nevertheless, through the evolution of our moms’ towing us to practice to us driving ourselves, we both grew up just a little bit during each day’s twenty-five-minute commute. Our sometimes-contrasting points of view made for reliably lively conversation.
Once I could drive myself, I also learned how driving alone can serve not just as transportation, but also as a contemplative, even meditative, break from my schedule. My evening drive home became my time to let the events of the day settle into memories, and let my teenage anxieties fly out the window. Some nights, it came through fearlessly singing Taylor Swift songs (I eventually came around to her pop). Another night when I was 16, I took the scenic route to console myself right after a tragic high school breakup (after I had calmed down, because I did know not to drive while extremely emotional).
We use the word “driving” in its verb form—it’s just an action that we do to go from one place to another. We divide up our lives among our different Points, Point A and Point B and so on—spending eight hours here, five hours there. What about the time that accumulates in transitions, during these daily little segments on the road?
Only in retrospect do I appreciate the time I spent driving in high school, and I think it’s okay that some moments only reveal their value in hindsight. My point here is not that you must constantly feel pressure to “stop and smell the roses” while you are driving in the car. Certainly, there is beauty to be found in the mundane and memories to be made within daily routines. But my argument is much simpler: don’t always think of your time spent in the car as wasted time getting from Point A to Point B. Think of it as another small, yet important chunk of what makes your day unique.
As the parent of a child approaching the age at which they can learn to drive, there is certain to be one question that keeps coming to mind: “Is my teenager ready to drive?”
It’s a good question. Learning to drive is a big step and not one to be taken lightly. Driving requires responsibility, maturity and a willingness to obey driving rules. Yet, driving brings with it independence and a degree of freedom for your child. And it might even put an end to the days of mom or dad’s taxi!
Ask yourself the following questions to help determine whether your teen is or is not ready to drive.
Is my teen old enough to learn to drive?
The age at which your child can legally begin drivers education varies between states. You can check state requirements for learning to drive by checking the FAQ page for the state-specific online driver education course from DriversEd.com, and look for a question like “How do I earn my drivers license?”.
In addition to the state requirements, you might want to think about how your teen feels about learning to drive. Has he or she demonstrated an interest in driving for some time, and shown a willingness to learn from your actions? We know that children observe their parents as they drive and subconsciously learn from their behavior. But, if you have actively engaged with your child while driving and explained your actions to them, you may find they have already learnt a lot about safe driving and feel more prepared for learning to drive. (You can read more about this in our blog article: What’s the Best Age to Start Teaching My Teen to Drive.)
Is my teen mature enough to learn to drive?
Driving safely involves much more than passing a road test. It requires all drivers to follow rules, assess risks, make safe decisions and respond accordingly. Of course, a professional driving instructor will help your teen develop safe driving skills during in-car driving lessons, but it can be useful to consider your teen’s level of maturity before learning to drive. As their parent, you’re in a great position to assess your teen’s maturity. Think about the level of maturity displayed by your teen in other areas of life, such as attitude to schoolwork, choice of friends, ability to follow rules, etc.
Is my teen willing to take advice about learning to drive?
Consider your teen’s relationship with teachers and other adults. This can be a good indication of how they will respond to a professional driving instructor. At DriversEd.com, all our driving instructors have years of experience of teaching teenagers how to drive and are highly skilled at communicating effectively with teens. Even so, the more your teen is willing to take advice, the more an instructor can teach them during driving lessons about becoming a safe, SMART, confident driver.
Is my teen ready to concentrate on the road?
Roads are busy. Not only with drivers, but with all kinds of other road users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and buses, as well as other teenagers taking driving lessons! Driving safely requires concentration and focus at all times. Think about whether your teen would be able to resist using his/her cell phone while driving, to avoid getting into deep conversations with passengers and to refrain from activities such as eating and drinking while at the wheel.
Is my teen able to remain alert for driving?
The driving environment is one that changes frequently. And it can change in an instant. Being alert helps drivers identify potential hazards and react appropriately as quickly and as safely as possible. If your teen stays up all night playing computer games or wanders around the house yawning, it might be a good idea to encourage your teen to establish a regular sleep routine before learning to drive.
Does my teen have time for learning to drive?
Learning to become a safe, SMART driver doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s worth thinking about what else your teen has going on in their life before they learn to drive. School, work, volunteering, social commitments: these all take up time and adding something else into the mix can be a pressure for some teens. On the flip side, learning to drive can ultimately enable your teen to better juggle such commitments: once they are on the road, they can drive themselves to work, school and wherever else they need to go without relying on other people for lifts or on public transport. When considering driving schools, you might want to consider one that offers flexible online drivers education, so your teen can learn to drive on any device, at a pace that suits them.
Are you ready to help your teen with learning to drive?
State requirements vary, but most require a combination of one or more of the following: online drivers education, in-car driving lessons and a minimum period of parent supervised driving practice.
The parent-supervised driving practice stage forms an important part of learning to drive. It helps your teen gain driving experience in all kinds of driving conditions, and the more you do, the best shot your teenager has of becoming a safe, SMART driver for life.
You can help make the parent-supervised practice period more effective by refreshing your own knowledge, thinking of ways to help your teen relax while learning to drive and using the three-step teaching technique: Explain, Demonstrate, Practice/Coach. For a more detailed guide of what to do during the parent-supervised practice stage of learning to drive, check out a few of our resources, and keep your eyes on this space for more:
- Lead by example: A parent’s guide to modeling good driving behavior
- Let’s Go Practice Driving—in a Parking Lot!
- What’s on the Road Test?
In addition to supervised practice, your teen will also need your support while taking in-car driving lessons and/or online drivers education. While they certainly won’t want an interrogation after each one of their driving lessons, your teen will benefit greatly from your emotional support, your interest in how they are doing and your willingness to help them find out the answers to any questions they might have about learning to drive.
We’re here to help both you and your teen
At DriversEd.com, we know learning to drive is a major milestone for both you and your teenager. That’s why we provide 24/7 customer support for both you and your teen, valuable driving resources, unlimited free practice tests and useful articles for both parents and teens about learning to drive and all kinds of safe driving topics.
And, when your teen starts in-car driving lessons with us, our professional driving instructors will make the effort to have a chat with you, the parent, before and after every one of your teen’s driving lessons. Our driving instructors will also provide online feedback for each driving lesson so you can keep track of your teen’s progress throughout their journey.
We hope this article has helped you answer your question: “Is my teen ready to drive?” If you feel the answer is yes, you might like to learn more about online drivers education for teens or in-car teen driving lessons.
Choosing a Driver Education Course in Texas: How to Pick Between Parent-Taught Drivers Ed and Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Ed
Choosing a driver education course in Texas may seem like a tricky task: there are many options and providers out there. But with DriversEd.com, getting a drivers license in Texas doesn’t have to be confusing, difficult, or expensive. DriversEd.com is America’s largest driving school, and we offer drivers education options to suit all families. So, whether you choose Parent-Taught Drivers Education or Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Education, we support you every step of the way. If you’re still trying to decide which route will work best for your family, here is a brief summary of the options.
1. Parent-Taught Drivers Education
What is Parent-Taught Drivers Education?
Parent-Taught Drivers Education (PTDE) allows teens between the ages of 14 and 17 to take the theory part of their drivers education online and complete their behind the wheel training with their parent.
Why might families choose Parent Taught Drivers Education?
Some parents prefer PTDE because it puts them in control as their teen learns to drive. Parents are with their teen every step of the way.
It is important for parents to note that, as their teen’s driving instructor, they must supervise the entire process, including both the theoretical portion online, and the practical portion which will take place in the family car.
This means the parent must commit to 32 hours of theoretical instruction, 14 hours of in-car instruction, and 30 hours of driving practice (10 hours of which must come at night). Since there are limits on the amount of instruction a student can take per day, the course will take an absolute minimum of 60 days to complete.
How does DriversEd.com help with Parent Taught Drivers Education?
For families who choose this route, DriversEd.com has an online PTDE drivers education course specifically developed to help make the learning process more successful.
The parent-taught drivers ed course is designed to help young drivers learn. Each lesson includes interactive elements to keep teens engaged and focused on learning. The course is also designed to help parents teach. It includes checklists and special sections of the course just for parents, so they know exactly what to communicate during each lesson.
Parents can rest assured that the course curriculum fully meets state requirements and will prepare teens for the DPS written permit test. The course even includes unlimited free online practice tests to help prepare for the real test!
2. Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Ed
What is Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Education?
Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Education allows teens to meet their theoretical requirement for learning to drive online, at their own pace, then take their driving lessons with a professional driving school.
Why might families choose Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Education?
Professional Instructor-led Drivers Education is a great way for parents to make sure their teen is receiving the absolute best drivers education experience.
Driving lessons take place in the driving school’s vehicle. At DriversEd.com, this means that teens learn to drive in vehicles with top safety ratings; vehicles that have been specially equipped with additional mirrors and an added brake to keep the new driver safe.
Professional driving instructors are highly experienced in teaching young people how to drive, they are great at communicating with teenagers, are state-licensed and background checked so parents can be confident their teen is learning to drive with a trustworthy instructor who will build a solid foundation for safe driving.
Not only that, but professional driving instructors are up-to-date on the latest techniques in crash avoidance, braking, driving safety, and Texas driving laws—and they’ll pass that knowledge on to novice drivers!
After just a few hours of professional driving lessons, the student can begin practice driving with a parent.
How does DriversEd.com help with Professional Instructor-Led Drivers Education?
At DriversEd.com, teens can take their online drivers education and their professional driving lessons with us.
Our interactive online drivers ed course is full of graphics and easy-to-understand content to ensure students retain knowledge. It teaches the basics of driving as well as defensive driving techniques to maximize the safety of novice drivers behind the wheel.
As a plus, completing our Texas teen drivers ed course enables teenagers to take the DPS knowledge test online for free. And, once they have their learners permit, teens can easily schedule their in-car professional driving lessons online.
Ready to drive? Sign up for online drivers education.