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Selecting a Driving School
With traffic crashes the leading cause of death for teens, making sure new drivers have a solid foundation in basic skills is critical to success behind the wheel. To help parents select a quality driving school, AAA offers advice, resources and tips. Here’s a quick checklist to get you started:
- Ask friends and neighbors. Seek recommendations and ask why people selected a particular driving school.
- Call and visit several schools. Ask to see classrooms and observe part of a course. Classrooms should be clean, orderly and set up to conduct sessions. Check that there is a desk for each student, with a clear view of any visual displays.
- Ensure classroom and behind-the-wheel sessions are integrated. Classroom time should consist of a structured lesson plan that includes coverage of risk prevention and fundamentals of defensive driving practices. Behind-the-wheel sessions should correspond with the classroom lesson plan to reinforce and demonstrate practical usage of concepts. Beginners learn best with two in-car lessons each week. Driving environments should include residential streets, city traffic, rural roads, highways and limited-access freeways.
- Check references and complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against a school. Ask for references of previous students and parents who can be contacted regarding their experiences with the school.
AAA recommends the use of qualified, professional driving instructors, which is a requirement to receive driving licenses in some states. Parents can also consider AAA-affiliated schools, which have been thoroughly reviewed and maintain a high level of standards.
Detailed tips about driving schools, as well as an evaluation checklist, are available in AAA’s Choosing a Driving School brochure, which is available through AAA’s Keys2Drive website.
Keys2Drive provides parents and teens specific information based on where they live and where they are in the learning process—from preparing to drive (pre-permit) through the learner’s permit and solo driving stages. The site also features a parent-teen driving agreement and StartSmart, a series of electronic newsletters and webisodes designed to help family members identify challenges and work as a team to reduce risk as teens learn to drive. Visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.