So you need to choose a driving school for yourself or one of your family members and you wonder – what driving school would be right for you? While most of driving schools would do their job well, each school however might target their specific audience and support their specific set of services which might not work for you individually.
Below are the main checkpoints to consider when selecting a best driving school for you.
- License Types Your Driving School Supports. Check if your school provides training for car drivers, motorcycle drivers, commercial truck drivers and so on. Note, that school bus drivers usually require special training.
- Target Audience. Check if your school provides special courses for first-timers, teen-drivers, seniors and drivers with disabilities. Teen-drivers usually require special training approach which is different from training for seniors. If you are a handicapped citizen a car for your driving training might need special equipment as well as instructors skilled in training of that kind of students.
- Your School’s Total Years in Business. While the longest work history doesn’t necessarily translate to the best training services, years in business could be considered as a valuable indicator that your Driving School knows how to adapt to the turbulent market and can withstand competition well.
- School Status in DMV. Many states provide up-to-date information about local driving schools, their ratings, customer feedback etc. In Canada, for example, you can get a list of not-recognized Canadian driving schools in provincial DMV web sites, so you could filter out obvious mismatches right away.
- Pricing Your School Offers. Compare your school’s pricing to the pricing offered by other schools with the similar driving training services. To avoid unexpected expenses pay special attention to the fine-print. Make sure that you understand all hidden fees and charges. Ask for special offers. Many schools offer special packages with discounts which you might find interesting.
- Languages of Instruction Your School Supports. We are a nation of immigrants. If you are not the native English speaker getting training in your first language could be crucial for you. Check what languages other than English are supported in that driving school.
- Requesting Male or Female Instructor. If your family has strong cultural ties with your back country it might be important for you to request male or female instructor for your kid training. Make sure that the driving school of your choice addresses your needs here.
- Formal Training in Classes. Does your school provide formal training in classes? If yes – how many hours of formal training is included into your fee? Note that while being beneficial, in class training is not mandatory and often can be done online.
- Behind-the Wheel Training. Check how many hours you will get in behind-the-wheel training with that school. This is very important checkpoint. Too few hours might not be enough to pass the test in DMV. Too many hours might look like a “money-oriented” school.
- Free Pick-up and Drop-off Services. Most driving schools provide free pick-up and drop-off services for their students. However these free services normally apply to specific locations only (usually expressed in miles from driving school’s main office). If your pickup/drop-off location is outside of the supported area you still can get pick-up/drop-off services but with some conditions – for example, the time an instructor drives from the school office to your location could be counted towards your driving lesson time. Make sure that you double checked this rule with your school of interest.
- Success Rate. Most driving schools would proudly state that the success rate of their students is %99.99. Take these statements with a punch of salt. As of today – the success rate statistics is not officially tracked by DMV; hence the most of such optimistic statements are the subject of good faith only. Get a second opinion – ask your friends, colleagues or associates about your school of interest. You can also check on-line resources, forums and web communities to get the broader opinion pool.
- Free, No Obligation Initial Driving Lesson. Some schools provide free, no obligation one hour training lesson for new students. Ask if your school has this offer – try it for free and only then make your final decision.
- Auto Insurance Discounts. Many driving schools provide auto insurance discounts for their students. Check if your school is one of them.
- Car for Driving Test in DMV. By law, it is the duty of the candidate to provide safe, operable car for his test in DMV. Addressing this issue some schools provide discounted or even free car rent to their student for their test in DMV. Ask for this option from your school if you cannot provide your own car for DMV test.
- Car Fleet. Ask what types of vehicles your driving school will be using for your training. Old, worn out vehicles decrease the morale and won’t help to progress your driving skills in a timely manner. Besides that newer vehicles are usually safer. However don’t be over impressed by new cars proudly advertised by some schools – new car alone won’t replace instructor’s experience and his professional skills. So, use this checkpoint with caution.
Go through the selection check list provided above and you will get the best driving school you are looking for.
Note, that many from above discussed questions can be answered without leaving your home.
For example, you can find all driving schools in your location using online driving school directories.
Try online driving license tests if you prefer to skip optional in-class-training classes in driving school office. Those tests are available in the web for free or for very reasonable cost if you are looking for more in-depth training.
Get comprehensive reference of U.S. road signs with explanation of each sign by visiting online road sign web references.
And finally – know your state’s of residence DMV/DOL web site and make sure to visit it regularly for recent updates.
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