For some of us, driving school meant spending a few terror-filled hours with a parent or sibling in an empty parking lot or neighborhood streets. Others may have experienced driving school in the form of school-sponsored driver education courses. In many states, the only way drivers under the age of 18 could obtain a driver's license was to present a certificate of completion from an accredited driving school. To address this need, several companies such as Sears sponsored driving school courses which would certify their students in as little as four days. Some critics of this practice referred to these driving schools as 'crash courses'.
If you're looking for a driving school to attend, there are a number of factors to consider. The cost of tuition can vary widely from school to school, so it pays to do a lot of comparison shopping before settling on one driving school. The cheapest driving school may not be the best option, however, because the money isn't being put into the classroom experience. Look for signs of investment, such as driving simulators, modern classrooms and well-maintained student cars. The cars should have some modifications, such as passenger-side brakes for the instructor or a second steering wheel.
Before choosing a driving school, make sure the company is accredited. Many people attend driving school in order to lower their insurance rates, but the insurance companies need to know the education was legitimate. Ask the school's representative about their acceptability among insurance companies. You might receive a decent education at a non-accredited driving school, but you won't see any tangible economic benefits.
The best driving school provides a combination of classroom instruction, simulator training and real-world driving experience. Learning to drive safely is not just a matter of muscle memory behind the wheel. There should be courses on defensive driving, rules of the road, basic vehicle maintenance and the science behind a car. Simulators should give students a real sense of what to do in a number of driving scenarios.
Finally, real-world driving courses should duplicate all of the experiences a driver will have during his or her lifetime. This should include everything from parking on a street to entering and exiting an interstate highway. You don't want to attend a driving school which merely duplicates the road course of the driver's license examination.