Do you have a teenager who is itching to get their driver’s license? Is your son or daughter excited about their 16th birthday because they can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the family car? As any parent knows, this can be a period of great anxiety and stress. The reasons teens are excited to get their driver’s license are often the same reasons parents are worried. Many moms and dads naturally wonder if they should enroll their children in a driver’s education program or simply teach them how to drive themselves in an empty parking lot. To be sure, there are many benefits to be derived from spending money on a driver’s education course. Here are seven benefits people should keep in mind.
7. Lower Insurance Premiums
A majority of car insurance companies in Canada and the United States offer discounts for teens who have successfully completed a driver’s education course. This discount can be as high as 25% with some insurance companies, and it can save mom and dad big bucks when adding their kids to their auto insurance policy. Be sure to check with a licensed insurance agent before enrolling in a driver’s education course to learn which insurers recognize driver’s education and safe driving courses, and provide discounts for course completion. Note that some insurers have a preferred driver’s education course that they like people to take to qualify for the discount they offer.
6. Mechanical Knowledge
How many people reading this know how to change their own car tire in the event that they get a flat? How many folks out there know what to do if their car overheats on a road trip? People who take driver’s education courses these days know what to do because these programs increasingly teach their students not only the rules of the road, but practical car smarts as well. Specifically, driver’s education courses teach people basic mechanical knowledge about vehicles—where the radiator is located, what an oil pan does, how to change a flat tire, etc. This information can prove to be invaluable should something go wrong with a car, or when a young driver is out on the roads alone. It’s a cliché, but the truth is that a little knowledge really does go a long way—particularly when it comes to cars.
5. Rules of the Road
Studies show that most of us could use a refresher concerning the rules of the road. In fact, the longer a person has been driving, the less familiar they tend to be with contemporary driving rules. Most of us remember only enough from a driver’s manual to get us through the test and then quickly forget the information. However, in a driver’s education course, people are exposed to the information longer, tested on all aspects of it more than once, and are required to put the rules of the road into action in front of an instructor and their peers. And studies show that this practice helps people remember the information better and drive safer when they are out on the road by themselves.
4. Greater Awareness of Drugs and Alcohol
It’s one thing to tell your teenaged son or daughter not to drink and drive. It is another thing entirely for your teen to sit through a devastating series of videos that show the destruction and consequences caused by drunk driving or people driving while under the influence of drugs. And that is what most driver’s education courses offer—a greater awareness of the impact drugs and alcohol can have on people operating a motor vehicle. Many driver’s education courses bring in law enforcement officials to talk, first hand, about the damage they’ve seen caused by drunk driving. And those speeches resonate more with young drivers than any lecture they get from their parents at the dinner table.
3. Defensive Driving Techniques
Driver’s education courses and safe driving classes today focus on teaching people how to drive defensively. This promotes safety and leads to safer drivers on the roads and highways. Specifically, people learn how to spot aggressive drivers on the road, avoid crashes and when to pull off the road. People are also taught how to drive in all types of weather—rain, snow and icy conditions. The emphasis at all times is on safety and not being an aggressor on the streets. This is important and helps to foster a lifelong focus on safety for people who go through a driver’s education course. Some driver’s education courses provide people with a second, separate certificate for completing the defensive driving portion of the program, and this can lead to more insurance discounts.
2. Personal Responsibility
Above all else, driver’s education courses teach students a sense of personal responsibility when operating a car. Teens in a driver’s education class are basically taught that every accident is their fault, and that they are not just responsible for their life, but also the lives of the passengers in their vehicle. This gives people who take driver’s education a greater awareness of the responsibility that comes with having a license. It is not just about freedom and taking off in your parents’ car. A strong sense of personal responsibility is often what separates people who take a driver’s education course from people whose parents taught them to drive.
When a teenager completes a driver’s education course, they walk away feeling more confident about their abilities as a driver and with a better understanding of cars and safety regulations. This boosts their confidence level and means that they will respond appropriately in difficult driving situations. This confidence will, in the end, make them better drivers. And that will provide peace of mind to nervous parents. Mom and dad can rest easy knowing that their baby is driving with confidence and being safe out on the roads and highways. And it’s hard to put a value on that kind of peace of mind.