driving school

Choosing A Driving School For Your Teen

driving school

When the time comes for your teen to get their learner’s permit and begin driving, it can be scary for any parent.  You want to be sure that your child has a good understanding of the rules of the road and feels comfortable behind the wheel, that’s why choosing the right driving school is so important.   Your child’s driving school will provide the foundation of their driving skills, so you want to make sure you are comfortable with your choice.  Here are a few tips to guide you in the process of choosing a driving school:

  • Make sure to look up reviews.  By doing a simple internet search you can find reviews for the school you are interested in.  Look for comments from other parents and contact anyone you know personally who has used the school in the past.  It is also a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints that may have been registered against the school.  
  • Call the school and ask how the class will be structured, find out how long the instructors have been teaching, what the student to teacher ratio is, and ask any other questions you may need until you feel comfortable enough to send your child there for driver’s education.
  • Ask what kind of car the school uses for road lessons and make sure your teen would be comfortable in such a vehicle, if your teen is nervous about driving a certain type of car, such as a truck or SUV, you do not want them to have to learn how to drive under those circumstances.  Being a new driver can be nerve-wracking enough without the added stress of being in a car you aren’t sure you can handle.
  • Find out how long class sessions are, some school offer programs that meet more often for shorter amounts of time, or some schools offer an entire course over a few days but each day consists of hours of classroom time.  One program may be better for your teen than the other, so this is another important factor to consider because you want to be sure that your teen is actually understanding the information in the class.
  • Price is a major factor for many people.  Call different driving schools in your area and get some prices.  Ask about any additional fees that may be charged (such as for rescheduling road lessons etc) and ask about their refund policy.
  • Location isn’t everything!  If you’re not satisfied with the school closest to you, driving a town or two over may be worth it to ensure that your teen gets the best possible education course before hitting the open road.
  • Once you do sign your teen up for driver’s ed, make sure you keep any and all documents, contracts, and receipts for your records.

Although this may be a lengthy process, it is worth it to ensure that your teen has a solid foundation before they get their license.  You want them to be as prepared as possible, and feel confident behind the wheel.  A good education is the first step to that, so take the time to choose which school would be best for your teen!

Photo By: Steve Jurvetson

May Is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month!

teen driver

The National Organizations For Youth Safety is celebrating Global Youth Traffic Safety Month again this May!  The official U.S. launch was on May 8th in Washington, D.C.  and it’s an important initiative to unite youth across the country to focus on the leading cause of death for them and their peers: traffic related crashes.  In honor of this month, we’ve contacted driving schools across Massachusetts and gotten some top tips for new drivers from the schools’ owners, instructors, and even a police officer!  These tips are coming straight from the experts, so be sure to share them with your new driver and make sure they’re staying safe on the road!

  • Parents and teens need to respect and obey junior operator laws.  Teens need to focus on driving without distractions for the first 6 months of driving.  As teens get more experienced and better at driving, they get more confident and their speed creeps up.  This can be both good and bad, they are now keeping up with the flow of traffic but going too fast and being distracted can lead to accidents which is why it’s so important for them to focus.  Parents also need to list their teen on their insurance policy, and if the teen isn’t listed on your policy, don’t let them drive your car!  If they were ever to invite their friend along for a ride in a parent’s car and get into an accident while they were still a junior operator, not only is that against the law and dangerous, but it also creates insurance issues for the parent.  Obeying the junior operator makes everything safer and easier for both teens and parents.  – Driving instructor and Police Officer Dave Avery, Avon Auto Academy
  • Look ahead and be aware of what other drivers on the road are doing, for example if you see brake lights or a traffic light ahead, slow down.  Try and think a step ahead so that you can prepare for what’s coming on the road! – Donna, Elm Auto School
  • Make sure you come to a FULL stop at stop signs, which lasts for 3 seconds.  If you’re stopped behind the line but can’t see if any cars are coming, pull up a little and stop again.  – Sarah Warren, Lexington Driving School
  • When you’re on the entrance ramp of the highway and are about to merge, look for a gap in highway traffic into which you can safely move.  Remember to yield the right-of-way to drivers already on the highway.  Never stop short at the end of the on-ramp, instead take the on-ramp slowly while preparing to merge.  Always, always, ALWAYS signal so that drivers are aware that you plan to enter the highway.  Upon leaving the on-ramp and entering the flow of traffic, you must accelerate to match the speed of vehicles already on the highway.  In a perfect world other drivers would move over to let you onto the highway but that doesn’t always happen, so be alert and plan your merge accordingly! – Molly Sullivan and Anthony Parolisi, Methuen Auto School
  • Before you do anything, whether it’s merging, making a turn, or pulling out of your driveway, the two most important things to remember are to signal and look!  Put your directional on and make sure you look both ways before doing anything, it will keep you safe and make sure that all other drivers are aware of what direction you plan on going. – Jay, Chelmsford Auto School

These are great things for all drivers to keep in mind, but especially those that are new to the road.  These great tips are easy to remember and cover the most important things that new drivers should focus on.  Share these with any new driver you may know in honor of Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, stay safe!

Photo By: State Farm

Student Driver? Follow These Guidelines To Find The Best School For You!

When it comes to picking a school for driver’s education, there are a lot of things to look out for! Getting your license is a long and sometimes confusing process, but these schools are designed to help and prepare young drivers for the road.  The instructor’s knowledge and driving skills will help lay the foundation for your own skills as a driver so you want to be sure you’re at the right school and getting the best driver’s education possible.  Follow these guidelines below to pick the school that’s the best fit for you!

  • First things first you have to ask yourself what factors are most important to you? Convenience, cost, and location are all important but you want to be sure that you’re receiving a quality education.  Make sure that the school has up-to date accreditation, it may seem obvious that a driving school would have the proper credentials, but many requirements need to be updated every year so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • There are basically two types of driving schools, professional and public:
  • Public driving schools are often offered in public high schools in Massachusetts.  They are typically offered as a class or as part of a continuing education program sponsored by the  local school district.  Classes are taught by either high school faculty members or employees of the school district who are RMV licensed instructors.  If this is offered in your school, it may be much more convenient and budget friendly than a private professional school.
  • Professional driving schools are privately owned and both the school and instructors are licensed by the RMV.  These schools have a lot of experience in drivers ed and since not every town offers a public driving school it may be your only option.  For a listing of both public and professional driving schools in Massachusetts, click here.
  • Examine the costs of the schools in your area, most schools offer and all-inclusive package usually between $300-$600.  Shop around and get different estimates, financially speaking the all inclusive package is definitely the best option if the school offers it.
  • Before you make a final decision on your driving school, stop by the facility and take a tour.  Make sure you ask any and all questions you may have and find out what type of cars they use for road lessons.  Do they use small sedans only or can you learn to drive larger cars such as SUVs and trucks?
  • Don’t forget, drivers education classes are mandatory for all drivers under the age of 18 who wish to obtain their license.  If you choose to wait until age 18 to get your license they become optional but are highly encouraged and can even get you a discount on your insurance until you’re 24!  Students are required to complete 30 hours of in class instruction and 18 total hours of instruction in a driving training motor vehicle, 12 of which must be completed behind the wheel and 6 of which are observation hours with another student.

Parents, don’t forget to add you new driver to your insurance policy as soon as they get their permit!  When making a change on your policy such as this, it will definitely affect your premium so be sure to shop around! Give us a call or click MassDrive for a quote, our agents will work with our carriers to get you the best price possible!

Photo By: ChuckSchultz

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