What Should I Expect from Driver's Education?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2019
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Quality driver's education courses provide students with the skills, information, and techniques necessary to safely operate motor vehicles. Courses usually feature between 30 and 50 hours of classroom training, where students receive lectures, watch videos, and work with classmates on various activities. After the completion of classroom study, individuals typically get the opportunity to observe their driving instructor in an actual car. Once a student is comfortable and knowledgeable enough to get behind the wheel, he or she can take to the streets under the guidance and instruction of the teacher.

Most driver's education courses begin with classroom lectures, reading, and activities. Students learn about different types of road signs, traffic and safety laws, proper operation of a vehicle, and defensive driving strategies. Instructors often share stories and personal experiences, and show videos that discuss proper and improper driving. Students may work alone or with classmates to complete activities that test their knowledge of road safety. After two to three weeks of classes, an individual is usually given a comprehensive test that proves his or her competency and readiness for actual driving.

Some driver's education programs allow students to practice their skills in driving simulators. They are able to get behind the wheel of a simulated automobile, which usually looks like a video arcade game. A screen depicts different driving situations, and the student reacts by pressing pedals and steering appropriately. Modern technology allows simulated activities to be comparable to real driving.


Practical driver's education involves observing an instructor in an actual car and driving under the teacher's supervision. Two to three students usually get in a custom training vehicle with their teacher, and watch how he or she handles the automobile. After a period of observation, each willing student generally gets a turn behind the wheel.

Most driver's education vehicles are equipped with a second set of gas and brake pedals on the passenger side so that the teacher can take over if a driver makes a mistake. Following the teacher's instructions, the new driver will adjust his or her seat belt and mirrors, start the car, and begin driving in a parking lot or on actual roads. The instructor constantly provides feedback and helpful information as the student drives around. Upon the satisfactory completion of a driving session, the student is awarded a certificate and becomes eligible to take the written and practical licensing test at the appropriate government office.



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