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What Should I Consider When Choosing Free Driver Education?

Cassie L. Damewood
Cassie L. Damewood

In most places, there is no such thing as a free driver education course either online or at brick-and-mortar locations. Although driving laws and requirements vary from country to country, most companies that teach driver education offer a few sample test questions or an elementary study guide online free of charge. In the end, however, most charge fees for the actual driver education course. When choosing a driver education course, free or otherwise, you should consider convenience, cost, reputation or accreditation, and the availability of hands-on training.

In the past, many high schools offered free driver education courses to their students as part of the general curriculum. Budget cuts over the years eliminated those programs in most high schools in the United States. Recently only about 15% of driving age students took free driver education classes in high school, compared to 95% in the 1970s. International driver education options for young people vary by country.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Although the online driver education courses are praised by many, especially teenagers, for being convenient and less boring than traditional textbook courses, the actual hands-on driving experience cannot be duplicated online. It is still necessary for a licensed driver to accompany a learner and guide him or her through the basics of driving and parking prior to proceeding to the licensing office. Drawbacks to free driver education programs often include the lack of peer and/or instructor interaction. Some believe there is no substitute for relating experiences, fears, and concerns in person.

Other concerns include the procrastination factor of online coursework. Courses completed at traditional driver education schools have prescribed timelines and parameters for materials to be learned and tests to be administered. Online courses can drag on for weeks or months, during which learned information can be forgotten and result in low scores on the actual written driver exam.

For rural residents, however, the convenience of the online driver education courses is important. The traditional driver education schools are often many miles away, rendering them inconvenient if not impossible to utilize. Parents of teens may view the online driver education courses as an important time-saving option.

As online driver education course gain popularity, confusion over the quality of such programs grows. It's important to research any driving education program you are considering to make sure that it complies with local driving laws. Some regions certify or accredit schools that meet certain standards for the quality of their teaching. This type of certification can be a good way to know that a school will teach you what you need to know to pass a driving test in your area.

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