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What Should I Expect from Driving Lessons?

By G. Melanson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Driving lessons that are offered as part of a driving course are typically composed of both classroom instruction and on-road training. While the aim of most driving lessons is to help students attain the acumen and skills required to earn their driver’s license, some types of courses also focus on imparting defensive driving skills. To get the most out of your driving lessons, it helps to know in advance what you can expect from driver's education.

Most driving lessons require that students have access to a car for at-home practice, especially if they have already obtained their learner’s permit. Although student drivers have access to the driver’s education vehicle, home practice with a licensed adult is often encouraged by driving schools. In addition to on-the-road instruction, students can also expect their driver's education to extend to the classroom, where the instructor may use textbooks, instructional videos and written exams. The frequency of time that students spend both in the classroom and on the road will depend on the overall length of the course. Short driving courses condensed into a period of weeks tend to be more intensive, while courses that span a period of months may only hold classes on a weekly basis.

Although driving courses strive to teach the same fundamental road rules and regulations, individual driving instructors vary in their style and approach. While some instructors may prohibit music in the car during driving lessons, others encourage students to listen to music at a moderate level to help them become accustomed to distractions while driving. Many driving lessons also require students to come along as passengers while their peers are receiving one-on-one driving instruction. Meanwhile, the driving instructor occupies the front passenger's seat of the driver’s ed vehicle, which is specially equipped with a passenger-side foot pedal brake that the instructor can use to override the driver’s brake in case of emergency.

Student drivers can expect their initial road lessons to be in low-traffic areas such as residential neighborhoods or parking lots. As students gradually become more comfortable with driving, they usually advance to high traffic areas or the highway, at the instructor’s discretion. Students should also expect to learn such basic road rules as how to merge, back up, and parallel park. They may learn tips for defensive driving, such as what to do in the event of a collision or hydroplaning.

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Discussion Comments
By Inaventu — On Jan 27, 2015

I would really like to take some advanced driving lessons some day, since I really enjoy driving a car in general. I want to some defensive driving techniques, but I'd also like to learn how to perform stunts and drive high-performance race cars. There is a professional driving school that offers lessons about two hours away, but it's fairly expensive.

They will let people take a class to learn the basics and then take a few laps around a real track, though. I might just do that and save the more advanced lessons for later.

By RocketLanch8 — On Jan 26, 2015

When I was in high school, there were two different ways to when it came to driving school lessons. Some of us enrolled in a Drivers' Ed course at school, while others paid for private crash course driving lessons. The ultimate goal for either path was to earn a certificate. In my state, the DMV wouldn't allow anyone under the age of 18 to get a drivers' license without that certificate.

The high school Drivers' Ed classes lasted an entire semester, and we would spend one period in a classroom, another period in a simulator, and a few periods a week inside an actual student driving car. The instructor did have a brake on his side, but nothing else. We were all at the mercy of whoever was behind the wheel that day. Some of our classmates were much better drivers than others.

The intensive private driving lessons only took a few weekends to complete, but I don't think those students learned nearly as much as we did in our high school classes. They did get to test for their licenses much sooner, though.

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