A Google User
My 16 year old daughter recently took the VA state-mandated driving course through Instructor’s Choice. She had no time in her school schedule to take ‘driver’s ed’ at her HS, and many of her friends used Instructor’s Choice. They all told her it was a good school. I don’t know if the fees appear on their website, but it’s $405 (why the extra $5?) for the required number of hours of classroom + behind-the-wheel instruction.
Now I see why her friends recommended this course.
The morning class was advertised as from 9:15-12:45, but the instructor allowed the kids to show up as late as 9:30 before he counted them as late. They were given a half hour break every day, and class was always dismissed by 12:30. Do the math: each 3 1/2 hour session actually lasted 2 1/2 hours.
What did they learn in those morning classes? I was glad the instructor mentioned vehicle maintenance, because lots of teens don’t think about checking their tire pressure and filling the gas tank, but the following are other bits of information my daughter passed on to me from her instructor:
If you’re driving through a [Target] parking lot, you don’t have to stop for a stop sign because that’s private property and the cops can’t enforce those signs.
If a deer is standing in the middle of the highway and you can’t avoid hitting it, use the “spatula technique": slam on the breaks just until impact, then hit the accelerator--the deer will reputedly fly over the top of your car instead of coming through your windshield.
You shouldn’t place your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 because if you get in an accident, the air bags will break your arms, or even tear them off your body and doctors won’t be able to re-attach them.
You’re not going to get stopped for speeding, even in a speed trap, if you’re only going 5mph over the speed limit, (which led my daughter to conclude that it would be “fun” to put this to the test)
Clearly this is a different generation of driving instructor than the ex-military guy I had at my high school, who made us pull over if we went 5mph above the speed limit, and drilled into us endlessly that “accidents” are caused by driver error, not “random events.”
Once my daughter got the classroom hours out of the way, someone contacted her to schedule behind-the-wheel sessions. She was picked up after school, and she and the other drivers in the car dropped each other off at their respective homes and picked up other drivers, which seems like a very efficient system.
After the first day of driving she came home rather upset. “The car’s gas pedal is so sensitive if you even touch it the engine races, but the brakes are so stiff you have to stand on them, and we’re not going to do any highway driving because some kid went over a speed bump too fast and now the whole car shakes if you drive faster than 45mph.” (Would this car pass state inspection? )
I remember dreading the final driving test, but my daughter’s driving instructor told the kids, “You’re not going to have a final test, I grade you every time you drive. You don’t need to get a high score, just don’t kill us.” Then he leaned over (from the passenger seat) and honked the horn to say “hi” to one of his cab-driving friends who was driving by....
I’ve worked very hard to teach my daughter good skills in handling the car, including the best way to position her hands on the wheel, but the driving instructor didn’t approve. He told her one day that she “drives like grandma” because she keeps both hands on the wheel.
So if this is what you think a good school should teach your young driver, then by all means sign them up at Instructor’s Choice. Soon your teen will be driving with one hand on the wheel, honking at friends, pushing the speed limit, ignoring stop signs in parking lots, and hoping to one day execute the “spatula technique” out on the Beltway, while driving a clunker that shakes when it gets up to highway driving speeds.