New 10 Drive Course Q & A...
(starting April 15th)
Why 10 Drives? Other schools do far less.
1. It allows extra time for students who struggle.
With our original 7 Drive Course over half of the students needed an extra drive to learn enough vehicle control to enter public roads. And sometimes, rather than do 8 drives we would omit the Freeway Drive. I never liked omitting the freeway which is why I usually do an extra parking lot drive. Do students need an extra parking lot drive because there isn't enough time on the first drive to practice the skills? No, there is plenty of time on the first drive to learn basic skills. Although I do talk a lot - there is always at least 1 hour of actual parking lot driving for teenagers to learn the basics (for most schools it's only around 45 minutes of actual driving). Over half of students need 2 parking lot drives. After teaching for 13 years it is my opinion that more and more students are lacking cognitive abilities, the ability to be coached, or a have generalized anxiety. The following is brief explanation or you can skip to number 2.
Cognitive abilities refers to the students ability to learn from their mistakes. For example we will always examine why a right turn does not go well - so we will do it again and again and again until they learn how to adapt and modify their steering until the right turn goes well. But more and more students really struggle to learn from their mistakes. With the 10 drive course there will be extra time for students who are struggling with the basics of vehicle control.
The ability to be coached is also tough for students if they have never had a coach. Students who have been coached by somebody handle failure and learn from their mistakes much faster.
There are many reasons for generalized anxiety. One of the biggest reasons is we now live in a world where we don't need to be in social situations. We can have everything delivered, work from home, or have online meetings. Driving is a huge complex social activity with intense pressure from other drivers. For most teens the pressure is so intense it interferes with listening and muscle control. There are many of reasons, but sometimes there's not much a parent or instructor can do to help reassure them they will be safe - doing extra drives can help though. This is because having good vehicle control will help them feel more confident when they start driving on public roads. I think many students have anxiety because they don't feel confident in controlling the vehicle. With 10 drives we can easily allocate extra time for vehicle control without needing extra drives or omitting the Freeway Drive. Even if your student needs 3 drives in a parking lot - they will still be able to do all the routes and earn their permit.
2. The extra drives will solidify good driving habits. It's a fact that the longer we do something the more it becomes automatic or a habit. In driving it's extremely easy to lose good driving habits like following distance, early braking, turn signals, the lane change technique, and many other good habits. The more students drive in drivers training before driving with their parents, the more likely they will establish and retain good habits, and the safer they will be on the road.
3. The extra drives allow for more advanced defensive driving techniques to be discussed and implemented. Currently on the 2nd drive we try to discuss a simple universal defensive driving technique that can help in All driving situations - yet over half of the students do not get this knowledge because we have to allocate the time for vehicle control. With more drives all students will get this advanced knowledge.
4. The extra drives will give the advanced students more training. Students who initially do well with vehicle control will be able to do more driving - more downtown, more freeway, for real world driving situations. Currently only students who go to Boise High or take the Enhanced Course learn parallel parking. It takes 20-30 minutes to learn parallel parking. With more drives all students will be able to learn the simplest, easiest way of parallel parking.
5. Although Ultra Safe students earn their permit with more skill and knowledge than any other driving school - it would make me feel better knowing they have even more knowledge and driving skills. Many parents have told me that their older students took a different driving school and did not have nearly the skills my students have. This is important. You should want your student to have lots of good knowledge and driving skills so that your job of supervising will be easier and safer. A woman at a gas station told me that her 16 year old just got his permit and scares her half-to-death. This should not happen. With 10 drives you will have confidence that your teen will make you feel safe and comfortable when you take over and it will make me feel better knowing this when I hand a student their permit.
6. Lets face it - driving in the Treasure Valley is getting more and more dangerous. This is why in 2015 I decided to have students do over 7 hours of actual driving compared to 6 with most schools (the state requirement is only 6 hours). I taught drivers educations for the Boise Public Schools, Idaho Driving School, and All About Safe Driving. I always felt students needed more training. Compared to even 20 years ago...students are different and our driving culture is much different. Even when I started in 2010 teaching driver education was far easier than it is now. And now with 25,000+ new residents living here it is much more dangerous out there on the roads. A good bumper sticker said "Welcome to Idaho, Now Slow Down".
7. With the extra drives we will be able to do more "risky" maneuvers. Left turns at traffic lights, through the center lane, and from the center lane are considered more risky maneuvers. We will practice them more so that you won't get scared or frustrated when your student does it for the first time with you. We will also dedicate more time to roundabouts since roundabouts are everywhere now. Along with learning how to do these maneuvers we will spend a good amount of time examining their dangers and how to prevent them.
8. We will bring back the Parent Meeting. Before covid we used to have a meet & greet parent meeting. It was always really good for students to meet me before starting the drives. The meetings are about 1 hour at a coffee shop, your residence, or other public place. We continued to not have the meetings because it really cut into our profits (which isn't much in the first place) and it was difficult to schedule 5-8 parent meetings per month. With the 10 Drive course we are only teaching 3 or 4 students per month. This will also allow parents to pay for the driving portion with cash or check at the meeting. The online course will still be paid separately with Paypal.
How much will it be and can we do less drives?
You cannot do less drives because of the goals mentioned above. Why do less drives when 10 drives will help your child stay safer on the roads. Vehicle collisions is the number one cause of death and serious injury to teenagers.
It is going to be between $650 and $750 for the 10 Drive Course including the online classroom course (by Idaho Online Driver Education company). Please keep in mind that drives are at least 2 hours each with the last drive being 3 hours. This means your student will have one-on-one instructions for over 20 hours, and with over 10 hours of actual driving (at most the average driving school only does 5.5 hours of actual driving). This absolutely is not like taking driver education twice. The routes are strategically planned so that your student is challenged on each drive while gradually learning new advanced skills.
How do we schedule and won't it take longer?
It should only take 1 to 1.5 weeks longer to finish.
Just as now, when students are finished with the online course they can schedule the drives. We will schedule all 10 drives. To help with scheduling - the last 4 drives can be spread out a little more (with the first 6 drives there cannot be more than 4 full days between drives). You should aim to drive at least 2 times per week. Also since life happens and unforeseen events can cause cancellations, we will be a little more lenient if this happens. We already give one free cancellation. When your student is finished with the online you can click on the Driver Schedule Preference Form link and following the instructions to schedule the drives. We will create a driving schedule based on your preferences. For $50 extra you can schedule the drives before your student finishes the online. Students can finish the online course in as little as 7 days. So theoretically your student could complete the entire driver education program in 6-7 weeks (if they buckle-down).