Few things are as anxiety-ridden for parents as their children getting ready to start driving and take driver’s ed classes.
On the one hand, you are secretly, or not so secretly, happy that one day soon, they will be able to drive themselves to school, to movies, and to friends’ houses. They might even start to drive you places and make up for all the years you spent being their private chauffeur.
But then you start thinking about your child behind the actual wheel of a real car, not the cute, red plastic one that is still in your shed, and you find yourself having trouble sleeping.
Is It Ever Enough?
You are, of course, worried about all the things that could go wrong. Probably you have already started giving your child pointers on good driving. You may also, like many parents, have taken your kid to an empty parking lot or an uncle’s field to practice behind the wheel. You feel confident that you have driven into your teen’s head basic rules like always fastening the seat belt, not texting while driving, and never gunning the car to make that light. But it doesn’t feel like that is good enough, and all you want is to keep your baby safe on the road.
Required or Not, Driver’s Ed Classes are a Good Idea
If your state requires a driver’s ed class for a teen to get a license, it may be offered at the local high school. Today, however, such courses are not available everywhere, and when they are, they are often dreary and uninspiring. We would advise you to sign your teen up for driver’s ed classes online instead, even if it is not required by your state. It will give you some additional peace of mind, and it may also translate into better insurance rates when you add your new driver to your insurance.
Online Driver’s Ed Classes are Flexible and Fun
Online driver’s ed classes are flexible, and the material is presented in a fun and engaging way. Kids can go at their own pace, and they can go back over material more easily and more enjoyably than with a standard class.
With online driver’s ed classes, you have a better chance than with a boring high school course that your teen will actually remember and use the information.
You can browse sites to see what each online driver’s ed class offers. Do involve your teen in the process. If your teen is fired up about it, it is much more likely to be a good and lasting experience.
Most likely your teen is excited about becoming a driver, and you want to channel that excitement into learning how to become a good and safe driver.
To give you an idea of how fun these online classes can be, here are the top 3 online driver’s ed providers that we highly recommended:
First on our list is Aceable. This school just started providing driver’s education around 2015, but they’ve already won the hearts of thousands of students. This is primarily because they have a cool learning platform that’s a lot fresher than most online driver’s ed courses. Fresh in the sense that it showcases the most advanced video and animated visuals, plus 3D driving simulations that make learning to drive a lot closer to the real thing.
It’s just too bad Aceable is only approved in the following states: CA, GA, FL(Miami-Dade County), IL, NV, OH, OK, PA, TX. But who knows, it’s just a matter of time before Aceable courses become available in your state, so watch out!
If we’re going to talk about experience and availability, Aceable is no match with DriversEd.com, one of the oldest online driver’s ed programs out there, and also the most widely available. When it comes to course content and features, it may not be as modern as Aceable but they recently updated their course materials so that their animations and graphics don’t look that old school anymore. They have online driver’s ed courses approved in the following states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, IN, MN, NE, NV, OH, OK, PA, TX, UT, VA, and WI.
If your state is not on this list, DriversEd.com may still have courses available where you live. Although it isn’t state-approved, you’re free to check with your local DMV if it can satisfy license requirements (only if your state authorizes online driver’s ed).
If you’re looking for other ways to complete the course other than the usual online format, DriverEdToGo.com has options for textbook and DVD formats. Just take note that their course content, although highly informative, may not have the most modern graphics and animations. Their user interface may not be as impressive as Aceable’s or DriverEd’s. But because of that, their offer is probably the cheapest that you’ll find.
Currently, this school is approved in CA, CO, GA, IN, OH, and VA only. However, just like DriversEd, they offer courses in all states though not state-approved. So if your state authorizes online driver’s ed, you’ll have to ask your local DMV if DriversEdToGo can satisfy license requirements.
You can check our already vetted list of reputable online driving schools for other options available out there so that you can decide which course is right for your teen.
Are Driver’s Ed Classes Expensive?
Prices vary, depending on which school and which type of driver’s ed classes you choose.
In general, online driver’s ed classes are very reasonably priced compared to brick & mortar courses, and they offer extra value by being interactive, flexible, and accessible anytime, anywhere.
Often you can also find coupons and discounts to lower the cost of the course.
Considering that a course can help your teen drive more safely, it is obviously a good investment.
How Much Time Does It Take To Finish An Online Driver’s Ed Class?
Again, courses vary, but the flexibility of online-based driver’s ed classes is that they can fit into otherwise idle time, like when you are driving somewhere, for example. Also, because courses use video, graphics and have interactive aspects, the learning tends to be more effective, relative to the time spent, than a regular classroom course.
Most teens enjoy the courses and may see parts of the course more as entertainment than as learning, so they might spend time going over their favorite parts of the course several times, instead of playing online games or watching TV.
What Else Can You Do?
Apart from modeling good, safe driving habits every time you are in the car with your teen, consider following along with the driver’s ed class you and your teen chose together.
You don’t want to crowd your teen, but showing interest, watching some of the videos together, and being open to questions from your teen will all help reinforce what is offered by the course.
You may also be surprised by how much you have forgotten, since you took driver’s ed yourself, so it can end up being a good learning experience for you as well.
You may also be taken aback by how different an online course is from the driver’s ed you remember from high school.
Finally, Don’t Forget to Breathe
Yes, it is nerve-racking to imagine the first time your kid takes off all alone in your car to go to soccer practice. You don’t want anything to happen, either to your teen … or to your car.
But remember to breathe. Keep in mind that you have done everything you can to make your child a good, safe driver.
New drivers become reliable, experienced drivers remarkably fast, if they have a solid foundation.
You provided that solid foundation, so don’t let your understandable anxiety spill over to your teen.
Probably the budding driver is nervous too, but a nervous driver is more likely to make mistakes, so you want to instill confidence and show that you have faith in your child’s skill and judgment.