Every day in America there are hundreds if not thousands of new drivers on the road, all with varying ages depending on the state. Some states, such as Alaska and South Dakota, begin their learner’s permit allowance as young as 14 years old. Others, such as New Jersey, take a more sensible approach and postpone the age of receiving a learner’s permit until 16 – an extra 2 full years of mental and reactive development. When issuing a full license, most states stay in a general range from 17 to 18 years old, but states like Idaho and South Dakota allow a full license at 16. Georgia and New Jersey are examples of states that require you to be 18 years of age to receive a full license, although this is not the same for driving school.
In-Person Driving School vs. Online Driving School
With the year being 2018, almost everything has made a shift to an online presence in one way or another. Driving school is no exception, at least when it comes to the written requirements. While those reading this may remember having driving school inside of their high school their sophomore or junior year (outside of South Dakota, of course) not all public schools provide driving classes. Nowadays, there are more choices which is helpful for those that are homeschooled. So, why would you take online driving school over an in-person or in classroom course?
Pros of Online Driving School
The biggest upside to taking an online driving school, sometimes referred to as smart driving school, is the convenience of time and comfort. At the ages of 14-16 most teens don’t have the ability to transport themselves to and from the driving school of choice. An example of this would be driving schools such as Drive Smart Georgia that offer most of their current courses during prominent work and school times, but still offer courses after school hours and into the night. With an online driving school this problem is moot, since you are able to log in and pick up or leave off at any time. This also applies to truck driving school.
Online driving school benefits teens who learn better at their own pace. Those who can keep up with any form of online classroom setting will become more comfortable with the progression of the courses, and not feel a rush of anxiety or stress every time they attend a course (on top of a full school day). Online courses also provide direct access to instructors via email or on-site chat, which omits the nervous or anxious feeling some teenagers get when asking a question in class in front of all their peers. Access to the courses also includes a myriad of online resources such as external information websites, videos, unlimited practice tests, and more depending on provider.
The last large pro of online driving school is the minimal cost of enrollment, with most averaging only $50-$100. This also mitigates the need for transportation cost, parking, and schedule shuffling.
It is also to be noted that not all states allow online driving courses to meet all the criteria of driving school. This is why companies like Drive Smart Georgia exist, to provide the full in-class experience to satisfy all requirements provided by their state.
Cons of Online Driving School
Unlike in-person driving schools, there is no way for a state to fully regulate the curriculum or content being provided by an online course. This can provide a great disadvantage in quality when it comes to overall performance of a class and the retention of drivers coming out of it.
Opposing the pro from above, a self-paced course may prove to yield less favorable results than expected. If one individual is a quick reader, they may blow through a 6-week course in only 2 or 3 weeks, diminishing the overall retention rate of the material covered. For others, a 6-week course may turn into 9 or 10 weeks to complete if the individual’s “self-pace” is only occurring sparingly throughout the week.
Oversaturation of the market is the next area to look at. When it comes to picking the right driving school, it may become harder to find an adequate or favorable course that works with budget and quality. Always be weary on the internet and be skeptical for any fake driving school.
Some driving schools, such as Drive Smart Georgia, offer the ability to complete the driving course and do the state required in-car hours all in one package with the same instructors. This provides comfort for the teen taking the course due to familiarity with the instructor during the classroom courses. While online courses cannot satisfy the in-car driving requirements (depending on the provider, this may be included in the course package cost at an external location) they do provide the ability to jump right into a test at any car testing site. Though the cons list is significantly smaller than the pros, there is still a need for understanding the difference in options and weighing them out based on schedule, cost, and the individual’s learning habits.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to a few variables to determine whether an online driving course is for you. First and foremost, will taking an online course satisfy your state’s requirements? In some states, you may not even be able to get accurate results on Google if you try to find online driving courses provided by an in-state company if there is no online driving school provision. Second, only you and your child know their study habits. If you are unable to enforce driving courses at home due to work or being out of the house, there is a danger of the course being skimmed through or exceeding the time needed. Lastly, familiarity with the instructor may or may not aid in your teens success rate on the test. When put in an unfamiliar situation with a stranger, there is more room for failing the course the first time around.
Regardless if your child is just becoming licensed or they are a year away from it happening, the thought of a car being in the near future is always going to be on a parent’s mind. DriveSmart offers plans for newer cars with low mileage and older cars with high mileage to ensure coverage of repairs will follow with the life of the car. Make sure their first car is the last you will have to buy them.