In some ways learning to drive is more important than most of the courses you can take in high school. It’s actually too bad you have to search far and wide for a driving school rather than having one offered in your school. But at the same time, searching for driving courses allows for you to make the choice that fits YOU the best.
Credit should be given to Find-A-Driving-School.ca for their guide on How to Choose a Driving school in Ontario, as ours has used it as an inspiration to adapt it to our point of view here at DriveWise. Visit their site as well for greater insight and guides to helping you attain your licence.
We will be going through the following in our guide:
|Finding a Location
|Length of Course
Test and beyond
Ask around about driving schools
MTO-Approved BDE Course Provider?
Finding a Location
In the beginning it can be rough, you may not drive or have someone to get you to a secluded location for the in-class segment of your driving school, and therefore, location is a big factor in choosing a place to learn driving and road safety skills; you may want somewhere nearby.
First check a directory, either a quick Google search or a peek in the yellow pages for nearby driving schools, plot a course with Google maps, and use your local public transit schedule if applicable.
When thinking about prices, you should look deeper than just the cost. All driving schools are different in that they may offer in-class, in-vehicle, but also something special or a unique selling point that differs from all the others. Find the one that helps you learn to drive the best. Find the one that will be with you every step of the way.
As DriveWise for example, we value our driving simulators and the unique approach of each of our instructors as being a differential factor. We want to make sure you are engaged in every aspect of the learning process.
It’s worth it to ask for credentials, after all, they are there for people to show off and display anyway. Good questions to ask about a potential driving school are: Who would be teaching me? What training do they have? Do they have any background in teaching? How long have they been driving instructors? Etc.
Using these questions to probe are essential for you in finding the best place to learn and develop your driving skills.
Driving simulators are the next best thing to actually driving. You will benefit from a place of learning that provides training through a driving simulator because it allows the practice of safe driving in a controlled environment. You are able to encounter problems you wouldn’t always encounter in real life; therefore in practice it will ready you for many situations.
The MTO standards force each driving school in Ontario to follow the same curriculum, but it’s the execution that differentiates a driving school from another. You may want to find a school that uses a variety of learning devices; PowerPoint Presentations, Interactive Questions, Case Studies, etc. Having a variety allows you to be more engaged, be less bored and more inclined to learn.
Length of Course
Another feature that varies across driving schools is the length of the courses. They are all required to have 40 hours accumulated training, with 10 hours in-car; in order for them to be MTO approved.
DriveWise uses for example 20 hours in-class, 6 of which are through our driving simulators, 10 hours through online learning and quizzes, followed by 10 hours of in-car driving lessons.
If a school doesn’t state the obvious, it’s worth it to ask. A smaller class with more interaction from instructor to student helps to challenge students and learn at a better pace. In larger classrooms you risk being left out or having questions unanswered.
DriveWise often uses one accredited driving instructor to instruct 15-20 students, splits the class in two and alternates when it’s time for training on the driving simulator, while bringing in a second instructor. This offers a lot of one-on-one interaction to help students learn and feel free to ask questions, and also to enjoy themselves.
Test and Beyond
Look for a driving school that isn’t just there to help you pass your written or road tests; unlike regular school, everything you might learn in driving school is relevant, is the law or a major lesson in road safety. Most driving instructors, or the best of them, want to see their students succeed in road safety as well as their tests.
Ask Around About Driving Schools
Ask friends, family, look online, listen and read about other people’s past experiences with the schools they enrolled in and the ones that helped them succeed. Find the ones that created the biggest impact, or whatever is the best match for the way you learn.
MTO-Approved BDE Course Provider?
There have been recorded cases of students in Toronto taking classes from driving schools where they had thought the waiting period from G1 to G2 would be reduced to 8 months, or possible insurance recognition, only to find out that the school they went to had not been an MTO-Approved BDE Course Provider; Make sure you ask if the information cannot be found easily.
Learn to drive safe, learn to drive defensively, learn to drive cooperatively, learn to drive proactively, the list goes on. Learning to drive is a lifelong process where a driving school will eventually pay for itself in many ways.