defensive driving classIt’s true that a defensive driving class can save you a lot of money on car insurance. This is often a big incentive for those who decide to take these courses. However, a defensive driving class has a benefit bigger than saving you money or helping you fantasize your action scenes when your favorite director conveniently finds you in the Hollywood Squares.

And that benefit is, unsurprisingly, being able to save your own life. This is especially important on the road nowadays not just because of mannequin deer, but because of the increasing number of incidents involving drunk driving. So if you’re out on the road one night and you happen to see a drunk driver in your midst, here are some ways defensive driving classes can save your neck:

Readiness for evasive action
Evasive action isn’t just for the FBI or Jason Bourne, it’s also important for when you learn to drive. Teenagers are more than 10 times more likely to get into a car accident during their first year of driving than any other driver. This is because they often don’t know how to react on the road when objects, animals, and other drivers wind up in places where they shouldn’t be.

A defensive driving course in addition to traffic lessons can help you be able to identify possible road hazards before they become dangerous, such as identifying a drunk driver before they pass over into your lane. Some of the common signs another driver’s BAC has passed .08% is if they:

  • Weave on the road
  • Are driving in the center of the road
  • Make too wide a turn
  • Swerve abruptly
  • Turn suddenly
  • Break suddenly
  • Give inconsistent signals
  • Have a slow reaction time to other traffic signals

It’s important if you find a drunk driver that you don’t attempt to follow them or get them to stop. This can put you in harm’s way. Instead, continue to drive legally using correct traffic signals and be prepared to take evasive action should they cross over into your lane. If you can, consider pulling over and calling the police to notify them of the drunken driver.

Changing the way you drive
Driving classes may teach you the rules of the road, but a defensive driving class will teach you how to behave correctly when others disobey those rules. These types of classes allow you to recognize challenges, but they also teach you not to underestimate other drivers and the impact of a simple hazard. A squirrel on the road, for instance, can cause a lot more damage than you would think.

Defensive driving teaches you to be vigilant and to react in such a way that is safe and knowledgeable rather than reactionary. And it’s that that will keep you safe on the road from drunk drivers and other road hazards.

adult driving schoolThere are an estimated 214 million licensed drivers in the U.S., and almost all of them have attended some form of drivers education course to learn how to drive. But if you’re a teenager or a young driver, and you’re about to drive on your own for the first time, you might feel a little nervous. But there are ways that you can over come this with a few safety tips.

Be Familiar With The Car
One of the first things you should do before driving your car is to become familiar with it. You need to know the basic controls including the levers, switches, lights, blinkers, and all their positions. You should also learn how to brake and turn the car effectively.

Practice these things in an empty parking lot on a mostly quiet night to avoid putting others at risk.

Remove Distractions
A driver should be attentive at all times. That is one of the most basic things taught in driving classes or when you do your behind-the-wheel practice driving. If there is a small possibility that your co-passenger may cause distractions, don’t let them. Choose someone to go with you that will be patient and quiet.

Driver Education Course
If you haven’t taken a course, which is unlikely if you have your license, or need a refresher course at an adult driving school, it is recommended that you take one. There are even pre-courses online that can offer basic driver education for a smaller fee for those that need a refresher on the rules of the road.

Cars With Safety Features
You should make sure you’re driving a car with the most safety features available to you. The better the safety features, the better it is for the driver, especially young and/or inexperienced ones. You should have a car that has airbags, seatbelts, mirrors, a GPS, and anti-lock breaks for instance.

This also has the benefit of lowering your insurance payments every month. The more safety features, the less you have to pay.

Limit Nighttime Driving
The most mishaps and mistakes occur during the night, and drivers involved in these are often young and inexperienced. Avoiding driving at night can be a good way to avoid these mishaps and keep yourself safe and accident-free.

Those are just some tips to help reduce first-time driver or new driver nervousness. If you have any questions about how you can drive a little more at ease, or adult driving schools to get a refresher, please contact us. We’ll be glad to help.

drivers education classesWe all make mistakes behind the wheel. Sooner or later, that’s bound to happen. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be avoided at all costs. A “silly mistake” like failing to yield to the right-of-way or following another car too closely can quickly culminate in injuries or even fatalities. And because 56% of teens rely on their parents to learn how to drive, it’s likely that many of these young drivers will pick up on their parents’ poor driving habits and think nothing of them. Fortunately, many of these mistakes can be avoided by enrolling in drivers education classes. Once you know the most common mistakes drivers tend to make, you’ll know how to keep them from happening once you learn to drive. To that end, here are just three rules of the road that a lot of drivers get wrong.

  • Four-Way Stops
    Four-way stops are intimidating and confusing for many drivers — even those who have had their licenses for years. The driver who arrives at the four-way stop first has the right to proceed through the intersection first. If you happen to arrive at the intersection at the exact same time as another driver, the car that’s to the right maintains the right-of-way. Be cautious yet proactive when approaching these intersections. And by all means, fight against your instincts to let other drivers go before you if you reached the intersection first. It just creates confusion (not to mention an unsafe situation) for all involved.
  • Merging
    Like four-way stops, lane changes and merging can be a bit frightening for inexperienced and established drivers alike. But the more you talk about it in your drivers education classes and practice driving on major highways, the more comfortable with the idea you’ll be. Use the onramp to get your vehicle up to the proper speed. This will allow you more time to find an opening in traffic and adjust your speed accordingly. Apply the same concept when you change lanes, whether it be on a highway or a local road. Resist the urge to slow down while changing lanes, unless the traffic conditions require you to do so. And always remember to use your turn signals to alert other drivers to your intentions!
  • School Buses
    You’ll probably get stuck behind a school bus at one point or another, which can be an infuriating experience for drivers who are in a time crunch. But while it may cause you to be delayed a few minutes, it’s important to remember the traffic lessons you learned in your drivers education classes and follow the law. When that lit-up stop sign on school bus comes out, that typically indicates that both lanes of traffic — meaning even those drivers who are going in the opposite direction — need to come to a complete halt. You should stop until that sign starts to retract, even if you don’t immediately see any kids crossing the street. Note that some state laws do vary somewhat on this issue, so it will behoove you to find out more in your drivers education classes if you’re unsure. The only situation that doesn’t require both sides of traffic to stop is when the school bus is on a divided highway with a median or other physical barrier. However, drivers on both sides should still slow down and use caution until the bus retracts its sign.

With so many things to remember while operating a vehicle, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or forget what you read about in drivers ed. That’s why it can be helpful to supplement your classroom learning and parent-taught lessons with one-on-one instruction through a driving school. While there are many other confusing and dangerous situations that happen while you’re behind the wheel, having a more in-depth understanding of these three rules can help you stay safe once you have your license.

driving courseWhether you’re 16 or 60, not knowing how to drive can hold you back. The average American drives 29.2 miles per day, after all — and if you’re unable to provide your own transportation, you may not feel like an independent adult. No one likes bumming rides from friends and family.

If you’ve never driven before, taking a driving course can alleviate your anxieties behind the wheel and give you the tools you need to pass the road test. But if you want to find out more about what drivers education classes entail — or why taking an official driving course may be a better way to practice driving than asking a family member to teach you — we’ve compiled some FAQs that will help.

Who should enroll in driving classes?
Depending on where you live, teenagers aged 15 or 16 and above can learn to drive in a drivers education course. But you can also take a driving course at any age. In Arizona, you must take a driver’s education course or complete 30 supervised driving hours prior to applying for a driver’s license and taking your road test. If you choose to take a driving course, Arizona’s Motor Vehicle Division may waive the portion of your licensing exam that takes place behind the wheel, but this is not always the case. Essentially, if you are at least 15.5 years old and have passed both your written and vision tests, you’ll need to apply for your learner’s permit and can choose to enroll in driver’s ed classes.

What happens in Arizona driving courses?
If you enroll in a driving school like Driving Arizona, you’ll have 30 hours of classroom instruction and six hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. Both portions of your drivers education course will be taught by a certified instructor. Students can enroll in drivers ed either through a professional driving school or through a drivers ed program offered by their public high school. You’ll learn about the basics of operating a vehicle, Arizona driving laws, and safe driving tips. You’ll also benefit from one-on-one instruction. While many schools offer this in a small group setting, you can sign up for additional training with an instructor at professional driving schools.

Why should I enroll in a driving class?
Aside from the fact that it’s often the most straightforward way to learn how to safely drive a car and obtain your license, it’s also a great way to feel more comfortable while on the road. Driving can be intimidating and even scary for many people, but having as much experience as possible can be key in reducing anxiety. And the more knowledge you have, the safer you’ll be when operating a vehicle. You’ll feel much more confident after taking a driving class and will have the skills necessary to back it up.

How much does driving school cost?
Costs of drivers ed courses vary by type and state. You should compare costs of reputable options in your area. Keep in mind that although school-based course instructors are certified, private schools may offer a more personalized experience. That can be important if you’re a nervous driver. And while you may want to explore free driving classes offered online, you need to know that these courses may not always be approved by your state’s DMV. Plus, you’ll learn more behind the wheel than behind a screen. That’s one reason cost is not the only factor to consider — instructor quality, convenience, and accreditation is just as important.

Not only will drivers ed help you become a safer, more confident driver, but it’s one of the best ways to actually obtain your license.

To find out more about our drivers education classes in Gilbert, AZ, please contact Driving Arizona today!

driving classesIf you’re a parent of a child that has just started to drive, you have every right to be concerned as only 65% of teens consistently wear their seat belts as both a driver and a passenger of a vehicle. It’s important that they get the right drivers education and driving classes to be a safe and responsible driver.

So to help you instill good driving techniques and practices in your child’s head, here are some tips and suggests:

Make Sure They Pay Attention
In both their driving course and on the road when you practice driving with them. Take the time to give them traffic lessons while being with them while they’re behind the wheel. You want to make sure that they have an understanding of what to do, and what not to do.

Do As You Say
Don’t just tell your child what to do, show them as well. Your teen has probably been watching you drive for a long time, as long as they can remember. And your driving behavior will directly influence how they operate behind the wheel. Driving classes only play a small role in how teens learn to drive.

Pick a Good Drivers Education Course
Many states require a state-approved drivers education course to be taken by teens, and learning from a professional course can help them get the best possible skill set while driving. It’s essential that parents find a course that has current information, and a quality lesson plan for their child.

Have Driving Sessions
Make sure you have your teen drive often, preferably at night, and with your supervision. They can learn in a more practical setting than with a driving class, and get more experience behind the wheel with someone they trust.

Make Good Vehicle Choice
Because teens are at a higher risk for an accident than anyone else, they should be driving the safest vehicle, and one that doesn’t have a hefty price tag, to afford substantial losses. The car should have all the basic safety equipment, including airbags and anti-lock breaks.

These are just some ideas of what to keep in mind alongside your child’s driving classes. It’s important to make sure that you also prepare for what to do in case of an accident. Teach your teen what numbers to dial, and have instructions in the car for them at all times.

So keep your teen, and other drivers on the road, safe with these tips and suggestions. If you have questions, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

adult driving courseDriving a vehicle can be intimidating at any age. After all, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong on the road. But these risks tend to increase as we age due to deteriorating vision and hearing, slower reflexes, and the addition of medications. That’s why you need to take steps to prevent accidents before they occur. If you’re a senior or soon-to-be senior who wants to stay safe on the road, be sure to follow the tips below.

  1. Avoid nighttime driving
    Drivers who live out in the country tend to drive greater distances (12,264 miles per year, on average) than those who live in medium-sized towns or cities (9,709 miles per year). But whether you live in a big city or in a small town, you should restrict your driving to daytime hours whenever possible. This is particularly pertinent if you have problems with your night vision, but it really applies to all older individuals. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t drive at night. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend, relative, or car service if you need to travel in the evening.
  2. Take an adult driving course
    Adult driving courses aren’t just for those who haven’t yet gotten their license. Drivers education classes can also be a great refresher for those who have been driving for decades! There are even driving classes and expos geared specifically towards active seniors who want to improve upon their skills and become more familiar with new laws that might impact their driving. Plus, taking an adult driving course can often help reduce your insurance premiums. It’s never a bad idea to keep learning and improving!
  3. Don’t drive in bad weather
    Inclement weather can be hazardous for any driver on the road. But if your reflexes and vision aren’t what they used to be, a routine trip can quickly become perilous. As a general rule, you should take a look at the forecast before getting behind the wheel. When a storm is on the horizon or conditions are extremely windy, delay your trip.
  4. Plan your route ahead of time
    In the digital age, many drivers rely on a GPS or navigation app to get them where they want to go. But these devices can be extremely distracting and pose a danger for many folks. It’s much better to think about the route you’ll take well in advance and bring along a physical map just in case. When you know exactly where you’re headed, you won’t have to worry about looking away from the road or getting lost. Instead, you can concentrate on traffic and making sound driving decisions.
  5. Don’t tailgate
    Any adult driving course instructor will tell you that tailgating is a bad practice, period. Not only is it dangerous for you and other drivers, but it’s really not very effective. When you’re a senior driver, it’s especially important to keep your distance. You’ll need a longer amount of time to come to a stop, which is a luxury you won’t have if you’re traveling too closely to another vehicle. And when you’re approaching an intersection, give yourself plenty of time to come to a complete stop, too.
  6. See your doctor regularly
    Sometimes, what you do when you’re off the road is just as important as what you do when you’re on it. You’ll be a much more prepared driver if you see your doctor on a regular basis to check your vision, hearing, reflexes, and medication interactions. The more you know about your own body and mind, the better off you (and others on the road) will be. This will allow you and your doctor to address any concerns you might have before they ever cause any kind of road accident.

Whether you’re a senior over the age of 65 or you’re a young adult who just needs some extra practice, adult driving courses can help you stay safe on the road. For more information, contact a reputable adult driving school in your area.

practice drivingIt’s quite common for teen drivers to be nervous about operating a vehicle, especially when they have little to no experience behind the wheel. And since 20% of 11th graders reported being a driver in a crash during the past year, their anxieties aren’t completely unfounded. Studies have actually found that nervous teen drivers tend to be better drivers; they’re more cautious and are less likely to make risky decisions. And while your teen’s nervousness will likely lessen with time, it can be a problem when they first learn to drive or need to take their road test. If your teen is struggling with the driving jitters, there are a few things you can do to help.

  1. Remove the mystery
    Your teen’s anxiety may not completely stem from the act of driving; it’s possible that they may be intimidated by the vehicle and the logistics of how to operate the lights, transmission, pedals, and signals. Before they ever navigate out of the driveway, it’s a good idea for your teen to become more familiar with how the car actually works. Go over how to adjust their mirrors, how to change windshield wiper speeds, how to turn their brights on and off, and how to start, stop, and signal a turn. The sooner they learn these basics and feel comfortable with them, the less thought they’ll have to devote to them. Once these operations feel like second nature, they’ll feel a lot more comfortable behind the wheel.
  2. Enroll them in a beginner driving course
    A tried-and-true way for teens to practice driving when their parents aren’t available is through driving classes. Teens will often feel less nervous with an instructor as compared to driving with a parent in the passenger seat. Even if you don’t make your teenager nervous, it can be helpful to get a more complete overview of the rules of the road and get assistance from a trained instructor. It’s a good way to take the emotion out of the equation. Whether they practice driving with a small group of students or have independent sessions, they can focus specifically on skills that worry them or work on scenarios they might experience once they have their license.
  3. Stick to the familiar
    It can be nerve-wracking to practice driving in an area you’re not very familiar with. Unfamiliar roadways can be tricky, and the last thing your teen needs is to be distracted by a navigation app or GPS. Until they’re more comfortable, it’s best to stick to areas they know well. They should practice driving to school, workplaces, restaurants, malls, parks or other destinations they’ll likely go during their regular routine. Before they get their license, it may also be helpful to drive in the town where they’ll take their road test. However, they may not be able to practice driving with a licensed instructor in the exact area where tests are performed.

New drivers often experience anxiety when they’re first faced with learning how to drive. This is completely normal, but it doesn’t have to impede their independence. Parents need to be encouraging, understanding, and proactive in helping their teens become more comfortable behind the wheel. To find out how a beginner driving course can alleviate anxiety in your teen, contact Driving Arizona today.

drivers educationIt may seem obvious that taking a drivers education course can help keep you safe when you’re on the road. But you might be surprised by how many teens forgo formal drivers ed to learn from a relative or family friend. A report published back in 2012 found that only one in five teens in the U.S. took drivers education classes prior to obtaining their licenses. But we now know definitively that taking drivers ed can significantly reduce the number of car crashes and ticket violations that new drivers face.

According to a 2015 study out of the Nebraska Prevention Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, teens who learn to drive without taking a drivers ed course are 75% more likely to get a traffic ticket, 24% more likely to sustain an injury or die in a car crash, and 16% more likely to have an accident in the first place.

The eight-year study, which involved 150,000 teen drivers, found that 53% of participants took a state-approved beginner driving course; the rest logged their required 50 hours of driving under parental or adult supervision. The first group had far fewer accidents and tickets during their first year of driving than those who had no formal instruction.

For example, of teens who took drivers ed, 11.1% were involved in a crash during that first year. Of those who did not take a formal course, 12.9% were involved in accidents. Around 10.4% of students who had taken a driving course were ticketed for moving traffic violations, while 18.3% of teens who learned from a parent or other adult received tickets for these violations. In addition, similar trends were seen for alcohol-related violations during the second year of driving.

Since teens between the ages of 16 and 19 already have fatality rates four times those of drivers aged 25 to 69, parents need to do everything they can to ensure their new drivers are safe when behind the wheel. While guardians might believe they’re in the best position to teach their children how to drive, these teens will likely receive a more comprehensive education with a trained instructor. From legislation changes to learning to make informed decisions in the car, teens who take drivers ed are typically set up to become better, safer drivers.

To learn more about our Arizona drivers education classes for teens, adults, and new drivers of all kinds, contact Driving Arizona today.

beginner driving school

If you’ve signed up for beginner driving school in hopes of becoming one of the 214 million licensed drivers throughout the country, you probably have some idea of what to expect in these courses. In addition to actually learning the mechanics of driving a car, you’ll find out more about the rules of the road and local laws that impact you while behind the wheel.

AZ drivers, in particular, need to be familiar with state legislation like the “Move Over” law. This law was designed to protect those who serve the public and need roadway clearance to do so, like police officers, firefighters, and emergency workers. In 2011, the law was revised to also include tow truck drivers, work and maintenance crews, roadside assistance personnel, and stranded drivers.

What Does the “Move Over” Law Require?
Drivers must move over to create space (i.e., change lanes) — or slow down, if they are unable to move over — when they see a vehicle with flashing lights pulled over on any type of highway, freeway, street, or city road.

Are There Times When You Shouldn’t Move Over?
If at all possible, you should utilize proper lane change procedures, which you’ll learn in beginner driving school, to move over to the next lane. However, there are situations wherein this won’t be possible. As you practice driving, you’ll find yourself on one-lane roadways or will experience very congested traffic conditions. In cases like these, moving over would be either impossible or unsafe. Should this scenario come up, you should reduce your speed and proceed with caution, keeping a sharp eye out for any people or objects that could enter your lane.

What Can Happen If I Don’t Move Over?
If you have the ability to move over but fail to do so, you could face a hefty fine. Just a few months ago, 26 drivers were stopped on Interstate 19 when they violated this law during an eight-hour police exercise. Officers chose to educate these drivers, giving most written warnings in lieu of citations. Even though the law first took effect in 2005, it’s clear that many Arizona drivers either aren’t aware of the law or simply don’t care enough to follow it. However, if you’re fined, you could be forced to pay up to $650 for the offense.

What Else Should I Know About the “Move Over” Law?
When you learn to drive, you’ll come to understand that laws like these aren’t arbitrary; they were enacted to protect people in dangerous situations. While it may not seem like a big deal to you, a split second decision to not change lanes could impact your life — and the lives of others — forever. In your driving courses, you’ll learn more about what to do in tricky situations that will undoubtedly come up at some point when you’re on the road. Being totally familiar with laws like Arizona’s “Move Over” law will help keep you and others safe (and will keep you from having to pay a heavy fine!).

To find out how beginner driving school can help you learn the rules of the road and become more comfortable behind the wheel, contact Driving Arizona today.

beginner driving schoolParents will do just about anything to keep their kids safe. But even when they stress the importance of safe driving habits, they can’t be in the car every time their teen heads out on the open road. In an effort to keep inexperienced drivers safe and make sure their focus stays where it should, the state of Arizona just passed legislation that will limit cell phone use for new drivers.

Thanks to Governor Doug Ducey, it will soon be illegal for drivers with learner’s permits to text or make calls while behind the wheel. The same law extends to teens during the first six months of having their actual license.

The consequences of being caught will probably be considered fairly severe by many teens. First-time violations can carry a $75 fine and having their new motorist restrictions (which include limitations on the number of teen passengers and for nighttime driving) extended for an extra month. If a teen gets caught a second time, they’ll likely pay a $100 fine and enjoy an additional six months of restrictions. Third violations will receive a 30 day license suspension.

While some legislators pushed back against the legislation, citing that parents have a responsibility to make sure these instances aren’t happening, Ducey knows first-hand that parental advice isn’t always sufficient. Of course, the governor hopes that parents are talking to their kids about the dangers of texting and driving. But now, the law will enforce those lessons.

The law won’t go into effect until July of 2018, so until that time, parents will have to bear the full burden of responsibility. Once it goes into effect, Montana will be the only state in the union that has no restrictions on teen drivers using cell phones. Currently, 46 states plus the District of Columbia ban text messaging by drivers of any age.

While distracted driving is incredibly dangerous for all drivers, it’s particularly so for teens. Around 25% of ninth graders report they’ve already been in a car crash as a passenger. Cell phones are so ubiquitous now that the temptation often proves too great. Young drivers may not think it’s a big deal to check their messages or look down at the phone in their lap for navigation. They also may not think twice about how dangerous it could be to give their friends a ride or drive late at night. While Arizona will now place restrictions on all of these behaviors, it’s important that both inexperienced and seasoned drivers alike understand the hazards of these practices. Beginner driving school is often an important first step in recognizing and eliminating these dangers.

Drivers education classes will not only educate you on how to properly drive a vehicle and become more confident behind the wheel. In beginner driving school, you’ll also learn all about the road laws that impact your daily life and how you can avoid dangerous distracted driving. Whether you’ve just gotten your learner’s permit or just don’t feel comfortable on the road, beginner driving school can help you learn how to stay safe and make good decisions behind the wheel.

Want to find out more how Mesa driving school can help you become a better driver? Our beginner driving courses and defensive driving classes will teach you everything you need to know. For more information, contact Driving Arizona today.