driving schoolAlthough we all like to think we are safe drivers, “safe” can actually be a relative term. In some cases, it actually depends on where you live (or where you drive). Laws are always changing, and the state regulations or general tips that apply to Arizona residents might not apply to drivers across the nation. Since 56% of teens rely on their parents to learn to drive, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with these important standards either on your own or through a driving school course. If you are pulled over, your ignorance of the law won’t be a valid excuse! Here are three rules (both legally enforced and otherwise) that can help you stay safe on Arizona roads.

  1. There is no such thing as a legal BAC level.
    If you’ve ever taken drivers education classes, you’ve probably learned a bit about driving under the influence and why you should never do it. But young drivers might be surprised to learn that even if they have only a tiny bit of alcohol and get behind the wheel, they could still be legally cited for a DUI. Arizona law says any amount of alcohol in a driver’s system could leave them vulnerable to being charged with a DUI. If your blood-alcohol level is .08% or above, you’ll definitely be fined or arrested. However, you could be cited for literally any level of intoxication if a police officer thinks you’re impaired. For this reason and many others, drinking and driving is a no-go.
  2. You need to be familiar with roundabouts.
    If you’ve never driven on a roundabout before, you’ll need to do so. They’re becoming much more prevalent throughout the state, as they’re generally seen as safer and less-expensive to operate. However, they can be intimidating for a new driver. Haven’t encountered them during your traffic lessons yet? As you approach, slow down and yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic. You may have a stop sign to follow, but you should always look to your left and yield to those already in the circle. When there’s a gap, put on your signal, enter the traffic circle, and proceed to your exit. When you go out to practice driving, make sure you head to a roundabout at least a couple of times.
  3. Cities make their own texting-while-driving laws.
    The state of Arizona does not yet have a state-wide law pertaining to texting while driving or even being on the phone while operating a vehicle. However, many cities and counties do. Tucson is located in a county that now has a no-texting-while-driving law. It’s illegal in Phoenix to send or receive a non-voice communication on a wireless device while driving, too. As a general rule, you should refrain from using your phone while driving unless it’s an absolute emergency. In driving school, your instructors will help you understand how important this is and how one text message isn’t worth risking your life.

Of course, your parents can impart a lot of driving wisdom. But only in driving school will you learn more about up-to-date legislation that impacts you and the proper ways to handle tricky situations. To find out more about signing up for drivers education in Arizona, contact us today.

drivers ed practice tests

A lot of teenagers simply can’t wait to get behind the wheel. But while the freedom a driver’s license provides can be exciting, it’s important to keep that excitement in check. Unfortunately, the combination of lack of experience, smartphones, and incomplete brain development has the potential to have dangerous consequences out on the open road. Nearly 20% of 11th graders have reported being the driver in a car crash within the last year. Fortunately, many of the mistakes that often lead to serious accidents can be avoided. That is, as long as these young drivers are aware of the pitfalls from the moment they start to practice driving. Below, you’ll find three common mistakes teen drivers are likely to make. This list will help young drivers be better prepared for whatever comes their way and can help them avoid making these catastrophic mistakes themselves.

  1. Distraction
    Distraction can be a problem for drivers of any age, but it’s especially serious for teen drivers. When you first learn to drive, nothing will be automatic. While some things will eventually become second nature (like turning your brights on and off or adjusting your windshield wiper speed), complete concentration is particularly important in those early stages. That means that everything from eating and changing the radio station to GPS navigation and (of course) texting should be off-limits. Your focus should be on the road and on your surroundings, not on passengers in the backseat or on your phone. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can have disastrous consequences.
  2. Speeding and Tailgating
    Inexperienced drivers will often underestimate how fast they’re going or how much time they need to come to a proper stop. And if they’re learning how to drive from a family member, rather than through driving courses and drivers ed practice tests, they’re likely to imitate unsafe driving behaviors they see. Traveling above the speed limit (particularly in inclement weather) or failing to maintain the proper following distance can easily cause an accident. As a rule, you should maintain at least a three-second gap between your car and the one in front of you. At a stop light, make sure you have a full car’s length of space between your car and the one in front. When the speed limit increases, so should this following distance. If you feel unsafe traveling at the speed limit posted, don’t feel pressured to go too fast before you’re ready. (Driving at too low a speed can also be dangerous, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.)
  3. Taking Unnecessary Risks
    Not only does a 16- or 17-year-old have less experience out on the road than other drivers, but the frontal lobe of their brain — the portion that is responsible for behavior and judgment — is not yet fully developed. In fact, studies have shown that this rational part of the brain won’t reach its full capacity until a person turns 25 or so. This means that a teenager will be more likely to make errors in judgment and fail to anticipate what other drivers will do (or how they should react in these circumstances). Taking drivers ed practice tests will help prepare them for the skills they need to display on an exam, but traffic lessons will help them apply these principles to the real world. Overcompensating for mistakes or underestimating the speed of another driver can make a bad situation much worse. Comprehensive driving courses or one-on-one lessons can be a great supplement to drivers ed practice tests, as they’ll give teen drivers a more complete picture of what to expect once they’re on their own. It takes time to become a truly excellent driver, so make sure your teen driver understands why it’s important to be patient and not rush the process.

Your teen might be eager to just get through their drivers ed practice tests and schedule their exam, but being overly hasty to get their license could spell trouble. Make sure you communicate with your teen about these common mistakes and how they can avoid engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. And of course, signing them up for driving school can help, too!

traffic lessonsA defensive driving class, sometimes called traffic lessons, aims to strengthen driving skills, reiterate traffic rules, and teach tactics on how to be safer behind the wheel. Unlike a beginner driving course, when you take traffic lessons you are expected to already have your license. People take defensive driving courses for a variety of reasons, some of which may include:

  • Point reduction or removal from a traffic ticket
  • Reinstatement of a driver’s license
  • Lower insurance premiums
  • To further enhance driving skills

Even as an adult, it’s important to continue learning about driving safety. After all, the leading cause of injury and death in the workplace is motor vehicle collisions, and the cost of just one accident could be as high as $1.4 million.

How to Prepare For Your Course

  1. Know the rules in your state. Traffic lessons may vary depending on where you live, so make sure you do research about the required amount of hours, time frame, and type of course allowed in your state.
  2. Find a driving school location near you. Classes are also offered online so you can choose the method that works best with your schedule.
  3. Expect to spend between six to eight hours in the course. Some courses are shorter and some are longer, depending on the state requirements. Online courses typically allow you to complete the course in sessions as long as it’s completed within the given time period.
  4. Anticipate having to take at least one quiz during the course. Quizzes allow you the instructor to ensure you’re learning the material. Most courses do not have a final exam at the end, but it varies from state to state.
  5. Make sure it satisfies all of your requirements. If you’re taking the course because it was ordered by a judge, check with the court to make sure you don’t need to take a specific course. For some violations, an online course will not be accepted. Non-moving violations cannot be removed by a defensive driving course. You also cannot take a defensive driving course to remove points from a DWI or DUI. For these violations, you may be required to take a specific driving course.
  6. Be prepared. If you’re going to be sitting in a classroom for 8 hours, make sure you get enough sleep so you’ll be able to focus the entire time. Bring any required materials, including your license, insurance information, and anything given to you by a judge. Additionally, bring water and a lunch or snacks with you.

Some people think that after they’ve gotten their license, they no longer need to learn about driving safety. But while it varies among states and age groups, it’s been clearly shown that fatality and accidents rates decrease among drivers who take defensive driving courses. Traffic lessons can be a great way to enhance your driving skills and ensure you’re being as safe and as responsible as possible while driving.

adult driving courseWhile many American teenagers can’t wait to get their license, the desire to drive isn’t universal. In fact, driving-related anxieties and even phobias are quite common. And even though 86% of U.S. workers commuted by car in 2013, that doesn’t mean that everyone wants to learn to drive. Unfortunately, a fear of driving has the potential to hold you back from pursuing a number of opportunities. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the reasons people are scared to drive and how driving classes might help you get past your fears.

  1. Past Experiences
    If someone has been in a car accident or associates driving with some kind of traumatic event, they may be understandably reluctant to get behind the wheel. Most of our fears aren’t rational, and many people worry that their prior experience (be it a panic attack, an instance of road rage, or driving through a horrible storm) might happen again. As a result, that individual might avoid the situation entirely, meaning that they won’t want to drive at all. Ultimately, this makes it very difficult to break the cycle; even when working around the issue can be tough, it’s often easier to face than the alternative.
  2. Crashing
    Getting in an accident can be physically and/or emotionally devastating for many people, and unfortunately, these incidents do happen. That’s why defensive driving is so important However, when a fear of crashing keeps you from wanting to practice driving at all, you might benefit from taking an adult driving course or signing up for individual lessons. Sometimes, when inexperienced drivers feel pressure from others on the road, they might be inclined to make unsafe choices just to get out of the way. In your driving classes, you’ll learn much better techniques for dealing with other drivers in highly trafficked areas. Rather than traveling at unsafe speeds, you’ll learn how to travel safely and calmly.
  3. Unfamiliar Locations
    Many people don’t really learn to navigate until they take driving classes and get into the driver’s seat. And because we rely so much on our GPS and navigating apps, it can be tough to really get a feel for a particular location (even if it’s your home town!). But for a lot of people, driving somewhere strange can send their anxiety skyrocketing. The idea of being away from home and not knowing what might happen can convince some people not to drive at all.

So what can you do about driving fears?
For one thing, an adult driving course can provide you with a lot of valuable information. The fear of the unknown is real, and the more knowledge you have, the calmer you’ll probably feel. Plus, an adult driving course can allow you to face your fears in a more controlled environment, with instructors who understand your hesitations and the common issues inexperienced drivers may have. You might also benefit from individual sessions with an instructor, as these can be tailored to tackle your anxieties in a productive way. However, if your fear of driving is such that you can’t face the idea of operating a vehicle, you might want to consider speaking to a therapist or a trusted friend or relative.

Any kind of anxiety can be a challenge to overcome, but with the proper guidance, you will likely be able to face your fears and become an even more confident (and competent) driver as a result.

driving classesAmericans drive a lot. On average, we drive 29.2 miles per day, making two trips with the average total duration of 46 minutes. But spending all this time behind the wheel sometimes makes it hard for the average driver to remember all the rules of the road. In fact, there are so many different things to remember that it can seem overwhelming every time you get behind the wheel.

After receiving a license, most drivers never are tested on the things they learned in their driving classes. This is why it pays to continuously invest in drivers education to stay up to date with the rules of the road. So here are some little-known road tips and tricks and traffic lessons that will help you stay up to date when driving around town.

  • There’s a method behind the numbers of the thruways
    Ever wonder where all the numbers come from for the interstate highways? There are a few things these numbers can tell you:

    • If a highway has an odd number, it is traveling north to south.
    • If the highway is even, it is traveling east to west.
    • For three-digit interstate highways, if the first digit is even, the highway connects to another interstate at either end.
    • Typically, the last two numbers for a three-digit interstate tells you what other interstate the route comes from.
  • When it comes to funerals, keep your space
    In many states, it is unlawful to willingly interrupt or interfere any funeral procession. There most likely will be a police officer at the beginning and end of the procession, so find them and keep your distance.
  • The number of the exit corresponds with the miles driven
    While this isn’t a rule, it is helpful when driving on the expressway. The number of the exit corresponds with the location of the exit. For example, if you are at exit 47 and you need to get to exit 50, you have three more miles to go. Knowing this ahead of time makes it easier for you to prepare what side to get off.
  • Look at a truck driver in your lane for a clue about traffic
    It is a common practice for semi-truck drivers to put their hazard lights on when the traffic is coming to an abrupt stop.

It is important to think of every time you get behind the wheel as a driving course. Your driving classes never stop, so remember these rules and buckle up!

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.