Driver’s Education: Getting ready to earn the keys to freedom

Sophomore+Makayla+Rooks+tests+her+driving+skills+during+COVID+with+a+guardian+to+instruct+her.

Keira Vecchi

Sophomore Makayla Rooks tests her driving skills during COVID with a guardian to instruct her.

Keira Vecchi, Plaid Truth Staff

According to the California DMV official website, California has a failure rate of 55%. In order to change that, better and newer ways of learning must be made and taught more efficiently to young, soon-to-be, teen drivers. Nowadays, especially with everyone stuck at home, the internet is the best course of action when it comes to learning. Thankfully, driver’s education businesses were able to take to the web as well.

The easiest way for teens to practice driver’s ed right now is to do it online. Thankfully, each of the following DMV approved programs have the option to be used at any time from anywhere as long as a phone or a computer is available.

Driver’s Ed Direct provides free DMV practice tests as well as some video lessons and parking tutorial videos. The site’s known for teaching and promoting eco-friendly driving as well as being up to date on current regulations. In person driving lessons are more pricey, however their business resides close to home in Thousand Oaks.

Aceable has lessons, taught by the friendly robot Ace, that gives the learner a real sense of understanding. Lessons are always able to be read through, or even listened to, more than once (and at one’s own pace). The end of each chapter has a quiz, there’s the occasional video, practice tests, and even 360 degree VR videos. The Aceable team provides customer support 24/7. The lessons are compelling, with jokes mixed in and are constantly kept up to date, especially when talking about the injustices drivers could face while on the road. Besides driver’s ed, Aceable also offers real estate lessons for later down the line.

Safeway Driving School offers online education courses and in-person driving courses, also in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Provided with a final exam when the courses are complete, students of this site can be well equipped for their real test at the DMV. Along with Aceable, Safeway allows “own pace” lessons to create a stress free environment.

Traffic School To Go has no time requirement for their lessons and open book practice tests and quizzes. In order to really assure the learner of passing their permit or license test, their courses can be retaken for free if failed.

DMV Genie is an app and website that provides DMV like practice tests and questions with extensive details about the answers to each so the future driver can fully understand what rules they’re following and why, all for free, besides their premium content.

Though online courses are commonly cheap, some being less than $100, there are courses and in person driving packages that reach prices up to and over $700 which may only be in the fine print and not what’s seen when “Cheap Online Courses” is read. This isn’t an affordable option for every family, such as Sofia Sandoval, the sophomore who said that her online courses “could’ve been more affordable for what it provided”, but thankfully there are occasional sales for these websites and cheaper online courses that are just as extensive and well taught.

Driver’s Ed Direct may have free online courses but they also have packages for behind-the-wheel training and online courses that can be as much as $1,700.
Aceable provides one free month of Allstate roadside assistance and occasionally has sales for their online courses which are usually $75.

Safeway Driving School has online courses for $55 but also has various packages for behind-the-wheel driving and online courses that range from $100-$800.

Traffic School To Go has courses for $19.95 and has a low price guarantee to try to give the course user the best deal possible.

DMV Genie’s practice tests are free, however a lot of the tests and other features must be unlocked with DMV Genie Premium. For one week of tests, $10 must be paid, $15 for a month, and $30 for a lifetime. DMV Genie Premium provides state specific questions, an exam simulator, no ads, cheat sheets, and updated for 2021 regulations.

Even with many topics available to learn from online and in person, there are still things missed and forgotten during driver’s tests. From research done about the California Driver’s Test in late 2020, the most missed questions on the test were revealed in order to help drivers better prepare themselves for the future and learn from others and their mistakes. Many of the missed questions were too specific for learners to remember, like Sophomore Rikka Tignac, about which they had said “the specific little things that aren’t necessarily illegal but just make someone a better driver or parker. Those were the hardest to remember for me….”

“Which direction should you face your wheels when parked uphill/downhill?”
There’s a specific way to park when on an incline but it’s often forgotten by drivers who live in flat areas. The best thing to do on a hill is to park in such a way that the vehicle will be stopped by gravity if it decides to roll, just remember the parking brake!

“Who has the right-of-way when…?”
This question pertains to stoplights, stop signs, and intersections in general, whether it be about pedestrians or other cars. “For a long time I had difficulty remembering the right-of-way laws,” sophomore Sofia Sandoval said. “Like if two cars arrive at a stop sign at the same time, who goes first? I could never remember.” Many of these situations occur and many of them are different. Usually, the one most forgotten is when two or more cars arrive at a stop sign at the same time. Whichever vehicle is the furthest to the right has the right-of-way.

“How much distance should there be between your vehicle and…”
This gets asked a lot and is often state-specific, therefore anything about distance seen while studying should be reviewed constantly. An example of one question: “How much distance should you keep between your vehicle and the railroad tracks if you must stop at a railroad crossing?” No less than 15 feet of distance should be allowed between the vehicle and the crossing.

“At what blood alcohol concentration are you impaired?”
This question also depends on the state. For California though, any under the age of 21 cannot have a blood alcohol concentration of .01 percent or over legally while driving, meanwhile anyone over the age of 21 cannot legally drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher.

“What does [this sign] mean?”
Two types of signage are always asked about on driver’s tests; traffic signs(yield, railroad, school, etc) and warning signs(side roads, deer crossing, winding roads, etc). It is recommended to use flashcards, could be digital or physical, to study the hardest signs to remember.

Thankfully, missed questions are alright on the written exam and passing is still an option with a few wrong answers. However, studying is still highly encouraged, as well as a good night’s rest and reassurance from peers that success will come easily. And now, more than ever, studying is easy thanks to the hundreds of online practice questions and tests to help guide the drivers of the future.