Your son or daughter is ready to get their license and get behind the wheel, but how can you make sure that they're prepared? Start by choosing the right driving school to ensure that they get the training they'll need. Not only will this help to set your mind at ease, but, as an added bonus, it will save you on your auto insurance premiums.
In Canada, driving schools must be approved by the provincial government. For Ontario, that means that the course must consist of a minimum of 25 hours of in-class training, and 10 hours of in-car training. There are countless options for driver training programs, so make sure you do your research to ensure that you're getting a course that provides the best fit for your teenager.
When you start making inquiries, look for a printed course information package, which should provide basic information about the school, confirming their provincial accreditation and years in operation. Experienced instructors who upgrade their credentials regularly, a clean and comfortable learning environment, and vehicles that are in good operating condition should help to give you confidence that you've chosen the right institution. You may want to visit the school and see firsthand what they have to offer in the way of classroom facilities and equipment - make sure that your child will be in a learning environment that fits their individual needs.
Driver training courses can be offered by private companies, or administered by a local school board, where they are often held in local high schools, but all should cover the same basic principles, and provide appropriate training materials to their students. Review the curriculum to ensure that topics such as risk management, driving in adverse conditions and defensive driving tactics are included. Some schools offer progress and evaluation reports - which may help you to better understand where your child is excelling, and address potential areas of difficulty early on.
Your child should be trained on the road in a variety of driving conditions to ensure that they have the skills and experience to react to any situation they encounter. The course should go beyond basic driving manoeuvres and ideally include night driving, highway driving, and strategic driving. A low student/teacher ratio is particularly desirable, especially during in-vehicle lessons, where a one-on-one lesson will result in more focused and personalized teaching. Many schools offer the option to use an instructor's vehicle for a road test, (though usually at an additional cost) with the option to have a refresher lesson beforehand.
The cost of driver training programs can vary drastically from course to course, but rest assured, any accredited program will help to reduce the premiums on car insurance in Ontario for new drivers. Course fees for schools with lower student/teacher ratios are often more expensive, and the best course isn't necessarily the most expensive option. More expensive courses may offer different training, but won't save you additional premiums on your car insurance.
Take the opportunity to get insurance quotes and make sure that you're getting the best insurance rates, as some auto insurance companies offer more competitive rates for new or young drivers.