How to choose the right driving school

Driving lessons

Are you a new driver looking for formal training, an older driver facing an Enhanced Road Assessment or simply one of those rare people who wish to improve their driving skills?

Here are a few tips on how to choose the driving school that is right for you.

All driving schools must be licensed by ICBC and meet minimum standards. The same applies to driving instructors. ICBC provides basic information on how to choose a driving school.

Perhaps the best place to start is by asking yourself where you want to be at the end of your training. You will need to learn a mix of skills, knowledge and attitude to be truly successful. It's not just a matter of learning to pass a road test.

Having set your goals, it's time to find a school that will help you achieve them. ICBC provides an up to date list of driving schools by location and the type of training that they provide.

If you are lucky enough to have a choice of schools, now it's time to check them out. These days they should have a website that provides comprehensive information and possibly a social media presence.

This is where you may find testimonials and reviews from students.

Give the school a call. If they answer using a cell phone during a lesson that school may not be your best choice.

Go to the school and check out their classroom and training vehicles. Is the training vehicle well maintained, the right vehicle for you and do they have dual controls?

Here are some other points to consider:

• Is the school located close by or do they pick up students locally?

• Does their schedule match with yours?

• How much does training cost and do they offer payment plans?

• Do they offer specialized training like GLP theory or programs for older drivers?

• Are they able to accommodate individuals with special needs?

• Do they speak your preferred language?

• Is it easy to book and reschedule lessons?

• Do they offer job placement assistance along with commercial training?

• Is their customer service friendly and helpful?

• How long has the school been in business?

• What does the Better Business Bureau have to say about them?

• Will they provide written lesson structure and course curriculum on request?

• Checking Out the Instructor

• ICBC also sets the minimum training standards for driving school instructors. Once those are met, ICBC does not require anything more.

Schools may choose to have their instructors complete regular upgrade or refresher courses and conduct monthly review meetings.

Ask about instructor experience and any extra qualifications that they may have earned.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Behind the Wheel articles

About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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