New Driver Q&A
It’s probably been awhile since you learned to drive, but if you’ve got a young teen, prepare for a refresher course in the rules. Travis Mayer, owner of Enhanced Driving Institute (EDI) of Wisconsin, answers a few questions on how to prep not only your soon-to-be driver, but also yourself.
How do parents know when their child is ready to drive?
The state law says kids can take the class as early as 14.5, yet cannot receive a permit until age 15.5.
Consider the child's maturity level. Are they getting good grades? Are they staying out of trouble? One thing EDI does, unlike other schools, is have each student write an essay on why they think they are ready to drive. The essay has to be signed by mom or dad.
What kind of drivers education should parents pick?
Parents have choices. Your kids are the most important things in your life; spend the time and pick the best school for you and your child. How is it taught? Who is teaching it? What's the focus?
My focus is defensive driving. I also do a parent class. But I would say one of the biggest factors should be the instructor’s connection with the students. As a father of three kids, I am able to connect with all types of kids so they have less anxiety.
How has drivers education changed from what parents may remember?
I took it in school with the gym teacher. Nowadays, with all of the distractions when driving, we have to teach our kids to be defensive drivers. When I took drivers ed, we read books and watched old videos and half the kids fell asleep. This is why my class is lecture, games, and open discussion.
Things to consider:
Packages in the area range from $350-$575 for comprehensive classroom and behind the wheel training.
Many schools have programs on site. Online courses are also available.
State law requires 30 hours of classroom training and at least 12 hours of road time (six driving, six observing).
Make sure your teen’s 16th birthday lines up with their course completion.