What Is Driver’s Education?

Automotive, Home & Family
on October 9, 2011

Driver’s education refers to the hours of classroom instruction a student driver must complete in order to take a driving test and qualify for a driver’s license.

Steps to getting a driver’s license. Most states require four steps to getting a driver’s license, according to DMV.org. The first step is to complete a driver’s education course, offered to teens once they turn 15.5 years old. The course must be taught by a private or public high school or by a state-licensed driver’s education school. Many public high schools offer the course for free. Most states require approximately 30 hours of classroom instruction. Driver’s education courses also can be taken online as long as the requirements are the equivalent of classroom instruction. Once the course has been passed, the prospective driver may get a learner’s permit and proceed to driver’s training. Some states allow or require the student to practice driving after a certain number of sessions. The student, in addition to passing a driver’s ed course, must also pass the state written driving test to obtain a license.

What you’ll learn at driver’s education. Although requirements vary by state, there are common elements involved in most driver’s education courses. A student must master the concepts taught in each lesson. If a student misses one course, it must be made up in order to move forward in the licensing process. Areas of study include the following:

  • Road and safety signals
  • Getting familiar with vehicle controls
  • Basic driving skills and rules of the road
  • Safe driving decisions
  • Sharing the road
  • How weather conditions affect driving
  • Driving environments
  • The dangers of alcohol and driving
  • Mental and physical effects on driving
  • The consequences of bad driving
  • What to do if there’s a breakdown or emergency

Most states require a certain number of hours of supervised driving taken concurrently with the course. Some states now require parents to participate and learn the laws governing junior drivers.

Refresher courses. Driver’s education is no longer limited to just teens. Quite often, already licensed drivers are mandated to take a driver’s education course if it appears they need a refresher on certain laws and safety rules. Of course, if you learn the material the first time and put it into practice, once is enough.