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Drivers Training - Does it Really Help?

Having any of your children get their first driver's license can be a nerve wracking time for the best of parents. You may still see them as your little baby - surely they aren't old enough to drive already! Although that day comes faster than any of us would like, it is always good to be prepared. Once they finally convince you to get their G1, the next big decision is to send them away to driver's training or not? For some it makes a lot of sense, as they may not have the time to properly teach their children the ins and outs of driving. While driving may seem like second nature to those of us who have been doing so for many years, there can be a lot of uncertainty for new drivers. It can be hard for them to pick up on the little things that may help avoid an accident - such as when you know that car in front of you is going to come into your lane even though they never signal their turn. I remember all too well going through driver's training, and at the time I thought "Why am I even doing this? My parents are way better driver's than this guy who is teaching me right now." Even now I still think my parents were better drivers at the time - but that doesn't mean they could have done a better job teaching me the finer points of driving. To this day I still remember sitting at a stop sign with my dad in the passenger seat, asking him if it was OK to make my left turn. It was hard to see, as to the right of the vehicle was a big hill with trees. He gave me the "yeah it's fine, don't worry about it" and sure enough right when I started to hit the gas, there comes a car charging down the hill. Luckily I had barely started going, so I was able to stop well in advance, but it taught me not to rely on my father's opinion for when I should go or shouldn't.

Driving instructors teach many skills that parents do not think of - such as how often to check your mirrors, and do blind spot checks. They also give you the proper answer for when to go through a yellow light vs when to stop before it. They don't let you roll through stop signs, follow cars too closely, or signal your turn too late. They teach you the proper driving etiquette that we all should be following, especially so when you are a young driver. Good driving instructors will teach you how to properly merge onto the 401, or how to smoothly change lanes. They also teach you how to parallel park, and why you should turn your wheel towards the curb when parking on a hill. They are constantly monitoring you for things that you should be doing, and give you advice on how to be a safer driver. I honestly do not think I would have passed my driving test without going through Driver's Training. Not because I was a bad driver but instead it was all the little things that my parents never thought to teach me as they did it naturally. They didn't have to think about when to check their mirrors or blind-spots. They didn't think about how far away you should start braking or how to smoothly make a safe lane change - they just did it. A driving instructor's main goal is to look for those small things - things that parents inherently know, but most likely don't notice until something goes wrong.

Besides the benefits of becoming a better driver, it helps lower a young driver's insurance rates quite drastically. If you are a new driver without training your rates will be very high, as insurance companies will charge you as a brand new driver. The majority of insurance companies will give you an experience credit of 3 years - meaning they give you the rates of someone who has been driving for three years rather than none. Insurance companies are highly dependent on statistics, and they know that driver's training does help to avoid accidents. These savings will help offset the cost of a young driver.

Any time you get behind the wheel an accident can happen, whether it is your fault or another driver's. Cars can be extremely dangerous, especially travelling at high speeds. Give you child the best chance to be a successful driver, just as you do in other parts of their life.

Other quick hints at having a lower premium for new drivers:

- Have them as an occasional driver first, as they will be charged at a much lower rate than if they have their own car

- Most insurance companies give discounts if they have an 80% average in school

- If they are going away to university or college most companies will give a fairly large discount if the school is far away, as long as the car stays at home

- If they are going to have their own vehicle ask you broker for prices beforehand - each car is rated individually so the cheapest car you can buy is not always the cheapest when you consider the cost of insurance

- Some companies offer a discount if you let them monitor your driving - they monitor hard braking, fast acceleration and driving late at night, among other potential details depending on the company

-Let your insurance company know when your child has their licence. Most companies will not charge you while they are still learning and not allowed to drive on their own.

If you have any more questions about young drivers please feel free to give us a call 905-623-4406 and speak to one of our experienced brokers. They can guide you through the process of having your child insured, as well as the different options available.

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