Our first session will last one hour and fifteen minutes so that the new driver gets thoroughly acquainted with the road. We will start off by validating the learner’s permit so that the student can legally drive with a parent or guardian.
We drive with students who are at various levels of experience, but most of our students are completely new. That is where we come in! We strive to make the student feel comfortable at all times, regardless of what level of experience they have. This is fundamental to any new driver’s success.
Once we step into the vehicle, we will get familiarized with all the controls and go through a comprehensive pre-drive checklist. We will then start driving in residential areas focusing on proper steering technique and use of the accelerator and brake. We will be making numerous right and left turns, working on intersection evaluation, control, lane position, and stop position. We will also be making lots of lane changes. Repetition is the key to success.
We strongly emphasize good cautionary habits. This includes checking the rear-view mirror when braking, scanning side streets, looking left and right before entering an intersection, and using blinkers when making lane changes.
We will finally work on backing in a straight line, which is a key component of the driving test. We will then focus on maintaining control of the vehicle and keeping an appropriate speed while using the mirror and looking with your shoulders.
After we finish driving, we provide you with a form that details all the drills we covered and areas that need practice. We recommend that the new driver should have at least two to three hours of practice time with a parent, guardian, or driver over the age of 25. Remember, practice is the most important part of driving! The more you practice, the easier it becomes.
Our second session will last one hour and is a continuation of session one. We will get re-acquainted with the vehicle by reinforcing the importance of the pre-drive checklist. We will then head out into a residential area before tackling a more challenging area.
There are two main components to session two: lane changes and parking. We will start off with the fundamentals of lane changes – how to read the mirror and judge the flow of traffic while practicing in a safe, proper form. We will show the student how to gauge traffic, the appropriate time to make a lane change, merge in and out traffic, dual turn lanes, yielding to cross traffic, and bike lanes.
We will then practice parking in a semi-crowded parking lot. The student will practice both perpendicular and angle parking in two types of settings: an empty parking lot and between two parked vehicles. Besides the two types of parking, we will show the student how to pull to a curb, review backing in a straight line, and introduce three-point turns.
As indicated above, session two is a reemphasis of the fundamentals learned in session one with various new concepts outlined in the syllabus. It is critical that students get sufficient practice time so that session two will not be a repeat of session one. Lack of practice will take away time to explore new areas of driving. In order to make sure that the driver gets the most out of session two, two to three hours of practice time is recommended.
As in all our sessions, we will provide you with a form indicating the areas that need practice. The new driver should have at the minimum 15 to 20 hours of practice time before session three, otherwise it is best to delay this session.
Our third session will last one hour and forty five minutes. We will be exposing students to freeway and downtown driving, which can be very intimidating for new drivers. It is extremely important that the new driver have at least 15 to 20 hours of practice time before completing this session so that they will get the most benefit.
To start our session, we immediately tackle the freeway. We first allow students to enter the freeway at an onramp that does not merge with other freeway traffic. We practice a controlled entrance around the curve and a steady acceleration into the traffic flow. We then have the student exit the freeway, expose them to a U-turn, and re-enter the freeway at a smaller onramp. This exercise is to show students how to estimate traffic flow and enter the freeway at an appropriate point and speed. Once we are on the freeway, we follow an established route into downtown Sacramento via the Capital City Freeway and Highway 160.
Upon exiting the freeway, we enter into downtown Sacramento. This is an ideal and challenging scenario as it exposes students to one way streets, buses, pedestrians, bikes, and general downtown traffic. While driving throughout the city, we will show the students how to read street signs by explaining to them how the numbers and letters work. We will then have the new driver enter into the heart of Old Sacramento to deal with foot traffic, uncontrolled intersections, horses, alleys (caution at sidewalks, doorways, and speed control). We will then return to downtown traffic and complete additional freeway driving (HWY 160, B80, I-80). Students find this a good way to test their new found driving knowledge.
As in all our sessions, safety is the number one priority. We follow a designated route because we are very familiar with the road and any potential driving hazards. We make sure that students are cautious when entering one way streets and that they are aware of all the signal lights and stop signs. After completing this session, drivers gain additional confidence with themselves and the road. As reiterated earlier, practice is the most important part of driving! The more you practice, the easier it becomes.
Our fourth session will last one hour. In this session we try to expose the students to night driving. However, in certain instances particularly during the summer months this is not possible. During this session we focus on a variety of areas including parking (parallel, uphill and downhill), appropriate use of the center left turn lane, and two point turns. We also refresh students on pulling to the curb and backing straight, an important part of the driving test.
We also use this session to review any areas that need improvement. After this session is completed we are able to determine if the new driver is prepared to take their drive test. There are four criteria we use to determine this evaluation:
Control of the vehicle. How fast is the driver going? Are they keeping up with the speed of traffic? Is the driver braking with enough distance between cars? Is the driver accelerating smoothly?
Knowledge of traffic laws. Does the driver obey the speed limit? Are they aware of the speed limits in a residential versus commercial area? Can the new driver identify various road markings? Is the driver fully aware of right of ways and the appropriate time to yield?
Use of caution. Does the driver use their mirrors especially when braking? Does the driver use turn signals to indicate to other drivers their intentions? Is the driver scanning right and left before entering intersections? Does the driver use their shoulder to check for blind spots before making lane changes?
Confidence. Is the student familiar with all controls in the vehicle? Does the student hesitate on a right of way? Does the student know when it is appropriate to slow down or speed up according to the traffic situation?
These are just examples of the questions we will be answering while evaluating whether a student is ready to take their driving test. Regardless if the student is or isn’t ready to take the driving test we want to emphasize that nothing substitutes practice time. Passing the drive test is relatively easy because it is done in a controlled environment. However, lack of practice time can result in tickets or accidents, sometimes fatal. Adequate practice time ensures that a driver is ready to drive on their own and can safely navigate through any situation they encounter.
During this last session we will pick the student up an hour before their driving test. We will go over the format of the DMV test so the student knows what to expect ahead of time. We will then go on a mock test to simulate what the actual test may include. We even provide the student with a score on their overall performance. We find that this helps relax the student by eliminating the fear of the unknown.
Once the practice test is completed, we go over their weak spots. Many students make mistakes at this time because they are anxious about their drive test. This is perfectly normal. By going over their weak spots, it helps calm them down and regain the confidence they need before taking their actual driving test.
Our Premium Program is the most comprehensive and best deal overall! We make the driving test appointment for the student and eliminate the hassle of any paperwork for the parent to fill out. We make sure that the student gets their driving test appointment so that there are no disappointments because the student does not follow the appropriate DMV procedures beforehand. We take the student to their DMV test and wait for them to finish. Even with an appointment, there are often wait times at the DMV of one to one and a half hours. We do not charge for this time and will wait however long it takes for the student to finish their test and get the student back home.
After completion of our program, most drivers pass the test on the first try. In 2010, we took 339 students to their DMV test, only seven failed. This is an incredible success rate but note that this is not a guarantee of passing. That is where adequate practice time and experience on the road comes into play.
There are several things we do guarantee: exceptional training; a new and safe vehicle; and an instructor with a genuine interest in the student’s success. We even guarantee a free retest in the rare event that the student does not pass the exam on the first try.
Please feel free to contact us by email or telephone at any time. We will be more than happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.