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How to learn the art of driving a car

Four ways to approach driver training

There are basically four ways to learn how to drive: 1.) trial and error, 2.) coach / parent teacher, 3.) coach + instructor, 4.) coach + driver education course. Every learner needs three basic ingredients: a coach (usually a parent), a car, and a curriculum. Adding an instructor to the mix makes the learning process more structured and thorough, providing support both to the coach and the student. In most cases, parents teach their teenagers how to drive. Adults who need instruction may rely on friends, a spouse or SO, or even their employer. Regardless of who is doing the teaching, hiring an instructor or enrolling in a driver ed course can make the process easier and result in better outcomes.

Trial & Error

This self-taught driver has learned from trial and error (if the error did not kill them). These drivers have received plenty of correction from law enforcement. They receive important feedback from other drivers (in the form of honking, close calls, and road rage). And they probably have a few dents in their vehicle. This is a driver who passed the DMV tests but didn't have an in-depth understanding of road safety and laws (no curriculum). They may have learned a few things from a parent or friend, but they never received structured training or a lot of supervised driving practice.

Self-driven Study with a Driving Coach

Any learner can teach themselves how to drive by following a course of study. The course published at provides free driver education for anyone who wants to learn. The learner studies the lessons presented in the tutorials, then practices what they've learned behind the wheel (under the supervision of a licensed driver). Following a self-driven course requires self-discipline and a dedicated driving coach. Your coach (usually a parent) must understand how to help you through the various learning stages so that you're not overwhelmed by trying to do things you're not yet ready to do.

Instructor-led Study with a Driving Coach

Learners can hire a driving instructor to help them perform behind the wheel maneuvers they've studied in a tutorial or book. The instructor helps learners transfer what they learned on paper to what they're actually doing in the car. The instructor helps the student perform the maneuvers correctly by showing them where they're missing a step or where they've not fully understood the tutorial. Instructors work in partnership with the coach, who gives the learner supervised practice time (usually a parent). This coach gives the learner a chance to develop learned behaviors into habits by repeating them over and over. It's important that the coach follow along with the learning stages so they can provide the right level of protection and guidance. People who register for Driving Lessons with Freedom Driver Education receive this kind of training.

State-approved Driver Education Course

The State of Oregon provides a curriculum for driver education that comprises 30 hours of instructor-led classroom learning and 12 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction. In this course, the instructor leads both the "book learning" and behind-the-wheel lessons. The learner's coach (usually a parent) is guided by the instructor to help students develop learned behaviors into habits. This is the most structured and in-depth form of driver training. Students under age 18 who complete a state-approved course in Oregon can skip the DMV road test when they're ready to apply for a license.