Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Young Drivers of Canada - Online Co-Drivers Program

I've posted before about The Teen turning 16, and his impending driving lessons. Yes, I'm still a little scared by that. Or at least freaked out that my kid is old enough to drive. I generally forget that I'm not actually a teenager anymore, so this does come as a bit of a shock. But we have decided to send him to Young Drivers of Canada for his lessons, and that is giving me some peace of mind.

25 years ago I did my own driver's training with Young Drivers. The program I did with them was thorough and comforting and a great foundation for my driving future. I am positive that the Teen will find the same. They've been training new drivers for over 40 years, providing them with defensive driving techniques, accident avoidance skills, and great knowledge of the rules of the road. Their signature program ("The Basic") provides 20 hours in classroom, 10 hours e-learning, and 10 hours in car. Certainly the e-learning wasn't around in my time (neither was the Internet), but there is something new they are now offering that is even more appealing to me - the online Co-Drivers program.

Essentially this program provides an online overview of what the student will be learning, and provides great support and reminders for the parents (or other support persons) who will be assisting the student out of class and practising with him/her. The Co-Drivers program allows us, as parents, to reinforce the lessons being learned through Young Drivers. It helps us avoid undermining the training by inadvertently (or otherwise) imposing our bad habits and contradicting the Young Drivers approach.

And bad habits? I think I've developed a lot of them.  The Co-Drivers program incorporates video and narration to present various lessons. Watching these videos and listening to the commentary encouraged me to become more aware of my own driving habits. In some cases I was pleasantly surprised that some of the things I do unconsciously now are actually things I learned through Young Drivers' Defensive Driving lessons. Scanning left, center, right. Choosing the lane of least resistance. But, following distance? Keeping space? Those I am not so good at.

I do remember being taught "keep space" - to keep 2 or 3 car lengths between me and the car in front of me at a stop light. Then monitor traffic behind and only move up when a car comes to a stop behind me. But do I do this now? No. I pull right up behind the car in front of me, which could lead to a nasty chain reaction rear collision. And I find myself getting frustrated sometimes with people who do "keep space" - I want them to move up and fill in more quickly. So, I can totally see me saying that to my step-son. But that would be contradicting the lessons he's receiving, and that would get confusing and frustrating for him.  This Co-Driver program helps me to help him by explaining what he is learning and why, That way we can effectively support his progress. Plus, it's had an added benefit of being almost a refresher course for me!

The online Co-Driver Training Program is provided free of charge as part of the regular course offerings. This is a great value-added feature. And, of course, another great benefit of Young Drivers' training is the insurance savings. Insurance for new drivers, especially teenaged boys, is brutal. Check with your insurer to see how much you can save by having your child go through Young Drivers. I bet you will find it can pay for itself in the first year.

Disclaimer: I received free access to the Online Co-Driver Training program to facilitate the writing of this review. In addition, I will receive a Young Drivers gift certificate as a thank-you for completing the program and offering my thoughts and feedback. All opinions in this post are my own. 

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