Automotive

Published on October 20th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

Here’s Why Quality Driver Training is an Investment Worth Making

Today I went back to school – driving school. Yes, after twenty-something years of driving (and only one very minor accident) I was asked by CAA to join a group of invited guests for a ‘refresher course’ with a few of their driver training instructors. I’ll admit that my first reaction was: “Me? Driver training? Are you kidding?” But the more I thought about the opportunity, the more it made sense. After all, my eldest daughter will be starting her own driver training in just a few weeks, and I want to be the best teacher-role model I can be. As a CAA Member, I’m also aware that CAA has over 50 years of experience in driver education. They know their stuff!

Meeting some of the other attendees, we shared our trepidation at the thought of being judged by seasoned instructors on our parallel parking, three-point turns, and reverse parking performances. We all do these things, but do we do them correctly and as safely as possible, we wondered? Adding to our conviction that an opportunity to refresh our driving skills with CAA instructors would be an invaluable experience, was a quiz we were each asked to complete before we even got behind the wheel. I’m sure I did dismally, and I’m equally certain I’m not alone — but what a wake-up call about the importance of investing in quality driver training and not taking this everyday task lightly.

pic 6My group’s first station: reverse parking, where I volunteered to go first. I’ve never driven a van before, but after adjusting the seat and mirrors, I turned the key, circled the lot, and backed into the assigned spot next to another vehicle. Happily, I scored well with the instructor and got a couple of high-fives from some of the others in my group.

Next stop? Parallel parking. I do this all the time in the city, somehow angling my SUV into the tiniest of downtown spots and then wrangling back out of them. It turns out the van was another story and as Wendy from @Tweenhood will attest, I wound up nicely aligned, but a full metre from the curb. Still, though I do consider myself a skilled “parallel parker” in my own vehicle, I was appreciative of the constructive feedback and tips from our instructor. So much so, that I gave her my card and asked her to contact me about driver training for my soon-to-be-driving daughter.

Onwards we went, this time to the three-point turn station where CAA instructor, Boris Gershon, had us perform the maneuver in a small car followed by a large van. It turns out my three-point turns were in need of some tweaking, as at least once, he reminded me to check my blind spot.

I came away from my driver training refresher not only with some tips from the pros, but with a heightened awareness of the very real risks we expose ourselves and others to, when we get behind the wheel. I found myself taking extra care as I drove the 400-series home from the event; have begun incorporating the tips I received; and perhaps most importantly, have realized that driver training is not somewhere I’ll try to “cut corners” where my kids are concerned. In 2013, over 5,000 students graduated from the CAA How to Drive Course. The course is MTO approved and includes:

  • 40 hours of expert-led instruction (classroom and in-car training)
  • Graduates can take their G2 road test 4 months earlier than G1 licence holders who do not take an MTO-approved course (this group must wait 12 months)
  • Eligibility for reduced auto insurance premiums
  • A free 1-year CAA Basic Membership

They also have a terrific contest running. Students registering for the CAA How to Drive Course (until Nov. 30, 2014) can enter the Tear-up-the-Tuition Contest and win back the cost of their driver training or Apple Store® gift cards, CAA Rewards Partner gift cards, or Cineplex Great Escape Packages.

Bio, Catherine Cameron
Catherine is a senior communications and social media professional and accomplished lifestyle writer. Her informative and inspiring work has been published in many Canadian digital and print magazines and newspapers, as well as by Tweenhood, CBC, ParticipACTION, Sun Life Financial, and Sears Great Canadian Run. To learn more, visit her website at www.catherinecameron.net or follow Catherine on twitter @cate_cameron.

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