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Information for Parents

Learning to drive is a big step in every teen's life. For most kids, is one of the first big steps toward independence as a young adult and, as a parent or guardian, you play an important part.

Once your teen has their provisional driving permit, they must take 6 hours of behind the wheel training from a DMV-licensed driving school. They also must practice at least an additional 50 hours behind the wheel with an adult over age 25. At least 10 of these hours should be at night. We look forward to helping your teen get started on their path to independence!

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my teen need more than 6 hours of lessions?
The DMV only requires a minimum of 6 hours of professional behind the wheel training but many families elect to take a few more sessions with us, especially when the driving test is coming up or if there has been a long gap in the amount of behind the wheel practice. If you feel your teen will need additional lessons, we recommend the 10-hour Behind the Wheel Package which gives your student two additional 2-hour training sessions.

What are your scheduling and cancellation policies?
Click here to see our policies for scheduling or canceling behind the wheel training lessons.

Can my teen drive with me before they have their permit?
By law, the first behind the wheel experience for a teen after they receive their provisional permit should be with a DMV-licensed instructor in a dual control (passenger side brake and accelerator) instructional car.

How much does my teen need to practice driving?
The DMV requires that teenagers practice driving behind the wheel with a parent or guardian, or an adult over 25 years old, with has a valid driver license, for at least 50 hours in addition to the six hours of professional training. At least 10 of those hours must be done at night. The 50 hours of practice can start right after their first behind the wheel lesson. We recommend at least 5 hours of practice between the first and second lessons and, ideally, 3-5 practice sessions of no more than 2 hours each.

To help track your practice hours, download our handy Student Driver Practice Log Sheet

How long should we wait between lessons?
While every student is different and learns at a different pace, 1-2 weeks should pass between lessons and the student should practice driving several hours with an adult during that time. We recommend a minimum of 5 hours practice time between the first and second lessons. Typically, 3-5 practice sessions of no more than 2 hours at a time will help build on the skills learned in the behind the wheel sessions. Ideally, no more than two months should pass between lessons. We recommend that you call 3-5 weeks in advance of your planned DMV Driving Test so you can take your last lesson close to the test date.

Can we hire Bay Cities Instructors for the 50 practice hours?
Our Behind the Wheel Training packages follow a set of training topics that are usually completed in sequence. We don't offer sessions for driving practice time only. However, if you feel your teen needs more instruction, sign up for a 10-hour Behind the Wheel Package to ensure they get adequate training.

Can we use our own car for the lesson?
No. The DMV (and our insurance policy) requires that the Driving School's instructional vehicles are used for lessons.

Can we choose which instructor we get?
Yes, you can indicate a preference for an instructor. We try to accommodate all specific requests but it may not always be possible if a certain time frame is also required. We try to keep students with the same instructor for each lesson for continuity but a different instructor may selected or need to be assigned due to timing or resource constraints. We have both male and female as well as Spanish speaking instructors.

How are your instructors screened?
Our Instructors are selected for their ability to teach safe defensive driving techniques to a variety of students. The DMV application process also requires 60 hours of training and a written test. In addition, Instructors' applications also require a fingerprint screening with the Department of Justice and may also include a background check.

Does a parent or guardian need to be present at the beginning and/or end of the lesson?
No, we are happy to pick up and drop off at your home or a designated location in our service area. Only the student needs to be there with their valid permit in hand, and any payment due if applicable. However, for students under 18, we do request to speak to a parent or guardian before scheduling the first lesson.

Can I ride along during the lesson?
We have found that new drivers are most comfortable and learn the best in a private lesson with only an instructor in the car with them. Our policy is to not allow parents/guardians to ride along unless there is a medical necessity (which requires pre-approval when scheduling the lesson). From time to time, new instructors in training may ride along during a lesson as part of their required training for DMV certification.

What forms of payment do you accept?
We are happy to take cash, check, or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or American Express) for payment. Credit card payments can be made at the start of the lesson, over phone when scheduling, or when registering for lessons on our website. We are also open to barter of livestock or other goods for lessons.

Do you guarantee passing DMV test on the first try?
Our behind the wheel training introduces the range of range of driving skills that new drivers need to master before taking their licensing test. The six hour course is not enough time for them to master these sufficiently and they must practice many more hours with an adult until they feel confident they will pass. If you are interested and present after a behind the wheel lesson, our instructors can point out to you what areas your teen may need to work on before taking the test.

Where should we practice driving?
We recommend starting on streets that are familiar to your teen. Large, empty parking lots are also a great place to start. As your new driver gains confidence and proficiency, venture out to new areas around your home. The key is repetition and practice of key skills they learn from their behind the wheel sessions.

When do we need to change our insurance policy for a new driver?
We recommend that you check with your insurance carrier for details but typically, auto insurance policies do not require adding a new driver until they officially acquire their license. When driving with a learner's permit, they are generally covered under your policy but not as a named driver.

Other Resources for Parents

The following are terrific resources for parents of new drivers:
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