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Is Online Drivers Ed Right For Me?

Aug 9, 2008
You can do almost everything online nowadays - order pizza, rent movies, even buy books you can read instantly on your computer. And did you know that you can also take drivers education classes on the internet? You might think: Wow, that definitely beats being holed up in a classroom all weekend watching car slides! But don't enroll just yet - we'll give you the info you need to decide if online drivers ed is right for you. Take this as your first lesson!

What it's great for:

Virtual drivers ed can be a more self-paced and interactive alternative to regular drivers education class. It lets you work at your own speed, tailored to your personal schedule. It's usually cheaper than paying tuition at a regular driving school, and your parents save time and gas money since they don't have to drive you to and fro. But watch out: only in certain areas can you take classes online to meet the 30 hour drivers ed requirement for teens. You've lucked out here if you live in: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania or Texas.

As for those of you in the other 41 states: you're still required to do it the old fashioned way - find a driving school and sit through the required classroom time (don't worry, it's really not that bad!). But you can still sign up for an online course to qualify for an insurance discount or to purchase practice questions for the written test. There are even several companies that will refund your money if you don't get your permit on the first try!

If you are interested in lowering your auto insurance rates (and who isn't..!?), completing an online drivers ed class can qualify you for a discount of up to 10% - and it doesn't matter where you live or how long you've been driving. But first, check with your insurance company to make sure they have a policy of rewarding drivers who take "safe driving" courses.

What's not-so-great:

One important thing to keep in mind is that you will still have to take driving instruction even if you've completed an online drivers ed class in accordance with your state's requirement. This means you'll need to actually get behind the wheel with either a qualified instructor or a parent, depending on what your state allows. The requirement is usually around 6 hours, but varies from state to state - so check out your driving manual to be sure.

Everyone has a different learning style, and taking an online drivers ed class requires you to keep on top of your work without much supervision, even if it's 20 minutes a day. If you tend to be easily distracted by fun stuff like IMs, flash games, or MySpace any time you're on the internet, then you might have a hard time getting through the course material on your own. In this case, you might really benefit more from a traditional classroom environment at a driving school - do your best to figure out which method will be better for you.

So, to wrap up: if you do decide that online drivers ed is for you, make sure to choose a company that's solid and reputable, just like you would in non-virtual life. Search the web for other people's reviews, and check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org. Ready to get started? Best of luck, and don't be late to class!
About the Author
Trying to get your drivers license? We can help! Check out some helpful advice and play a drivers ed game at http://www.driversed-game.com.
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