Later-In-Life Driver? What Do You Need To Know About Drivers Ed?

If you've decided to get your drivers license for the first time (and your high school days are long past), you may be discouraged that the majority of new driver material and training seems to be targeted to teenagers. Is it worthwhile to take a drivers education course as an older driver, or should you simply study for (and take) your exam on your own? Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of taking a drivers education course as an adult.

What are the benefits of a drivers education course?

A drivers education course can offer several benefits to more mature first-time drivers, even if you have a friend or family member who is willing to teach you the basics of driving at no cost.

  • First (and most importantly), being trained by a certified professional will help you avoid developing any bad habits that may be instilled by a well-meaning friend or relative. Although some aspects of new driver training may seem mundane or overly cautious for someone who's been observing others drive for years, skipping these steps as a new driver can set you up for trouble down the line. For example, if you're driving in a friend's car, you may not need to adjust the seat or mirrors when you sit down -- but getting into the habit of making these adjustments before taking off can help you avoid distraction while driving.
  • One of the most frequently touted benefits of drivers education for teenage drivers is the reduction in auto insurance premiums for this high-risk group. However, these benefits don't go away as an adult -- taking a drivers education course before getting your license for the first time can dramatically reduce the amount you pay for your auto insurance at any age. If you've waited until after 25 to get your drivers license, you can enjoy the same low rates available to other drivers your age, even though you've been driving for only a fraction of the time.
  • Finally, a drivers education course can significantly minimize the amount of time you'll need to spend studying for your official driving test. The prospect of memorizing dozens of rules and regulations (not to mention the shapes of various road signs) can seem overwhelming. However, drivers education teachers are skilled in condensing this information into an easy to understand (and easy to remember) format. And some states may even waive the written or driving portion of your test if you've passed a qualifying driver's education program.

Can you find a drivers education course geared toward adults?

If you're turned off at the prospect of attending a class composed of high school freshmen, expand your horizons. Many community colleges offer drivers education classes once a semester, and you may be able to receive grants or income-based loans to help pay for a course.

There are also private drivers education companies located in most mid-sized cities. These private companies offer more personalized lessons and are convenient for the busy adult who must schedule classes around work and other demands on their time. Although you'll pay a little more for these private classes than you would if taking a group class at a high school or community college, you'll be able to schedule practice drives at your convenience.

Finally, you may be able to take an all-online course. Although these courses are less hands-on than actual driving instruction, they can help prepare you for your written test and teach you the basics of what you should know when getting behind the wheel. These courses are also generally less expensive than personalized driving instruction.

In general, the out of pocket cost you'll pay for a drivers education program will be offset by the reduction in your auto insurance premium over that of a driver who doesn't take drivers ed.