Choosing the right driving school for your teen

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No matter how much you may want your children to remain, well, children, they eventually...

No matter how much you may want your children to remain, well, children, they eventually will grow into adulthood. You can help make that transition a little easier by educating your future driver on the rules of the road.

It sounds simple enough, but choosing a driving school for your soon-to-be-licensed teenager is serious business. Here's a list of things you should look for in a driving school before letting your teen take the wheel.

Licensing and certification

The very first thing you want to find out is whether or not the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) has licensed the school. Unfortunately, many schools in the state, not to mention the city of Atlanta, are not.

There are other organizations that your school also should be affiliated with (such as AAA), but DDS is the most important. This is because of the state-mandated training program that prospective instructors must complete, as well as the standards that driving schools must maintain to keep their certification.

Services offered

As you've no doubt gathered, all driving schools are not created equal. Some pretty wide discrepancies exist in terms of quality of instruction and equipment. For instance, not many schools have vehicles that are equipped with two steering wheels, two brake pedals and two gas pedals. While the two-driver system isn't totally necessary, it is an excellent teaching aid.

As with most other things you'll spend money on, you want to get the most value for your dollar. Many driving schools offer insurance reduction programs, not only to teenage drivers but to adults, as well. The total time of completing driver training courses varies, but they usually run about six hours. For completing a course, you can receive up to a 10 percent reduction on your insurance premium. Check to see if a school in your area offers a comparable service.

Also, be sure that the school offers a "30-and-6" program. This refers to the state's requirement of 30 hours of classroom instruction plus six hours of private night driving instruction for drivers aged 16 and under.

Reputation

A great way to maximize value is to go with a driving school that's been around for a while and has a reputation for excellence. New instruction methods, training programs and cutting-edge technology are always being developed, so choosing a less established school shouldn't worry you too much. Some of the newer companies may not have the history of, say, a Taggart's Driving School, but don't let that discourage you.

When you're ready to take the next step, have a look around Kudzu. We're sure you'll find a top-notch driving institute for your teen!

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