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    First-drivers stand to benefit from California drivers training programs. These offer hands-on practice and a positive learning environment for beginners.

    Practice, Practice, Practice

    No one can expect to know how to drive, after having simply been shown the basics of how to start and stop a car.

    Even the most familiar trip to the store will be different every time you drive, depending on the weather, time of day, and lots of other factors. That's why California drivers training courses exist. They teach new drivers how to handle various driving situations and road conditions―all within a controlled environment.

    California Drivers Training Programs

    You may wonder how you can ever learn it all. That's why, besides the classroom driver's education, California requires you to take a professional driver's training course just for this purpose. Driver's training happens in the car―you must spend at least 6 hours behind the wheel with an instructor.

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    You will learn how to react to conditions, traffic, and others on the road. By the time you complete your California driver's training program, you will have learned and practiced the following skills:

    • Basic vehicle control (starting, stopping, gaining speed, slowing, backing, turning right, turning left).
    • Driving through intersections.
    • Lane changing.
    • Maintaining distance around the car.
    • Driving in traffic.
    • Hill parking.
    • Parallel parking.
    • Making a U-turn.
    • Night driving.
    • Freeway driving.

    Finding a School

    Be sure the school is registered with the state before you begin your training. You can check the school's license status to make sure that it is authorized to teach driver training.

    The DMV also offers tips to help you select a driving school.

    Supervised Driving

    Above and beyond the 6 hours of professional driver's training, you need to practice driving for an additional 50 hours with a parent or guardian in the car with you. Ten hours of this supervised driving practice must be at night. Parents should be sure to check out the Parent-Teen Training Guide for a detailed training schedule, suggestions for skill-building lessons, and skill level testing.

    Since you must hold your learner's permit for a minimum of 6 months, you'll have plenty of time to get all this driving in. When you're done, your parent or guardian must sign your learner's permit verifying these hours before you may take the driving test.

    Parents: Set a Good Example

    Teaching your child to drive can be a fun and rewarding opportunity (albeit a bit stressful).

    Before you begin the behind-the-wheel practice phase of your teen's driving education, take time to demonstrate the basic driving skills you use every day. When the two of you prepare to make a trip, go over the basics―what you do before you leave the curb or driveway, such as:

    • Check your mirrors.
    • Make sure the seat is at the correct angle.
    • Driver and all passengers have seatbelts secured.
    • Check the gauges for fuel and possible problems.
    • Remove parking brake, place car in gear.
    • Don't smoke―it's now illegal to smoke in a car with a minor present.
    • Don't text or use your hands to operate a cell phone. It's now illegal.
    • Look in mirrors, begin driving.

    Showing your teen that you, too, must check and recheck even the little things before driving will help them to accept that these are good, lifelong habits, and not just something you must do while learning. Years later, most drivers can easily recall things they learned in driver training and still practice the good habits taught back then. Your teen will, too.

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