Driver’s education programs in Virginia are required to provide coverage of a variety of topics set by the Virginia DMV. While each school may have its own methods and techniques, each must make sure that all students learn the same material.

As you look for a driving school in Portsmouth, Virginia keep in mind some of these key curriculum points as you decide on a driving school in Portsmouth.

Basic Requirements

Driver education in Virginia is provided by public schools as well as many privately-owned driving schools. Virginia requires driving schools and instructors to be specially licensed.

Each driving school must provide 36 classroom periods of instruction, each 50 minutes long. In addition to class-time, each student must observe driving for 7 hours, and then undergo 7 hours of practice driving with the instructor. Some schools provide both kinds of instruction, while others the driving component. Many public schools provide the classroom instruction.

Additional practice driving with a licensed driver in the car beside you is required. If you are under 18 years old, your parent will have to certify that you have completed at least 45 hours of practice, with at least 15 of those hours being after sunset and before dawn.

Around Portsmouth, Virginia, the Fuhrmann Driving Academyprovides online classroom instruction during the school year as well as in-person education in the summer; they also provide the behind-the-wheel training year round.

The Ceremony

One special practice in Virginia is the licensing ceremony. Drivers under eighteen are required to attend a court ceremony at which the local judge will deliver the driver’s licenses to the recipients. A parent or guardian must attend.

At the ceremony, the judge will remind you of the importance of the driving task, as well as your responsibilities to yourself, your passengers, and the rest of the Portsmouth, Virginia community. This ceremony is an important step, and you should plan to wear your best clothes to attend court.

Failing Three Times

If you fail either the knowledge test or the road test three times, you will have to continue your driver’s education before trying again.

Failing the knowledge test three times means you have to take an 8-hour Driver’s Manual course. This course must be completed before taking the test again. Failing the road test three times requires completion of the 14 hours of behind-the-wheel training again—7 hours driving, and 7 observing.

Your driving school in Portsmouth, Virginia, will help you through the concerns which caused the failures. Your instructor will work with you to find out what went wrong, and how best to correct it. They won’t judge you—they want you to be a good safe driver.

Curriculum Basics

Each school approaches driver’s education in its own way, but all cover the same topics. The curriculum will cover the rules of the road as well as an understanding of the vehicle you’re driving. The rules focus on safety for you and other drivers, and cover issues including turn signals, speed limits, hazard signs, and road markings.

The Physical Side of Driving

Driving requires coordination between hands, feet, eyes, ears, head, and brain. This coordination requires practice and training, both in the classroom and behind the wheel. Your Portsmouth driving school instructor will help you work through the coordination issues.

One thing your instructor will help you get used to is moving your eyes constantly; the Virginia Driver’s Manual discusses active looking on page 18-19. You’ll be tracking other vehicles as well as other potential problems—such as children playing in a yard two blocks away—to be ready to brake.

The Psychological Side of Driving

Ninety percent of auto accidents involve human error. Driving is, after all, a human activity. Much depends on the human state of mind and abilities. Your driver education in Portsmouth will help you develop the good habits which will lessen the likelihood that your error will cause accidents.

Your emotions while driving need to be controlled. If you are worried, you’ll be distracted. If you let your anger get the best of you, your road rage can cause bad accidents. Remember that you share the road with others, and you have responsibilities to them—just as they have responsibilities to you.

One other part of driving is ignoring peer pressure. Don’t let your friends make you drive too fast, or irresponsibly. Focus on driving, not the conversation—you can talk without making eye contact.

And, your driver’s education will help you understand what to do when you are involved in an accident—regardless of who’s at fault.

Sharing the Road and Attention to Task

Being aware of all your surroundings—situational awareness—is an important skill for all drivers. You have to pay attention to everything, not just the car in front of you. Reducing distractions, including conversations, radio stations, and cell phones, helps with your situational awareness.

Situational awareness also means looking ahead—sometimes two or three blocks while driving around Portsmouth, Virginia, as well as well ahead on the highway. Make sure you are aware of children playing in the yard on the next block, as well as the truck pulled over a mile ahead of you.

Communication with other drivers is also an important skill. Turn signals, brakes, and slowing down all send messages to other drivers. Your Portsmouth, Virginia, driving school instructor will help you develop the habits of signaling and communication.

Driving can also be impaired using drugs or alcohol, as well as fatigue, medication, and illness. These things can affect alertness and judgement.

Risk Management

Your ability to assess and manage the risks while driving is also a skill which your driving school instructor will work with you on, as you learn to drive in Portsmouth, Virginia. Keeping your eyes moving, checking mirrors, and glancing over the shoulders will help you drive safely.

Your instructor will point things out to you, as well as ask you what you see ahead of you. You should demonstrate you see the children in the yard, the stopped car three blocks away, and the brake lights on three cars in front of you.

Your driving school will work with you to provide you the best possible driver’s education. As you develop your skills in practice driving around Portsmouth, Virginia, make sure you do what your instructor says. If you do, you will become one of the safe drivers on the road.