SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente

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How the Internet Is Transforming Driver Education

The Internet Is Enhancing Drivers Ed

Remember driving in circles around your high school parking lot and waiting for your instructor to correct you verbally or stomp on the passenger side brakes? Well, driver education isn't like that anymore.

It's been getting a slow makeover with supplemental educational resources that aspiring drivers can now find online. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has embraced digital communication as a way to train new drivers on proper safety techniques.

Now parents, teens, and educators have greater control over driver education by using videos, digital practice tests, and other online resources.

Learning by watching

Before a student passes the permit test and actually gets behind the wheel, he or she might have a difficult time knowing what to expect. This is particularly true in households that don't have a car, since aspiring drivers don't have regular access to a vehicle.

Luckily, there are a number of supplemental tutorials on websites such as YouTube that can put training drivers behind the wheel -- virtually. These video posts will walk you though the basic parts of a car, and explain common features, switches, and knobs.

Most drivers take this level of basics for granted, but they can be quite useful for folks who are completely new to driving.

Online driving videos will even go into depth regarding the dangers of distracted driving or the nuances of a road test. However, viewers should be wary because the rules of the road described in these videos might differ, depending on the state jurisdiction you fall under.

For example, the driving rules in California will differ slightly from those in Washington. But these video tutorials can supplement a new driver's journey toward a license.

Digital practice tests

Many state motor vehicle departments offer prospective drivers an opportunity to take a mock permit test online, before they arrive at the DMV for the actual exam. This can help you calm down and get rid of major nerves before the test.

You'll also learn about the types of questions you can expect to see on the exam. They're generally multiple choice, and review key rules of the road, distances, and the meaning of signs.

Most of the practice online exams will tally scores as you answer each question, so you'll quickly know whether you're ready ... or maybe need to open the driver's manual again.

Parent resources

Parents often play a pivotal role in a new driver's preparation. While a teen might spend a few hours driving around the neighborhood with an official driving instructor, he or she will still have to practice with a parent while holding a permit.

Parents might understand driving well, but they might not know how to teach driving. It's a different skill set. Additionally, parents might risk passing their own bad driving habits to their teenagers.

The NHTSA has developed a great online driving curriculum for parents of new drivers. This free program walks parents through some of the common pitfalls that occur during at-home practice driving sessions.

It's especially important that parents accompany budding drivers, rather than peers, since teens are 2.5 times more likely to get into an accident with other teens in the vehicle. Parents can serve as responsible role models as they help their child become more confident on the road.

The parental curriculum includes details on setting ground rules for practicing drivers, along with a review of licensing laws.

Online federal and state government resources are changing the landscape of driver education. Aspiring drivers can use videos to get a visual sense of a car's interior and how the road test unfolds.

Parents of new teen drivers can use at-home curricula between lessons to ensure their child's success. Finally, official state practice exams offer future drivers the ability to test their road rules knowledge from home.


These technologies should pave the way to generations of safer drivers.

More Stories By Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a writer, as well as a tech, social media and environmental enthusiast, living in San Francisco. He is a contributing writer at Forbes, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

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