P-51, a unique name for a truly unique driving school. Named after the legendary P-51 Mustang that ruled the skies over Europe during WWII, we are proud to feature the newly redesigned Ford Mustang. At P-51 we do one thing, and one thing only, behind-the-wheel training. Our singular focus allows us to provide the highest quality training in the Bay Area.
The challenges facing today's new drivers are more varied and difficult than ever, and this makes choosing the right driving school even more important than in years past. Unfortunately, many driving schools, regardless what they claim on their website, are really designed for one purpose, helping students pass their DMV drive test! At P-51 we believe that just because someone passes their drive test does not imply they are ready to drive on their own.
Today, teens (and pre-teens) are often "distracted" passengers, which means they are looking at electronic devices rather than watching their parents drive. This puts today's teens at a serious disadvantage over teens from years past, because by not watching their parents, they haven't learned anything about driving. Further, six or ten hours of lessons from a driving school is not going to be enough to teach a student everything they need to learn in order to be safe on the road. This is why the State of California requires that parents spend at least 50 hours driving with their son or daughter, and at P-51 we recommend at least 100 hours. An educated guess is that most students take their DMV drive test with 20-30 hours of practice time with their parents, and this is one reason we see more and more students who will in all likelihood pass their drive test, but are still making critical errors during their final lesson.
P-51 was designed to meet today's challenges head-on.
* For example, from our teaching syllabus you will notice that freeway driving may even be a small part of the first lesson, as well as a big part of the second lesson. Most driving schools spend very little time on freeway driving, unless you want to spend more for "advanced" lessons.
Here are five qualities we believe make up a good driving school:
Does the Instructor spend the majority of time talking about driving? This seems like a no-brainer, after all, you hired the driving school to teach your son or daughter about driving a car. The most common dialogue between student and teacher is what interest the Instructor, and if the Instructor doesn't love driving, they will often talk about something else. Especially in the critical first lesson, the Instructor should be talking about driving around 90% of the time. If they don't, it's not a good school/Instructor!
Does the Instructor train using routes? If an Instructor doesn't train using routes, than they are simply driving around. When someone takes their DMV drive test, the Examiner is not just driving around; they have the student on a route. This is because DMV wants to test drivers on basic driving maneuvers, and at P-51 we use routes because we want to teach certain driving maneuvers. If the School/Instructor doesn't teach using routes, it's not a good school.
Does the Driving School and/or Instructor put a strong emphasis on the student passing the DMV drive test the first time? Unfortunately, many parents rate their son or daughter’s Driving School on whether or not they passed the DMV drive test on their first attempt. Because of this, most driving school’s focus the bulk of their teaching on just this aspect. Of course, helping a student pass the DMV drive test is part of a driving school’s job, but it’s not the main job. Teaching the student to be a safe driver should be the school’s main function. If the School/Instructor spends the bulk of their time talking about, or training the student to pass the DMV drive test, it’s not a good school.
Does the Instructor teach freeway driving? This follows closely on the heels of the issue just above; since driving schools are mostly concerned with their student's passing the DMV drive test, they spend their time "teaching to the test." For this reason, and the fact that they want you to pay extra for "freeway" lessons, most schools do not include freeway driving in their six-hour teen course. At P-51 even our standard six-hour teen course includes close to an hour of freeway driving. If the Instructor spends little to no time on the freeway, it’s not a good school.
Does the Driving School and/or Instructor limit the miles the student can drive? It's not uncommon for a driving school, and/or an Instructor, to seriously limit the amount of miles the student drives. The more miles the student drives, the higher the cost to the school, the lower the miles, the lower the cost. Personally, while working for other driving schools, we have seen many many lessons that went only six to ten miles. How much can a student learn by driving six miles? Not much! At P-51 our second and third lessons can run as high as 60-70 miles, especially since we do a fair amount of freeway driving. If the Driving School and/or Instructor limit the driving miles the student can drive, it’s not a good school.