Catherine Hiles
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How to Choose a Driving School

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Learning to drive is both an exhilarating prospect and a scary one. But for most Americans, it’s a necessary one. How can you be sure you’re prepared enough to ace the test and then be let loose on the road all by yourself? The smartest way is to learn to drive through a driving school.

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But choosing a driving school is a whole other ballgame. How do you know which one to pick? Follow our tips to find the perfect driving school for you.

Set your budget

Before you can pick a driving school, you need to determine how much you are able to spend. Get a few quotes from local driving schools to get an idea of what they cost, and then choose one that works with your budget. Don’t just go for the cheapest option if you get a weird vibe from them; money is important but it’s OK to splurge a little if you find a driving school you love for a little more money (and you have the money to spend).

Choose a duration

How long do you want to take lessons for? If you have a date set for your test, you can work back from that. Bear in mind that if you’re looking to learn quickly, you may have to sign up for a more intensive program which can cost more. Learning over a longer duration might be a better option if you have a low budget since you can spread the cost out over a few months.

Read online reviews

Just like anything else these days, you can learn a lot from online reviews of driving schools. Does your top pick have a bunch of negative reviews? It might be a good idea to consider another place instead. But even if you do see negative reviews, it’s smart to see how the business reacted to those reviews. If they respond and apologize or offer to make it up to the disgruntled customer, that shows they are willing to work with you. But if all the negative comments are unanswered, that’s a red flag.

A business with only positive reviews may mislead you. Do the reviews look spammy? Most online review platforms have anti-spam filters and may penalize businesses for paying for reviews or posting false ones, but that doesn’t mean some shady businesses won’t try to circumvent the rules.

Make sure they are approved by the state

Check online to see a list of state-approved driving schools. In Ohio, for example, you can go to the Ohio Department of Public Safety website and search for approved schools in your county. There are options for teen driving schools, commercial driver license schools, abbreviated adult schools, and more.

Learning to drive or honing your driving skills is important and you don’t want to end up with a shady or fraudulent driving instructor. By doing your research and shopping around, you can easily find a driving school that fits your needs and your budget.