It’s time for the first lesson of IN-CAR TRAINING. I’m sure you are wondering, “Why did I decide to do Parent Taught Training”. Don’t worry; thousands upon thousands of parents do it every day. It’s not nearly as bad as you are thinking. With the proper training and a little patience, you will have the first lesson in the bag and you will be back home in your chair watching your favorite program in no time.

So, first let me tell you, Eliza and I have trained four of our own kids. I know it is a little different because we designed and developed a driver education program, so it should have been a lot easier with us, and it probably was. Yet it was still a little scary for each of their first lessons, each child is different and you really need a different strategy for each child.

Location, Location, Location

First things first, let’s find the best place to conduct this memorable event. We chose, and we suggest you choose a place that is wide open, no parked vehicles and certainly no traffic. We found a large church parking lot and performed our training on an evening when there was nothing going on. A large mall parking lot is also an attractive site, as long as it is during the off hours.

Let’s Ease Them In

We like to ease them into the first lesson. Many of the things you will do, won’t involve movement of the vehicle. These things are vitally important and we believe your young driver needs to know and be able to verbalize them to you. They won’t think these things are important but we know better, right parents.

Now it’s time to Instruct, Are you Ready!!!!

  1. Perform the Pre and Post Driving Procedures – Okay, here we go, have the student move to the driver seat and start having them go over the Pre and Post Driving Procedures. They have already learned these in the online lessons, now it is time for them to show you their knowledge and understanding.
  2. Vehicle Symbols – We veterans think this is easy. It’s not. Make sure they know each symbol, what it means and what it do.
  3. Occupant Protection – Maybe the most important thing during this exercise. Seat belts are important, make sure they know that, and make sure this is second nature.
  4. Vehicle Control Devices – Again, as an experienced driver, you know exactly what the brake and accelerator is and does. These first time drivers, they don’t know how it all works. Take time, be patient and teach them what every control device does. Believe me, it will be worth it.
  5. Basic Driving Maneuvers – Now is the time we’ve all been waiting for, the movement of the vehicle. Start out simple. Encourage. Be patient. Remember how hard it may have been for you.

Well, it’s over. Hopefully you all lived through it. Now, go to your chair, turn on your favorite TV show and be glad your next lesson isn’t for 3 more days.

That’s right, the second In-Car Lesson is in three days. Catch our next week blog on City Driving Part 1. Can’t Wait!!!!

Hi, I’m Kevin Knapp, co-owner of Virtual Drive Driver Education. My wife Eliza and I have been working with first time drivers through our online driver education course for over 10 years now. As parents, Eliza and I have now taught 4 teens to drive. I know, we deserve a medal.

Luckily we had the assistance of our online course for 3 of them, but my first daughter, who is now 27 and the inspiration for Virtual Drive, didn’t have the advantage of taking our course, it wasn’t developed back then.

Here is a little story that illustrates the difference between the novice driver and the experienced driver. I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing this story. After all, it was 10 years ago.

Shelby took driver education from a local driving school. When she turned 16 and became eligible to get her license, I took her down to the DPS and we got her license. She actually did pretty well on her driving test. We got her a really cool Jeep Cherokee for her 16th birthday and she was set. After going through all the rules that we expected her to abide by, we let her go out on her own to conquer the world.

All went pretty well until the 13th day of having her license. I got a call from my frantic little girl; she had been in an accident. She had her music up too loud, didn’t hear a siren from a fire truck and when other people stopped to allow the fire truck the right of way at an intersection, she didn’t and she ran into the vehicle in front of her. She wasn’t hurt, nor was anyone in the other vehicle but she was really shaken up. She was lucky.

Her mother and I met her at the accident site. After dealing with the accident, which included the issuance of a citation. We all decided to head to the house and discuss the entire situation. We were in three cars, her mother in front, her in the middle and me behind. As we entered an area that required a yield, her mother obeyed the sign but Shelby ignored it and ran right in the back of her mother. By the way, I yielded.

So, within an hour, my brand new 16-year old driver had racked up a total of two rear end collisions. This is a perfect example of a novice driver versus an experienced driver. Shelby was distracted by her music for the first accident and then distracted by her emotions for the second accident.

As a first time driver you will be entering in to a very important role as a citizen of the state of Texas. A driver on the Texas Highway Transportation System must be a knowledgeable and responsible driver.

By taking a course like Virtual Drive you will learn the basic information on driving safety, legal responsibilities and rules of the road. These are all important items as you strive to become a responsible reduce-risk driver. Remember, in the state of Texas, driving is a privilege and the driver assumes responsibilities, obligations, and potential consequences for their driving actions.

Research has indicated that hazard detection skills and abilities are less developed among novice drivers compared with experienced adult drivers. Novices tend to miss some relevant cues and may be less able to process important elements in the environment while driving. It was determined that novices would have lower hazard detection skills and will react less appropriately to hazards than older and more experienced drivers.

Results indicate that the adult drivers observed hazards and demonstrated overt recognition of hazards more frequently than the novice drivers. Results also indicated that a large portion of novice drivers failed to disengage from peripheral task engagement in the presence of hazards.

Texas Driver Education Methods

Okay, let’s be honest here… learning to drive was a lot different when we were kids. Most of us just took driver education at our high school and did our practice driving out on an old country road.

But now, with all the online courses and driving schools in the area, there are numerous Texas driver education methods. It’s hard to know what is right for you and your child. After all, our children are the most important things in our lives.

Commercial Texas Driving School

Many parents choose a commercial Texas driving school thinking that they won’t have to deal with the aggravation of teaching their teen to drive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. First of all, someone still has to take and pick up the student from the school every day for the duration the 32 hours of required classroom training. If you miss a class, you have to make it up. Many of us don’t have that kind of time.

Next, the driving school is responsible for 14 hours of driver training. Most schools will provide 7 hours of actual behind-the-wheel training and then an additional 7 hours of observation. This means that they will ride in the backseat while another student is driving. Here is the kicker that most parents don’t realize. After the student has graduated from the school you will not receive a certificate of completion until the parent then teaches an additional 20 hours of behind the wheel driving. Technically the 20 hours is supervised driving, meaning that the parent is responsible for logging 20 hours of driving. This includes 10 hours of night driving to satisfy the requirements of the state of Texas. So, with the taking and picking up and the 20 hours of supervised driving the parent is still responsible for a lot of time and effort, even with a commercial driving school.

Texas Parent Taught Driver Education

Texas PTDE Behind The Wheel Driver TrainingThe next option is Texas Parent Taught driver education training. Just to be fair, this method is our preferred method. We were one of the first approved online Parent Taught courses in the state of Texas many years ago. Parent Taught is becoming more and more popular for a variety of reasons. The main reasons are cost and flexibility. It is so easy for the parent and student to sit down at their leisure, at their own computer and take the 32 hours of required training.

Depending on the course, on-line training is as effective as the traditional classroom method. In some cases, we believe it may be better. The student has the option of reviewing the lessons they didn’t understand the first time. In classroom training the student must request a review. This may take weeks or months before the review is offered. Also, the consistency of the material is much greater with online. It is always the same, never alters due to having a bad day or disruption to the class. Another big advantage is the length of time the student has to complete the course. With a commercial driving school the student has 1 month to complete the classroom and they are very limited as to when their driving times may be. With online Parent Taught (at least with Virtual Drive) the student has up to 1 year to complete the course. These are just some of the many reasons why we believe computer based driver education training is best.

Texas Driver Education Choices

Here is the good news, whether you decide on Parent Taught or Commercial Driving School, you will be just fine. All of the13 approved Parent Taught courses in Texas have gone through a very rigorous evaluation of their curriculum. While all of the courses are presented differently, all of us had to go through the same process through the Department of Public Safety to be approved as a provider. This means the difference you will find is not necessarily with the content, but with the delivery method. So when choosing a course for Parent Taught training, we encourage you to really look at the course. Make sure you evaluate the delivery method, how many years the company has been around and the stated results of their students. Many companies don’t list the results of their students driving records because they don’t want you to know.

As far as the driving schools, most of the over 400 driving schools in Texas are very good. They must go through the same rigorous evaluation by the Driver Training Division of the state of Texas. They must comply with all the rules and regulations as well as keep all instructors certified. You are in good hands.

So now it is your choice, your decision and your time and money. Hopefully this blog helped a little in your decision. If you have further questions, you can always email us at We welcome your questions and comments about or approved Texas driver education courses.

We know you will make the right decision for your child, nobody loves and cares about your child’s safety more than you do!


Did you know that some reliable research statistics indicate that there are actually some days in a year when more people die from motor crashes than others? Ironically, but not surprisingly, these most “deadly” days just so happen to fall on or around major holidays. So buckle your seatbelts, because here’s a list of days throughout the year where more accident related deaths are reported:

  1. New Year’s Eve/ New Year’s Day: Who’s surprised? I’m certainly not! This is pretty much a no-brainer, because almost everybody drinks more than usual on this day; when there’s an excessive amount of drunk-people, the number of drunk drivers would increase, hence, boost up the accident rate and fatality rate on roads.
  2. Super Bowl Sunday: Pretty much the same reason as New Year’s Eve; more people get drunk, more people drink and drive, hence more accidents happen. Additionally, the home city of both the winning team and the losing team tend to have the highest accident rate, which is again, not very surprising.
  3. Daylight Saving Day: What!? What does this have to do with car accidents!? Well, believe it or not, according to a UBC study, people get an average of 40 minutes less sleep on the day before they turn their clocks forward for Daylight Savings time. That leads to Sunday drivers who are less alert and less focused and more prone to accidents.
  4. Tax Day: This may sound funny, but people do feel more stressed on 4/15 than any other typical day; according to research, this day, on average, has about 13 more accident-related deaths than that of any other non-holiday day.
  5. Labor Day: Many Americans see the Labor Day weekend as their final chance to have that summer barbecue or take that beach trip. Unfortunately, many people drink alcohol at those events and then try to drive home, which leads to an increase in traffic deaths of around 300% to 400% as compared to that of a regular day.

Now that you know which days are dangerous, please be extra-extra (yes, double extra!) careful if you happen to be driving on those days! Slow down, and do NOT attempt to DUI, or else you may be on your way to becoming one of the statistics. Stay safe!

Did you know that wet pavement contributes to nearly 1.2 million traffic crashes each year? Safety starts before you drive, and your goal should be to see and be seen. Replace windshield wiper inserts that leave streaks or don’t clear the glass in a single swipe. Make sure all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are properly functioning so other drivers will see you during downpours. Also, don’t forget to turn on your headlights whenever you drive!

Proper tire tread depth and inflation are imperative to maintaining good traction on wet roadways. Make sure to check tread depth with a quarter inserted upside down into the tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head, start shopping for new tires. Check each tire’s pressure, including the spare, at least once a month, and be sure to check the pressure when the tires are cold.

Wet Weather Driving Tips

Here are some tips you’ll want to follow the next time you’re caught driving in the rain.

  1. Never drive in the rain with your cruise control on. If you do this and hydroplane, your wheels can reach an excessive speed when not in contact with the road. This has the result of propelling your car forward when the wheels touch down again.
  2. Slow Down. When water mixes with the oil and dirt on the road it can create slick conditions that encourage skidding. The best way to avoid losing control of your vehicle is to slow down.
  3. Increase your stopping distance. Make sure if the vehicle in front of you comes to a sudden stop, you have enough space to brake to a stop without skidding.
  4. Steer into the skid. The first thing you should do is remain calm, ease your foot off the accelerator and carefully steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go. This is called “steering into the skid” and will bring the back end of your car in line with the front. For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your brakes. If your car has ABS brakes, brake firmly as you “steer into the skid”.
  5. Do not use your high beam headlights. While it is important to use low beam headlights in the wet, high beam headlights are likely to reflect back on you, reducing visibility.

Stay Alert!

Overall you want to be extra cautious in wet weather. Slow down, avoid hard braking or turning sharply and allow ample stopping distance between you and the cars in front of you. Also, avoid driving through water and use your headlights and stay alert! These tips will keep you and your passenger’s safe on wet roads.