Header: Behind-the-Wheel Training

S_iconBehind-the-Wheel Training

Safeway's 6 hours of basic driving instruction continues the classroom emphasis on defensive driving maneuvers while exposing the student to a wide variety of driving enviroments.

Safeway provides three, two-hour behind-the-wheel lessons (6 hours total). Each lesson has its own curriculum and objectives. As soon as the student receives their hard card photo permit in the mail from the State, they should click the “Student Login” button in the upper right corner of our home page to register the permit number.

We have found the sequence and timing of lessons described below produces a confident and competent driver who is eager to drive.

The first lesson, our basic lesson, should be scheduled after receiving the hard-card photo permit and after having had 5 hours of practice driving.

The second lesson should be scheduled 4 or more weeks after the first lesson and after an additional 15 hours of practice driving.  This is our freeway and downtown lesson and should not be scheduled during rush hour.

The third lesson can be scheduled either 4 weeks or more after the second lesson or a few weeks before the Road Test, depending on the student’s preference. This lesson teaches parking maneuvers and prepares the student for the Road Test.

Safeway’s online scheduling system is programmed to schedule lessons at least 30 days apart.  If the student or parent needs less time between lessons, please call our office for assistance.  The three lessons should be completed within a year of completing classes or by the student’s 16th birthday, whichever is later.

Many of our instructors do back-to-back lessons. The first student of the day is picked up from home or school at the scheduled time. Toward the end of the lesson (last 10-15 minutes), the first student will drive to the second student’s home. The second student will get into the back seat and the first student will finish their lesson time by driving themselves home. The second student will then begin their lesson time from the first student’s home at the scheduled time. Each student will get their full two-hour lesson time.

Lesson #1 is our “basic” lesson. Basic vehicle operation and control is emphasized including starting, stopping, lane control, following distance, along with good observation techniques. The student must demonstrate a knowledge of all vehicle controls and warning lights. Merge vs. yield, SMOG and Gap-Gauge-Go are put into practice.

Lesson #2 is our “freeway and downtown” lesson. This lesson is a milestone for most students. It allows them to find out how proficient a driver they really are. The student travels to and back from downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis on the freeway. Once downtown, the student performs turns with multiple turn lanes from and onto multiple-lane one-way and two-way streets. Crosswalks, pedestrians and Right on Red turns are covered in detail. Freeway driving emphasizes lane changes, weave lanes and exit and entrance ramps of both cloverleaf and diamond interchanges.

Lesson #3 is our “parking” lesson. During this lesson, students become proficient at parallel and 90-degree corner back parking. Students also learn the proper procedures for hill parking and parking lot procedures. The Road Test driving maneuvers are also reviewed. At this lesson, the students receive their White Card, the course completion card. The White Card must be presented at the Road Test.