Our six hour, Behind-the-Wheel program is rigorous, akin to a driving boot camp. As we see it, our job is to instill, in this short amount of time, the best driving habits and practices possible to give your teen a firm foundation for a long, safe and enjoyable driving career. We also want to prepare our students for the Colorado Driving Test. Additionally, we send each parent or guardian a handout which will help you and your teen get the most out of our Colorado Driver’s Ed program because, let’s face it, we only have them for six hours while you’ll be driving with them for much longer. This handout covers our “Tangibles” upon which our program is based as well as providing tips for teaching your teen to drive. If your teen has been driving a while already and you want us to concentrate on specific aspects of driving, we’ll be happy to custom tailor a program that fits their needs and abilities.
Our Behind the Wheel program was created by Don Corthell, our Senior Instructor and a 40+ year veteran of the driving industry, as well as a former Boston policeman. He’s designed the training of our instructors and created the routes to accomplish as much as possible in the state-mandated six hour time frame. Don is a Commercial Driver’s License instructor and Examiner, a Defensive Driving Instructor, and the Assistant Transit Manager for the Buff Bus program at the University of Colorado where he teaches college students to drive buses. Don also has certifications from the Department of Transportation Safety Institute in Safety, Training, Operations, and advance accident investigation. For information on what we cover in each session, please see below: An Overview of Our Routes and Sessions and What We Teach and Practice on our Drives.
The six hours are divided into three 2-hour sessions. All lessons are conducted in one of our company vehicles which are fully insured and have a passenger-side brake and passenger rear view mirror. We schedule Denver Driving School lessons seven days a week so we can usually find a time that is convenient for you and your teen’s busy schedules. This training can be purchased as a stand-alone package or as part of our 30 Hour Classroom Package or 30 Hour Online Package. Please see prices below. If you need just an hour or two Behind-the-Wheel to refresh your driving technique or prior to your drive test, we have other packages available below. Please also see our Testing Page.
Session 1: For complete novices who have never driven before, we start in a parking lot with basic acceleration, braking and steering techniques. In this parking lot, we cover right and left turns and lane usage. Usually, within an hour, we can graduate to driving residential and urban roads. If this session goes well, we will move the student to the next route on their next drive.
Session 2: For students who have some familiarity with driving in Colorado, we usually start on our second route which covers seven different driving environments: residential, rural, urban, roundabouts, two lane state highway, a short time on an interstate highway with no merging, school and construction zones. We also practice backing out of parking spaces, U-turns, 3-point turns and single and multi-lane turns. There are controlled and uncontrolled intersections on all of our routes. If the student is ready, they may progress to the next route.
Session 3: On this route, we cover mountain and canyon driving, rural and residential areas, and mall parking lots. We also cover the three different types of parking: angle, perpendicular and parallel parking. On this route, we have steep grades, many warning signs for speed management on curves and downhill grades and lots of scanning practice. If the Denver driving student is ready, they may progress to the next route.
Session 4: On this last drive, we go into Downtown Denver and up Lookout Mountain. This route covers steep grades, left and right switchbacks, one-way streets, heavier traffic in the Denver downtown commercial area, construction and school zones, as well as merging onto the interstate highway. We’ll practice right on red and left on red turns, multi-lane turns and navigating one-way streets.
On every drive, we teach our “tangibles” and build on the strengths of any previous Denver driving school drive. Tangibles are guidelines anyone can use to drive safely no matter what vehicle they’re driving. Tangibles often use a part of the car as a guideline for the performance of a maneuver. The tangibles allow our students to drive any non-commercial vehicle comfortably and confidently. The tangibles help Denver, Colorado driving students perform the maneuvers correctly and increase the safety of both the students and other drivers on the road. Tangibles remain the same and are transferrable from one vehicle to another creating an additional level of confidence among our students.
As well, we also watch for the following skills and problem areas: basic driving skills (acceleration, braking, steering and correct hand position), turn signals, correct lane selection and lane keep, navigating intersections safely, road markings, road signs and traffic signals, turns, (Right, Left, Single Lane, Multi-Lane Turns, 3-point Turns, U-Turns, Right and Left on Red and Turns from a One Way onto a One Way Street) Parking, roundabouts, Following Distance and 3-second plus rule, scanning, searching and traffic checks, speed management, stopping gap and lane change procedures.
As various situations present themselves, we use these as teaching opportunities (bikes, pedestrians, road and weather conditions, emergency vehicles and the like.) We can customize any driving session to suit your needs and preferences. Please talk with us about any particular concerns or problem areas you may have.