Driver’s education can teach inexperienced teens the rules of the road and can assist in the prevention of accidents within this age group. We had the chance to speak with Daniel Afonso of Epic Driving School about the importance of enrolling teens in a driver’s ed program.

How long have you been working as a driver’s education instructor and what gives you the greatest satisfaction in your job?

I have been certified as a driving instructor since June 2014 and I became a DMV Master Driving Instructor last year after undergoing an extensive process. I also obtained my New York driving instructor license in 2018.

My work as a driving instructor has shifted from teaching student drivers in the first five years as a licensed instructor to mentoring and training new instructors currently. I also teach online driver education classes for both students and instructors.

My greatest satisfaction comes from my contribution towards public safety on Connecticut and New York roads. I take pride in our high road-test pass rates and the feedback we receive from students.

What are the most important things that you teach to new drivers?

New drivers come with different degrees of knowledge, skills, and necessity. There is no standard method to instruct that can encompass all drivers’ needs. We work with benchmarks and a grading system to ensure students are improving within their capacity and starting point.

How can parents help to make their teen drivers safer?

Parents are the center of their children’s success as drivers. During parent classes, we bring important points to encourage decision-making and communication between them. As the main goal, we want parents to understand their importance in the enforcement of Graduated Driver Licensing Laws in the state. I also invite them to work with their children in between lessons to improve the skills learned. It is key to practice for at least three hours in between lessons so that students can return with a strong foundation and be ready for the next set of skill-building exercises.

What are some of the main things students in a driver’s education program can do to avoid causing or being injured in an accident?

Most accidents are caused by behavior-related issues and not the lack of skills required. These are one hundred percent preventable as students are fully aware of their dangers and related consequences. We dedicate eight hours of our full teen program to understanding the dangers, consequences and choosing to make the right decisions. This goes beyond instruction students that drunk-driving, texting, road rage, among others are dangerous; they already know that. We rather allow them to put themselves in these situations in an educational setting so it is easier to make the right decision once they are driving by themselves

What would you like to share with our readers that might help them to avoid being injured in an accident?

Students should consider their confidence, skill level, and ability to make coherent decisions behind the wheel prior to advancing towards a road test. Getting a license shouldn’t be dictated only based on age. Not every sixteen-year-old is there yet. Enjoy the process of learning.

If being in the car with a relative during the learning process is stressful, it means you are not yet ready to be behind the wheel.

Make every effort to master basic skills prior to moving on to more advanced skill levels. Skipping steps can put you into dangerous situations as you navigate road conditions that you are not yet ready for. Do you want to drive on the highway? Have a solid second-nature understanding of lane-change positions and experience in mid-range speed roads. Do you want to drive in the snow? Make sure you have enough experience in the rain, night driving, and general driving conditions first. I find that skipping the primary skill levels create unsafe drivers who make last-minute decisions.

Pro Tip:   Accidents that involve significant injuries sometimes require the services of an injury attorney who can assist in a variety of accident cases. Should you have any questions about your Connecticut accident case, please contact us.