Need quality driving lessons in Toronto.
August 22, 2012 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Where's a good place for an adult to take driving lessons in Toronto?

For numerous reasons I've managed to make it to my 40's without a driver's license. I had my learner's back in my 20's and drove a bunch then, but that's been the extend of my driving experience.

Having a child has changed my attitude towards driving, however, but I'm completely flummoxed as to the best place to learn. I know about Young Drivers, which I've heard good things about from other late-onset drivers, but it's really expensive (around $1k). Driving schools in general seem to be like moving companies - there's only anecdotal evidence, and it seems impossible to determine quality without a lot of digging.

So, any suggestions for a reasonable, high-quality place to get driving lessons?
posted by theNonsuch to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never head anything but horror stories about Young Drivers, but maybe that's because it's in a slightly different region.

If you really can't find anywhere good in Toronto itself, phone the Skid Control School in Oakville and ask if they can recommend a place in Toronto, or a Toronto-based colleague. The main instructor/manager of operations, Doug, is a really nice, friendly guy, not to mention a really good teacher. He may have some suggestions.

If you has a way to get out to Oakville, I'd suggest inquiring about getting lessons there. They do rehabilitation and advanced driver training, so I imagine they'd be willing to teach an adult beginner.
posted by sardonyx at 4:28 PM on August 22, 2012

Best driving I had was on the 'lonely highway' (QEW heading to NF).
posted by Kruger5 at 6:51 PM on August 22, 2012

I was in a similar situation a few years ago in Alberta and here is what I did.
I studied and wrote my beginners license -make sure you do this as soon as possible, graduated licensing takes forever!
I then drove with a licensed driver -I had driven with a full license in my 20s, so I was rusty but could still drive. Once I got close to being eligible to take the road tests, I took lessons from CAA, so I had one on one driving lessons with someone who could critique and make suggestions, plus run me through all the likely scenarios I would encounter on my real road test. It was great, I believe the lessons were around $100 a session.
If you didn't want to take the full driver's education course, you can definitely study and do the written parts on your own and take driving lessons as you need them. Once you are comfortable enough to drive, try and get out with a licensed driver and practice as much as possible.
posted by Snazzy67 at 8:34 PM on August 22, 2012

I've never head anything but horror stories about Young Drivers

I did Young Drivers in Toronto and it was excellent. This is getting on close to 15 years ago, now, but I haven't heard anything to suggest that their quality had declied. I will say that they teach you some techniques that while theoretically good defensive driving, are totally impratical in the real world (like stopping well back of a light and then creeping forward). But if you can pass their test you can pass the Ministry test.

The other very well-established school in Toronto is CSS. My sister went there and they're good. I understand they're also a fair bit cheaper than Young Drivers. They would be my recommendation as a place to start.

You do not want to go to Skid Control School, which is advanced training, and not for you right now. The skills involved in teaching experienced drivers are different than in teaching (relative) beginners.
posted by Dasein at 1:48 PM on August 23, 2012

My recommendation for the school in Oakville is based on the fact they also offer rehabilitation lessons for people who have accidents resulting in loss of confidence behind the wheel. They also do corporate good-driving training and best-practices on the road types of programs. So I think they'd be amenable to talking about (and possibly recommending) basic driver training, even if they don't offer it themselves. As I mentioned above Doug is a really, nice, friendly guy who always seems willing to talk, so I figure it doesn't hurt to make a phone call.

That said--and this is a total aside--I think it's good for everybody to get some skid pad time just to figure out what to do when (not if) they get into a slightly hairy situation. Learning that lesson earlier in a driving career rather than later would be helpful and prevent a lot of avoidable accidents. In my ideal world (the one where I'm ruler supreme with ultimate power) I'd make sure every driving school had access to a skid pad and every person learning how to drive would get some time on one to practise how to react when a car suddenly starts to go sideways.

As for YD, the school in my local area (outside of Toronto) was notorious for students who rolled, flipped and spectacularly wrecked cars during lessons. Now maybe they've improved over the years, but "good reputation" is not what comes to my mind when I think of that particular school.
posted by sardonyx at 6:42 PM on August 23, 2012

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