Habits define you! There are good habits and bad ones.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Our last blog had some general recommendations for you and your student to get educated regarding some of the common obstacles they face and how to overcome them while they have their permit. Our purpose now is to focus on the keys to training; simplicity, repetition, and habit. If this is done efficiently and effectively by the RIGHT people, students have the tools to continue their training every day. This keeps their safe driving skills and good habits to increase their odds of living a long time. This is the essence of the State’s Drive Test they will take after having their permit for 6 months. We have found how critical this is relating to their success on Test Day:
1) Simplicity: Easy to understand procedures and concise commands allow students to “get it”
2) Repetition: Breaking procedures down easy enough and doing it a thousand times over and over create muscle memory creating “good” habits.
3) Habits: Maintain good, safe habits requires discipline on part of the student and parent. When this is done and the student is able to safely maneuver the vehicle without searching for controls and without panic, they are able to shift their focus towards driving Defensively. This is the Holy Grail. This is the main reason students under 18 are required to drive a minimum of 50 hours in the 6 months they have their permit. We realized this many years ago and this is why we started Parent Meetings the first hour of class for the purpose to Train the Trainer. Since we do this all day every day, we share our techniques with Parents to maintain consistency. We’re both singing out of the same hymnal and our kids aren’t confused.
If you Google “Perfect Driving”, you won’t find it. There is no such thing. The Insurance Institute of Research says that every licensed driver, on average, commits 1 mistake every 2 miles. Therefore, the key to living a long time while driving a car is to understand this and know situations where mistakes occur, which ones could be fatal and then plan their escape. The Drive Test is just that; a short test to show you can drive safely and correctly. It saves lives.
The best educators for teaching “our babies” how to drive are people that save lives in their careers. This approach isn’t overly dramatic as The Number 1 killer of teenagers is a car crash. They are not accidents. We don’t even allow the “A” word to be used. Crashes are caused by a number of reasons but mainly bad decisions, distracted driving (texting, daydreaming or not thinking ahead for potential situations) and not habitually playing defense.
We employ 5 trained Designated Driver License Examiners, who are also instructors, as well as 3 peace officers who are CLEET certified. The drive test is as short and simple. It is basic and is completed in less than 15 minutes. Students are only required to score a 75 out of 100 to pass. The test requirements include 4 left turns, 4 right turns, and 3 maneuvers (a hill park – up or downhill, a parallel park, and a backing maneuver). The test ends parking in a parking space. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. We have an article from the Tulsa World that breaks down every DPS exam station in Oklahoma. The average failure rate was 25% with some stations peaking at 50%. If the drive test is so simple and easy, why are so many failing. As an examiner myself administering several thousand drive tests, I’ll explain, in my next blog, what we’ve found and how to plan our training accordingly so that our 16th Birthday is a fond memory instead of ruined by something that could have been avoided.
I’ve always told people even though our company is called Cowboy Driving Academy, we are not a “Driving School”. I prefer to have the image and brand of a “Traffic Safety Business”. I’ll explain the difference similar to the difference between Theory and Reality.
Education is the process of facilitating learning. It encompasses knowledge, skills, values, beliefs transferred to other people through storytelling, discussion, teaching, training and research. School is an institution designed for the teaching of students. They are primarily focused on doing their job covering what they’re supposed to in the required time allotted. It is something you are required to attend and it is up to you to be accountable for your success.
Training is teaching or developing in oneself or others, any skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Training has specific goals of improving one’s capability, capacity, productivity and performance. Observers of the labor market recognize the need to continue training beyond initial qualifications to maintain, upgrade and update skills throughout your life. If you don’t use it, you lose it applies.
A Business is an organization involved in providing goods or services in exchange for money. A business is an entity that you can choose to DO BUSINESS with. If the business you choose doesn’t add value, you can choose to go do business elsewhere. The business is accountable to assess, train, and advise to ensure success. If a business doesn’t do a good professional job and turn out good products (drivers), their business will eventually cease to exist. We invest ourselves in the success of our students. If they set the example, people ask them where they learned and the grapevine spreads. Success breeds success.
My first students are now almost 30 years old. It is very satisfying to run into them at the movies or restaurants with their family. They’ll usually take the time to bring them over to introduce them to me. Always after the introduction, they’ll say Mr. Finley, I haven’t had any wrecks or tickets. This is my WHY? They’re proud to tell me about the success I helped to bring them and they truly know I care. The older they get, the more they appreciate it.
That’s why we promote 2 mottos;
1) SELL Safety – .Save Everybody’s Lives Longterm
2) Training Champions for Life
While we are trained and administer thousands of drive tests, we are much larger than that.