...excellence requires a coach!

Behind-the-Wheel FAQs
1. When is it best to start in-car lessons?  Great question! A new driver should spend several weeks getting to know the family vehicle after obtaining a PA permit.This means learning all the vehicle controls, signals and switches, including at least 6-10 hours of driving in a large open parking lot during off peak, non-busy business hours. Ideally, teen/parent practice sessions should last about 30-40 minutes, however, some parents are more comfortable doing 20 minute practice sessions in the beginning, and that's fine. Gradually, a new driver will become more comfortable driving in and around traffic when the parking lot is more active, and practice sessions for some could increase to 45 or 60 minutes. A good time to start driving lessons with DDA is when your new driver is used to driving around other vehicles in a parking lot, cemetery or neighborhood, and is ready to head to the main road and navigate higher speed limits. Waiting too long or closer to the license test to start lessons could ultimately mean that it becomes more difficult for teens to make constructive test-related and/or safety-related changes. Once driving lessons begin, practice sessions with Mom or Dad become less stressful and students are less likely to ingrain bad habits or drivehavior!

2. How should in-car lessons be scheduled or spaced?  DDA is the first driving school to allow students/parents to schedule their own lessons through our self scheduling calendar!!! DDA programs are structured so that driving homework, new driving techniques and changes (noted on our RFI Form and emailed after each lesson), are practiced with parents between lessons until mastered. After the first lesson, remaining lessons should be spaced out to the license test. If we are not license testing you, then the last parallel parking/test prep lesson should be about 7-10 days prior to your license test date if using your family vehicle. This keeps test tips fresh and allows students enough time to go back to the test center with their family vehicle to repeat parallel parking until ingrained. If DDA is testing you at our facility in our DDA car, then your prep and test will both happen during your last 2 hour lesson and you will need to contact us to schedule your test - you cannot schedule your last lesson/test through our online self scheduling calendar.

3. What if my DMV test is already scheduled soon, is it too late to start?
  It's never too late! DDA teaches behind-the-wheel lessons 7 days-a-week. All DDA students are given a customized Room for Improvement (homework) form at the end of each two hour lesson that lists all coach recommended changes as well as brand new techniques so young drivers, parents and DDA Coaches are all on the same page. Remember to keep this RFI form in your glove compartment to reference prior to each practice drive with parents and even after the license is obtained if you really want to get better. Any driver can improve when successful changes are made. Good drivehavior is the result of brain-washing the old way out and the new way in, not joy-riding around just to log drive time.

4. Is the 30 hr course/class necessary?  Always check with your auto insurance agent, but to qualify for the full teen insurance discount, most insurance companies in PA require a certificate of completion for 6 hrs of behind-the-wheel instruction and another certificate for completing 30 hrs of classroom theory. So remember to sign up for DDA's 30hr Course early and get all the discounts. Some insurance companies will also offer a good grades discount too, so call your agent today to find what is required. A 30 hour course is also sometimes required to upgrade from a junior license to a full senior license before age 18.

5. Do DDA Coaches have credentials?  All DDA Coaches are licensed by the Department of Education and have undergone the following background checks: child abuse clearance, PA State criminal record check, FBI record check, Fingerprinting, and driving record check. Additionally, they have successfully completed a comprehensive 40 hour DDA anticipation-based training program, and certification by PennDOT to perform Third Party Non-Commercial License Tests. You can always request to see the PA Dept. of Education license which DDA Coaches are required to carry at all times when teaching. View all of our State Licenses and Certifications

6. Are there any female coaches?  Yes.  DDA's female coaches are among the best in the business.

7. When and how does pick up/drop off work?
  DDA teaches behind-the-wheel lessons 7 days-a-week. We come to you and can pick up and/or drop off at home, school, work, or other convenient location. If you select an option that includes testing at our facility in a DDA car, DDA sometimes requires students to meet at our facility on test day (last lesson) and leave with a parent, guardian, sibling or friend when the test is over----especially during peak times.

8. How long are the lessons?  Two hour lessons have proven (for thousands of DDA students) to be most effective for almost all young drivers. We do offer weekly one-hour lessons for students that are not able to practice with parents frequently, have limited schedules, learning issues/concerns and qualify with approval from the program Director.

9. Should parents start working on parallel parking?  No!  The DDA formula for parallel parking has worked tremendously well for thousands of DDA students and we always cover this on the last lesson before the test because we want our method to remain fresh. We highly recommend parents be available after the parallel parking/prep lesson to practice the DDA formula with their young driver in the family vehicle if they are not testing with DDA. No parallel parking practice is permitted at any DMV during testing hours: Tues-Sat 830-4pm.

10. Are any other students in the car during a lesson?  No. Not during a regular driving lesson. However, on the last prep and license test lesson there may be another student in the car prepping for their test too. We have found that passing ratios are higher and it is actually beneficial for students to learn by watching other students make mistakes while practicing right before their license test.

11. Are your vehicles dual controlled?  Yes.
There is a dual brake on the passenger side and only one steering wheel. DDA driving school cars are very visible, safe and licensed by and meet the requirements of the PA Dept. of Education

12. Can you teach my young driver in the family car?  No. This is against the PA Dept. of Education guidelines and there are liability concerns as well.

13. Can my young driver take the test in your smaller DDA car?  Yes. Our TestElite© and TotalGold© programs include parallel parking warm-up sessions with your coach right before the test, as well as the expertise of a DDA Coach to calm things down while waiting to test. DDA test programs require the last parallel parking/test prep lesson and test to both happen during the last lesson. Therefore, a DDA Test Rep will have to actually schedule your last lesson in order to coordinate a DDA car, coach and student schedules. DDA is now certified by PennDOT to perform Third Party Non-Commercial License Tests at our facility in Newtown Square, or Pep Boys in Exton. Contact DDA

14. Can I upgrade my DDA Program if I decide later I want DDA to test me?  Yes. but a DDA Representative should schedule your test in order to coordinate a DDA car, coach and teen schedule. To take advantage of DDA's best rates, though, remember to select and pay for a DDA Test Program right from the start.

15. Do you take students on the road at night or if it's raining?  Why not?  Eventually everyone drives in these conditions.  There are disadvantages and advantages to driving in these situations and DDA Coaches are trained to share these techniques with your teen.

16. Is my young driver covered by our insurance or DDA insurance?  All of our driving school cars are commercially insured with higher than normal coverage amounts which meet and surpass the minimum coverage amounts required by the PA Dept.of Education.

17. I haven't been on the highway yet with my teen.  Should we do that before lessons?  We recommend letting us give your young driver the highway merging tips and techniques first in our dual-controlled car. After the lesson you can go back to the highway and merge after we work out the kinks.

18. What paperwork is necessary on test day?  Don't worry, we send an email before your test that details everything you need on test day. If under age 18 when DDA meets you on test day, you will need your permit and form DL-180C (requiring 65 hrs of practice) must be signed and notarized by a parent or guardian or we cannot perform the test. When someone uses their own vehicle on test day, a valid license, registration and insurance card are also required, but form DL-180C will not need to be notarized if a parent is present at the test center. 
Download form DL-180C

19. What's the best way to practice with my young driver?  We highly recommend the 15-20 minutes a day rule.  With smaller practice sessions and a removable DDA STUDENT driver vinyl decal everyone's patience level remains high and improvement becomes more rapid.

20. Does a parent have to be home when a lesson starts/ends?  No, just leave a payment with your child and review the DDA Room for Improvement form later on, which pinpoints weaknesses and provides tips and techniques that need to be practiced before the next lesson.

21. How does payment work?  We accept all major credit cards through our website. Checks should be given to the DDA Coach BEFORE LESSONS START as payment is due at the time services are rendered. Checks should be made out to "Defensive Driving Academy" Missed or forgotten payments can be made through our website or over the phone. ON TEST DAY CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED, but cash, credit or debit cards, and money orders are accepted.

22. When my young driver has completed a behind-the-wheel program do you provide a certificate that I can give to my insurance company?  Yes. Our Teen Program curriculum has been licensed by the PA Dept of Education and must be followed in order to qualify for a certificate of completion. We will email the certificate so you are able to keep a copy on your computer for future use.  There is a fee to generate a duplicate certificate later. We highly recommend you ask your agent if a certificate for 30hrs of classroom theory is also required along with the behind-the-wheel certificate to qualify for the full young driver insurance discount - in PA not all insurance companies have the same young driver insurance discount requirements, and some even offer a "good grades" discount too. Request a certificate of completion

23. What if my permit expires or is lost?  There is no re-testing required, just a $5 check to PennDot and form DL-31 which can be mailed or brought to a PennDOT photo license center and a new permit can be printed while you wait (Tues-Sat, 8:30a-4pm). Click here to download other PennDOT Forms

24. Does DDA ever travel outside it's service area?  If you live outside of DDA's service area, we can usually set up a convenient meeting point near public transportation or you can Uber as well.

25. What is your cancellation policy?  We require advance notification if you are unable to keep an appointment. Same-day cancellations are subject to a $40 fee. No-shows are subject to full cost of the lesson or test. "DDA Cancellation Policy/Terms" must be accepted online before lessons or tests start. Returned checks are subject to a $40 fee.

 26. What if I don't finish my DDA program, lessons or package?  Paid lessons never expire, but if you restart more than 1 year later, lessons could be subject to the difference in price if rates have increased. Unfinished or un-packaged lessons or hours are subject to the standard $100 per hour rate for lesson time used, minus the difference paid for your DDA program/package. After 1 year, however, lessons become non-refundable.

27. Can I really take my PA Driver License test at the end of my lessons through DDA? 
Yes,  Testing at our facility is an option for anyone who has a PA permit and needs to get a driver license. DDA's Teen Programs include options for families that want DDA to test their teen, and behind-the-wheel lessons in order to get the teen auto insurance discount and peace of mind. Pick up and drop off at our test facility may be required during peak times.

28. I'm ready to sign up, what's next?  DDA requires all new students to register online to get started. Registering is required to schedule driving lessons instantly online, and will help us to provide the best possible customer service we can. We also need to have emergency phone numbers and contact info on hand just in case. In PA, there are two teen driver ed certificate programs: Behind-the-Wheel Instruction and Classroom or Online Theory. Most PA auto insurance companies require both certificates to qualify for the teen auto discount, while other companies require just one. This is why DDA requires you to register and pay separately for each. Again, you might not need both, so call your insurance agent for details. Only your agent knows what requirements are necessary in order to qualify for the teen auto insurance discount - we do not. After speaking with your agent, you can register for a DDA Behind the Wheel program and add a DDA 30 Hour Course if needed. A certificate will be emailed after each program is completed successfully.


Thanks in advance for taking time to read and follow our private driving school guidelines...
~We appreciate your business!


Distracted Driving Honors Student Kills a Grandfather To Be
  
In this emotional 3 minute video for the first time, together, is the tragedy of two women: a 17-year-old high school honors student who killed a man when she took her eyes off the road, and the daughter of the man who was killed. The victim was just weeks away from becoming a grandfather for the very first time.