How to Overcome Your Fear of Learning How to Drive

Did you know that fear of driving is one of the most common phobias that people may experience? Driving is an activity that can cause people to experience panic and fear. It can be a stressful activity for many people. The experts at Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving understand that learning to drive can cause anxiety and they will make it as calm and relaxing as possible. It’s never too late to learn how to drive!

Fear of Learning How to Drive

Learning to drive in a calm environment will help to reduce your anxiety. Our classes are fun and engaging. We will teach you the rules of the road before you get behind the wheel. This will help you to feel prepared and confident before you drive. Our Calgary drivers ed classes are fun and engaging. Our Calgary driving courses will teach you the information that you need to overcome your fear of driving. The instructors are friendly and understand your fears. They will encourage you and teach you how to deal with any situation while driving.

Our Top Tips For Success:

  • Enroll in a reputable driving school. Learning to drive from an instructor with years of experience will help tremendously. They will teach you everything you need to know and how to deal with situations as they arise.
  • Practice. Get out on the road and practice driving. The more that you practice driving, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Start on quiet residential roads and gradually work your way up to busier roads. We recommend that you practice at every opportunity so that driving will begin to feel more natural.
  • Breathe deeply and focus on the positive. It’s natural for your breathing to become irregular when you’re anxious. Breathe in deeply through your nose and slowly exhale through your mouth. This will help you to feel calm and to be able to focus on driving.
  • Plan ahead. Plan your route before you begin driving. This will reduce your stress while driving as you will know the best route to your destination.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t panic if you miss your exit. You can get off at the next exit and turn around. It’s ok if it takes a little longer to get to your destination.

Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving will help you overcome your fear of driving. Our expert instructors have many years of experience. They are friendly, and knowledgeable, and will help you to learn how to drive safely. We also offer courses that will teach you additional driving skills such as defensive driving and winter driving. These extra skills will help you to feel more comfortable driving in challenging conditions. Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving is the driving school Calgary trusts! Call today to learn more.

Derek Brown's Online Driving Course

Introducing Our New Online Driving Course

Online Driving Course

We know that life gets busy! It can be hard to find the time to complete the driving course Calgary loves. That’s why we are excited to introduce our new online driving course! This comprehensive course will also help you achieve the classroom hours needed for your class 5 license – without ever leaving the comfort of your home! Our online program has been fully approved by Alberta Transportation as an alternative to the 15-hour-in classroom program. This program is interactive and has activities, games, and information that’s narrated by a speaker. Our online course is supported by our expert instructors. They are available to answer your questions Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Class 5 License

Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving is the largest driving school in Calgary. Our Class 5 beginner driving course will prepare you for your Class 5 road test. It consists of 15 hours of classroom time and 10 hours of driving time. The classroom lessons are held from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. They are split into three 5-hour sessions. There will also be five 2-hour driving lessons that will be held anytime Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. We know that many people who want to take driving lessons in Calgary can’t spend three Saturdays in a classroom. We have created the online course so that you can complete the classroom component whenever it’s convenient for you!

How Does the Online Driving Course Work?

Student taking the online driving course

Each module of the online driving course is composed of slides of information. These slides will need to be checked to move forward to the next slides. Additionally, each module also has a final test that summarizes the information that was lectured in the module. As you complete a module, you will complete the test. You must also achieve a minimum score of 80% or higher to pass the course. You will also be given 3 attempts to complete the 15 hours. Click here to learn about the minimum system requirements.

How Do I Register?

To register, you must call Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving to complete the registration over the phone. Once you have registered, you will be emailed a link. This will allow you to register and create an account. Then you must call the office to be given full access to the online course. You will then check in to the online course by entering the correct answers to the security questions that you set up during registration. The contract and record of registration will be printed and submitted to the academy before gaining full access.

Why is Derek Brown’s Driving Academy the best driving school in Calgary, AB? Because we’re passionate about helping people to learn how to drive! Whether you are just starting, need a refresher course, or changing careers and learning to drive a truck, we’re here to help you! Call today to learn more about our online driving course!

Why All Season Tires Don’t Cut it For Alberta Winters

“My all season tires are good enough.” This sentence is often heard, even during Calgary winters while we fight the snowy weather on our missions to get where we’re going.

However, anyone who has experienced the benefits of winter tires knows the truth: All season tires, despite the name, are not good enough for all seasons. Most certainly not Calgary’s seasons.

“All season tires” should really be read like this:

“All season* tires (* seasonal flexibility refers to wet and dry seasons, not hot and cold.)”

This is something we tell students a lot at our Calgary driving school. This is because the defining feature of an “all season” tire is the tread patterns, which are designed to prevent hydroplaning on wet roads.

Continue reading “Why All Season Tires Don’t Cut it For Alberta Winters”

Cars driving on a snowy highway.

Defensive Driving for Winter Weather

Some days, it seems like a lot of the drivers we share the road with are getting more and more “unpredictable”.

From parking on sidewalks and stopping for pedestrians in the pedestrian crosswalk to weaving all over the road in high-speed traffic (and any other example you can think of), it seems like we sometimes commute alongside some fairly erratic drivers.

And that’s not even taking the weather into account!

Bring in some cold and snowy weather, and these erratic drivers become even worse. What was an everyday danger on the road now becomes a veritable hazard.

That driver up ahead who drifted into the middle of 2 lanes while looking at his phone? He’s now in an uncontrolled slide across your path, headed straight into the vehicle driving to your far right. You and every other vehicle nearby are at risk of a serious collision.

Continue reading “Defensive Driving for Winter Weather”

Six Winter Driving Tips

Use our winter driving tips on this snowy street in Calgary.

As Canadians, we like to think that we have winter driving mastered. But one look at the accident statistics after a fresh snowfall tells us otherwise. Even for those of us who have attended (or even operate) a driving school, Calgary roads can be treacherous after a fresh snowfall.

For example, this past Christmas Eve saw approx. 4cms (1.5 inches) of snow fall within a 12 hour period of time.[1] The result? Over 300 vehicular accidents throughout Southern Alberta.[2]

With this in mind, we at Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving thought it might be a good idea to write a blog post about driving safely in the winter.

Continue reading “Six Winter Driving Tips”

A Brief History of Seatbelts

The original seatbelt was invented in 1885 as a way to keep people being raised or lowered off the ground safe.  In 1911, Benjamin Fouilous attached one to his saddle while riding his horse.  If you’re thinking “that seems like it might backfire”, you may be right, but innovation has to start somewhere.  Things really picked up in the 1950s when Dr. Hunter Shelden helped create the retractable seatbelt.  This technology was debuted in cars by the Swedish company Saab.  I know, quite the Saab Story.

Continue reading “A Brief History of Seatbelts”

Seatbelt Use Around the World

seatbeltSeatbelt use is more popular in some countries than others.  It is hard to pin down the exact reasons for this difference.  Some people think the differences might have to do with education. Some people think different attitudes to safety or driving cause the issue. Some people think there is a difference in the number of seatbelts in vehicles that create the difference. A lack of education might be a good bet though.  It seems as though some people have assumptions about wearing seat belts that do not hold up to the facts.
One myth is that it isn’t necessary to wear a seatbelt if you are sitting in the back seat.  This is not true and a dangerous assumption according to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In fact, more people are injured who sit in the backseat for the sole reason that they are less likely to wear a seatbelt.  Countries like Japan and Italy see a significant drop off when comparing front seatbelt usage and backseat.  Japan’s drops from 98% to 68%, and Italy drops from 64% to 10%.   Canadians, on the other hand, should be proud! Canada and Germany are the countries who do best with seatbelt compliance.  In Canada, 92% wear their seatbelt in the front seat and 85% in the backseat.  In Germany, 94% of people wear seatbelts in the front seat, and 90% of the time in the backseat.

Maybe an education campaign about backseat seatbelt use would be helpful in the countries that have poor compliance.  Or maybe the law should step in and make it illegal to travel in a vehicle without a seatbelt.

How to Prepare for a Driving Test

Some Simple Effective Hints

Photo of teen girl taking driving test to get drivers license

Driving tests can be really stressful experiences.  Here are some tips to help you get through your driving test and on the road!

First thing to remember is that there’s a written portion to the driver’s test.  Your local registry or DMV have booklets to help you study.  In Alberta, a learner’s license is called a class 7.  You can also go online to the Government of Alberta website for the booklet and practice tests. Remember to not take the written portion of the test lightly, if you fail you’ll often have a waiting period before you can take the test again, and you’ll be out the testing fee.  If you have a friend or parent to help you study, have them quiz you over the rules of the road, so you know that you’re prepared for the test.

Depending on where you live, you’ll usually have to get a learner’s permit or have some sort of driver’s education before you can take the test.  Look on your local DMV’s web site to see what kind of steps are necessary in getting a license.

Next, sign up for a beginners driving course and in-vehicle lessons with an excellent and experienced driving school like Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving.  You’ll learn from experts who know everything you need to know to become a safe and skillful driver and pass your your driving test with ease.

First start with experts, and then practice, practice, practice.  In between classes get extra practice.  Do you have a friend or a family member that is really calm behind the wheel?  Have them teach you how to drive.  People who feel calm and collected on the road and in traffic, will help you stay calm and collected in traffic.

Make sure to practice in all sorts of driving scenarios.  You’ll need to learn how to drive on the highway, freeway, in busy traffic, at night, and in any other scenario you can think of before you’ll be confident on the road.

Remember to practice your parking.  Here, again, it’s good to have a knowledgeable friend or family member help you out.  Do you know someone that pulls into a parking spot perfect every time?  Have them help you learn how to park.

Remember to remain calm about driving.  If you need more practice to be calm and safe on the road, that is perfectly okay.  Do not feel like you have to prove anything on the road.  Driving is for getting from point A to point B safely, that is it.

At a quality Calgary driving school like Derek Brown’s Academy of Driving, we have driving classes, in vehicle and simulator training that will make getting a driver’s license much easier.

How to Drive with Cyclists

City bikersCycling has become much more popular in recent years.  Bike lanes are being added to the streets of a lot of cities as lots of people hop on the bike to head into work, rather than take their car or public transportation.  But many of us never learned how to drive with cyclists next to us in a manner that allows both you and the cyclist to remain safe.  Here are some tips for driving around cyclists.

You should always be conscientious of opening your door when you’re exiting onto the street, especially if it is in a bike lane.  Cyclists often get surprised by doors on the street or in bike lanes and cannot avoid hitting them.  So, in order to preserve their bike and person and your car door, always take a look in your mirror and behind you before exiting.  Honestly though, you should really be doing this anyway as to avoid being taken out by a car.

Make sure to think about how you are going to pass a cyclist.  Nobody expects you to drive the whole time behind a cyclists doing 15, but you do have to wait until it’s a good idea to pass.  Ask yourself if there’s enough space, if there’s a stop coming up that will make it so you have to pass the cyclist multiple times, and whether the cyclist is aware of where you are in relation to them.

Just like with pedestrains in a cross walk, try to make eye contact with them so you know that they see you and you see them.  Never assume anything about the cyclist’s knowledge of you and your surroundings.

That said, you’ve probably made assumptions about how cyclists will behave on the road, and cyclists do the same to you.  So do you best to drive predictably to increase the odds that the cyclist will make the right assumption about your driving.

Try to be in the know about your locations laws about driving around cyclists.  If you do get into an accident with a cyclist and found to be at fault, that could lead to a lot more problems in your life.

If you aren’t a cyclist, talk to a cyclist buddy about what it is like to be on the road with cars.  It may give you a new perspective about what it means to share the road.

These are just some of the our driving school’tips for driving around cyclists.  Always remember to stay safe and viligant on the road.