Summer is fast approaching, which means students will soon be making decisions regarding summer classes, including driver’s education classes, which are available for all area students through the Sedalia School District 200.
Instructor Mike Robertson said the class typically has about 40 students who spend 20 days learning the basics of driving, with instruction on everything from how to use cruise control to how to enter and exit a four-lane highway.
“The whole intent is to give them as much exposure as we can to certain types of situations. There’s no way we can cover all situations in just six times of driving, but we talk about different things that go on in the classroom,” he said. “We’ve had kids that don’t know how to put the key in the ignition, and we had to teach them about the heat gauge, the speedometer. We’ve also had some that are knowledgeable, and we had to break some bad habits.”
The classroom portion will cover the Missouri Driver’s Guide during the first three days, which Robertson said is helpful to those who take the class before getting their driver’s permit.
“We study it cover to cover,” he said. “We encourage students to get their permit after those three days if they haven’t already, because they’ll never know it better than after those three days. There’s a high success rate after that.”
There will also be presentations from the Sedalia Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, a testing center examiner, and a young woman who was in a severe vehicle accident a few years ago.
Students will also drive with an instructor, either Robertson or Ashley Young, six times throughout the course, thanks to two donated cars from Williams-Woody Nissan. Each driving session will progress from the previous one, depending on how the student is doing. The first drive begins with driving in town through residential areas, a later drive involves driving on a four-lane highway, and the final drive will be similar to the test required to obtain a driver’s license. This includes parallel parking near the police station, which Robertson said helps with motivation to do well.
Overall, Robertson said the goal is to “put a safer teenager on the roadway here in Sedalia.”
The class runs from June 2 to June 27 from 10 to 11:35 a.m. in the auditorium at Smith-Cotton Junior High, for a total of about 30 hours of classroom time. Driving sessions will be made by appointment for each student.
Applications are available online at sedalia200.org or in the counselor’s office at Smith-Cotton Junior High and High School. There is no set deadline to return applications, but Robertson said they’d like to have all applications received by the end of May before classes begin June 2. Cost is $180. Students must be at least 15 years old, a driver’s permit is not required, and the classes are open to all students, not just those in the Sedalia district.