In Alaska, drivers’ education is mandatory for all new drivers aged 14 or older, as means of developing their comfort with a car and an understanding of the traffic laws of the state. These programs are the first step for a new driver towards gaining a formal license with complete driving privileges, and therefore should not be taken lightly.
These education programs are offered in high school syllabi as an elective course you can choose, or by several private schools located across Alaska. You can enroll in any one as you please, but the first thing to make sure is that these programs are approved by the state. This is because completing your Alaska drivers’ education program will award you with a completion certificate, which is required by the Division of Motor Vehicles to grant you a license. A non-state approved program will train you, but their certificate may be ineligible for your license application.
There are two main components of an Alaska drivers’ education program, involving classroom learning and behind-the-wheel practice respectively. The class lectures are required to help you gain a better understanding of the various traffic laws of the state, and the penalties for violating them. They also cover topics in alcohol abuse and how to drive safely. Some courses offer additional training to help you identify and resolve basic mechanical issues with the vehicle.
The practical component of these courses starts by placing you in the passenger seat and observing a professional drive a car. You are then given the option to drive under supervision, and you learn how to maneuver the car safely from point A to point B. You also learn how to complete tasks like parking on a hill, parallel parking, negotiating intersections, and driving manual or automatic transmission. Because of the challenging conditions of Alaska’s roads, some courses spread out their training over a longer time in order to expose you to the various weather conditions. You gain more confidence as a driver, and are able to enter the roads more confidently.
Driving is a privilege that must be earned. Drivers’ education programs are the perfect opportunity for you to demonstrate that you will be responsible behind the wheel.