Driver’s Ed DVDs
The practice of creating videos to educate teens about the dangers of driving began in the late 1950s. These documentaries largely focused on the carnage and gore of auto crashes. Their primary purpose was to scare teens into driving more safely as opposed to offering actual instruction.
The DVDs we’ve chosen to review below offer a lot in terms of instruction and illustration of driving practices. Some include some pretty cool interactive features. We believe that these DVDs are a great addition to your overall teaching strategy.
When learning a skill that’s as dangerous as learning to drive, you should offer as much information to your teen as possible. Obviously, you should spend a lot of time with your teen behind the wheel. If possible, buy them lessons with a professional driving instructor. The last thing you should do is only buy them a video, hope they watch it, and send them off into the open road.
Rules of the Road is a multi-award-winning DVD that uses a blend of live-action and 3D animation as well as a host of interactive features to create a top-notch learning tool. In our opinion, The Rules of the Road is the premier driver’s ed DVD on the market today.
Features English and Spanish subtitles. Read full review…
Bottom line: This DVD is highly recommended. Solid information, good production values, and nifty features.
Price: $34.95 (discount via Vat19 coupons)
Running time: 105 minutes
Driver Ed To Go is an excellent driver’s ed DVD. It covers a ton of information and does so with high quality production values. Like The Rules of the Road, it features a few cheesy moments, but this is easy to forgive given the overall quality of the rest of the production.
Running time: Approx 100 minutes.
Bottom line: Solid instructional. Not as many interactive features as Rules of the Road and the wise-cracking instructor may or may not be your cup of tea.
The AAA has a fantastic reputation for automotive safety. And while that reputation definitely earns them huge points when it comes to a driver’s ed DVD, I still can’t overlook the fact that these videos are, to put it plainly, pretty plain.
First of all, each volume is simply a collection of previously released videos from as early as 1992. So, while the information is top-notch, the program feels out-dated. With some of the other options that exist, I can’t recommend these videos as a first choice.
Price: $49.95 for each volume
Running time: Volume 1: 35 minutes | Volume 2: 70 minutes
Bottom line: Not a necessary purchase.
Driver-Zed is an excellent driver awareness program that we recommend to any teen learning to drive. This product is produced and sold by AAA and despite their underwhelming set of Driver Education DVDs (see above), they really smacked this one out of the park. However, please note that this program will only work on a computer as it is a piece of software. This is not like a “regular” DVD that can be watched on your television. Apple fans, you’re out of luck, too. Driver-Zed will only work on a PC.
Running time: N/A. Includes 100 live-action situations.
Bottom line: Excellent tool. Highly recommended.
Driver Ed in a Box is more than just a DVD. In fact, its video content is fairly limited (and not extremely well-produced). Where Driver Ed in a Box scores well is in its well-informed textbook and manual for parents. As opposed to sticking to teaching teenagers the rules of the road, Driver Ed in a Box is a curriculum for parents to use to teach their teenagers to drive.
The program is not very glossy, but the information is solid. Read full review…
Bottom line: If you’re looking for certification in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, or Minnesota, this may be the product for you. If you’re looking for an easy-to-digest program for your teenager, Driver Ed in a Box is not what you’re looking for.
This DVD is quite different from the others in the round-up in that its goal is not to teach the “rules of the road” or any specific driving maneuvers. Its purpose is to teach what it calls “intelligent driving”. Although never specifically defined, our best guess as to what this means is having a thorough understanding of how your car is going to respond to specific driving input.
The Art of Intelligent Driving explains what happens when you accelerate, brake, and turn. It teaches you to use this information to drive more safely. However, the less-than-stellar production values and over-emphasis on manual transmission cars may be a turn-off to some.
Running time: 93 minutes
Bottom line: Optional purchase for parents-as-teachers, but recommended to driver’s ed instructors.
Available from: The Art of Intelligent Driving