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The advantages of taking the theoretical driving course at an actual driving school

Here’s why it’s worth the time and the expense
PHOTO: Anthon De Los Santos

Remember the days when anyone could get a driver’s license without taking any driving classes or without knowing how to drive in the first place? That’s the problem that the Land Transportation Office was aiming to address when it imposed new requirements for license applicants.

Among the new student permit requirements, in particular, is the completion of a 15-hour Theoretical Driving Course (TDC). Newbie drivers can choose to complete this in a physical setup or online, and can pay to attend classes at accredited driving schools or take them for free at LTO Driver’s Education Centers.

Last month, I got the chance to take my TDC at A-1 Driving School. I needed this to be able to retake my driving test—which I failed a few years before the pandemic—and honestly, the 15 hours went by like a breeze.

Feeling skeptical about spending money on a face-to-face course that you can take for free? Based on my experience, here are the advantages of attending physical TDC sessions at an accredited driving school:

1) You’re in an actual class.

Illustration of road signs at a driving school classroom in the Philippines

Obviously, driving schools are...well, schools. They have classrooms and you get to feel the atmosphere of being in a class with other soon-to-be-driving hopefuls. It’s an environment that’s conducive to learning.

2) You are less prone to distractions.

I’m a graduating student, so I’m not exaggerating when I say that online classes are really boring. During the physical TDC classes at A-1, phones are required to be on silent, and students are expected to focus on the discussions.

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3) You’re guided by an instructor.

Instead of listening to people on a screen, driving schools have trained instructors who will walk you through every aspect of motoring that you need to learn—road signs, penalties, rules and regulations, even the enforcement of driving laws, and so on. In my case, our instructor gave insights on how different scenarios could play out on the road—something you don’t necessarily pick up from just reading modules.

4) You can ask about all possible road scenarios you can think of.

Most of us have seen accidents and incidents of road rage as passengers or observers, and you’ve probably wondered who’s really at fault in certain situations. Driving school instructors are professionals, so they’re well-equipped to answer these questions you might have been pondering on.

5) You’re going there for a purpose.

Your attendance is recorded, and if you don’t attend your classes, then you’ll fail the TDC and will be required to re-enroll. But more than that, the essence of the course is to instill road discipine and responsibility in newbie drivers, whether they’re behind the wheel of a vehicle or not.

6) Your certificate feels rewarding to receive.

Going to physical TDC classes demands more time and effort on your part, but you’ll actually learn a lot through your instructor and the learning materials provided. Upon receiving your certificate at the end of the course, you get to feel like you’ve finally completed the first step toward becoming a full-fledged driver—which is gratifying in and of itself.

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PHOTO: Anthon De Los Santos
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