For Teens

Frequently Asked Questions

How old must I be to start a driver education program?
You must be 16 years old to begin any driver education program.

When can I get a driver’s license?
In order to obtain a driver’s license a student must have completed a full program of driver’s education
(30 classroom hours and 8 hours on-road) and had a learner’s permit for at least 120 days.
– OR –
You must have completed a 8-hour classroom program on safe driving practices and had a learner’s permit for at least 180 days.

What is a learner’s permit and how do I get one?
All new drivers in Connecticut under the age of 18 must obtain a learner’s permit before they can practice driving on the road. You can get a permit at most DMVs and you will need to make a appointment prior showing up. Appointments can be made through the DMV website.

To obtain a permit you must:

• Be at least 16 years old
• Pay the permit fee
• Pass vision test and written test on laws

When you apply for the learner’s permit you must bring with you all of the documentation currently required for licensing. In addition to the required fee:

  • Have a certified birth certificate and one other form of identification. See the DMV law manual for acceptable forms of ID. (School ID is NOT one.)
  • Show proof of residency. This can be some mail received by applicant at their home address. (P.O. Box addresses will not be accepted).
  • Parental consent is required. If someone other than a parent accompanies the student, a notarized parental consent form is required. A notarized parental consent form is always required when getting a permit through the driving school.
  • Bring a photograph of yourself. This is for identification purposes, so you cannot be wearing a hat or sunglasses in the photograph. You do not get this photo back.
  • Have your social security number. (If you are using your signed Social Security card as one form of identification, the card cannot be laminated.)

As of August 1, 2008 , the test for getting a permit test is longer than it had been in the past. You will take a 25 question test and you must get at least 20 answers correct to pass the test. The DMV Driver Manual is available on the DMV website as well as several practice tests. You are more than welcome to start a driver education prior to taking the permit test but it is not required.

If a student takes a full program of driver’s education, a learner’s permit must be held for a minimum of 120 days before the applicant can take the road test. Without the full program, the required period for a learner’s permit is 180 days.

A certified driver education course consists of THIRTY HOURS of classroom instruction, plus EIGHT HOURS of on-the-road training.

Can I start a driver’s education program before I get a learner’s permit?
You can and should start a driver education program before you take your permit test. We recommend completing a few chapters of theory before you take your permit test.

How does RIDGEFIELD DRIVING SCHOOL arrange the classroom hours?
RIDGEFIELD DRIVING SCHOOL operates via a rolling, structured schedule. This means that we teach specific chapters on specific days and time slots. Students work through a very structured program consisting of textbook, workbook, tests, videos and classroom instruction.

Students are welcome to attend all* hours on any given week, or none, depending on what their schedule can accommodate. Missing classes never interrupts the progression through the program, nor do missed classes result in repetition of material.

* State law limits the number of classroom hours a student can attend on any one day. On a day when public schools are in session, a student can do no more than 2 hours of driver’s education classroom, and on a day when schools are not in session, the limit is 4 hours.

How are road training sessions scheduled?
On-road training begins after the student has finished four chapters of classroom material and has attended the Parent Class

All students are taught on our vehicle. (four door, automatic transmission sedans).   Ridgefield students are typically picked up and dropped off at their home or school. Students living outside of Ridgefield may also be picked up at their home, depending on how far away they live. Road lessons are individual. The student does not share the car with other students. The lesson is one student, an instructor, and a specific lesson plan for the session.

The eight hours of road training are spread over five training sessions. Four sessions last for 1 ½ hours and the final lesson is 2 hours.

  • Lesson 1 – BASIC DRIVING includes basic car control though all of the windy back roads of Ridgefield, Redding and Wilton.
  • Lesson 2 – INTERSECTIONS includes negotiation of lights, stop signs and unc0ntrolled intersections.
  • Lesson 3 – PARKING includes pull-in, parallel and reverse parking, as well as k-turns/3-point turns.
  • Lesson 4 – HIGHWAY DRIVING includes on ramps, exit ramps and lane changing on local highways
  • Lesson 5 – EVALUATION assesses the readiness of new driver in all aspects of the previous four lessons.

The instructor will issue a detailed summary of the lesson so that parents can see what skills were covered, how the student performed, and how practice at home should proceed.

Do I have to know how to drive when I start road training?
Students start road training with us at varying levels of experience. Some have never sat behind the wheel before, others have practiced for months with their parents. We will adjust our instruction accordingly. The more physical comfort level the student has with the car, the more they will get out of the road instruction. Our instruction is going to emphasize decision-making skills.

Who is required to attend the two-hour parent training class?
Parents of students who get a permit after August 1, 2008 are required to show proof of having attending a two-hour training session. We will offer this program on Saturday mornings at 8:00 . We ask that you reserve a space in this class ahead of time. Sign-up sheets will be posted in the classroom, and students will be required to attend with their parent.