DRIVING SCHOOL IS WHERE YOUR LICENCE IS AT

14.01.2021

How to get a driving licence – instruction permit, driving school or a combination of both? When deciding, you should take into account that driving school provides ‘the full package’ with efficiency and safety – and for less than before. Our customers’ experiences speak for themselves.

While the change in driving licence legislation took effect already in 2018, many are still unaware of the new policies. The perception of the changes may be dominated by the previously considerable difference in price between driving school and learning with a driving instruction permit. That no longer holds true. Learning with an instruction permit is, in practice, a combination of driving education at a driving school and supervised driving practice under an instruction permit.

“The change brought down the price of driving education by a lot, as pricing was made simpler and the further instruction steps were eliminated. Today, the cost of learning basic driving skills is about the same in driving school and in learning with an instruction permit,” says Sampsa Lindberg, head of HR and community relations at CAP Driving School.

Added momentum to re-thinking driving education

Taking a passenger car driving licence at CAP Driving School can cost as little as 900 euro. Still, there’s more at issue in getting a driving licence than just money.

“Driving school is an easy, fast and safe high-quality way of learning basic driving skills. As an ‘all-inclusive’ driving school, we provide the full package and an organic learning path complete with driving lessons and theory studies under the guidance of highly professional instructors,” notes managing director Olli Kilpi.

Both Kilpi and Lindberg consider it only positive that those planning to get a driving licence have a range of options to choose from these days. The change in legislation, radical as it was, has also added positive momentum to the development of the entire industry and the adoption of new approaches.

Focus on students’ personal capacity

The decline in the cost of driving education at driving schools comes from fewer required hours of instruction and fewer stages of driving education. The decrease in mandatory driving practice hours and the chance to complete theory studies online at one’s own pace highlight the role of the student.

“Driving school is no longer about a certain number of hours of sitting at a desk learning theory or in a car practicing how to drive. The modern learning environment underscores the personal learning capacity of each student and their commitment to learning, both in terms of theory and driving practice,” Lindberg says.

The new legislation also has customers re-thinking their plans. A survey conducted by CAP Driving School in spring 2020 indicated that more than half of those learning with a driving instruction permit were seriously considering driving school.

Environmentally friendly simulator

Simulator instruction is a part of the modern approach to driving education. CAP Driving School students have already clocked nearly three million simulated driving kilometres, which has saved around 200,000 litres of fuel and thus reduced CO2 emissions by 500,000 kg.

“The driving simulator is a modern and ecological way to learn the basic principles of driving and to come to understand traffic environments and their settings and rules in a controlled manner. While all our driving school cars are low-emission vehicles, the simulator is a zero-emission option,” Kilpi says.

“With the simulator, students learn to anticipate situations in an experiential environment. They can also learn how to deal with risks you don’t usually see in the context of everyday driving and regular driving lessons. The simulator is also a leveller in terms of differences between towns. Still, after learning the basic skills on a simulator, it is important to put these skills into practice in real life, by driving in traffic with an instructor,” Lindberg adds.

Options to suit all needs

Kilpi remarks how today, driving instruction need not be an either/or decision. “We want to provide our customers with options that suit their particular needs – either turnkey solution, or just the elements desired.”

If for no other reason than family harmony, driving school may be a smart choice. Obtaining an instruction permit also involves a certain amount of expense and effort, as it requires taking instruction at a driving school, outfitting the family car for driving education, and buying the necessary learning materials.

“The driving exam measures the newly minted driver’s skills and capacity. It’s wise to keep on practicing driving with a family member before venturing out alone, though,” both Kilpi and Lindberg comment.

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“Driving school was the right choice for me”, Veeti and Virpi Mehtälä

Nivala resident Veeti Pirttilahti (aged 18) got his licence in June 2020. Just four months later, he’s already put well over 10,000 km on the odometer. Initially, he intended to learn with an instruction permit but in the end opted for driving school.

”The instruction permit was taking a long time and we have a CAP Driving School right next door, so I walked in and signed up. In the end, I only did four hours of driving practice under the permit and all the rest at driving school,” Veeti says.

“Passed the driving test with flying colours”

Driving instructor Juha Lehto estimated the hours of practice driving required and Veeti also signed up for personal theory instruction. “For me, learning onsite was far easier than learning online.”

With a sufficient number of driving practice hours under his belt, Veeti passed his driving test with flying colours. Now he is an enthusiastic designated driver whenever grandparents, siblings or friends need a lift. He is equally comfortable with manual and automatic transmission.

“Driving gives you a sense of freedom. Plus, everyone seems more than happy to have me drive them around,” Veeti laughs.

“Good and conscientious driver”

Veeti’s mum Virpi Mehtälä is also happy. “We got the best service and I can recommend CAP Driving School to anyone. With our instructor Juha, everything always went without a hitch.”

“Veeti is a very good and conscientious driver even though he’s only been driving for a few months. The proper amount of high-quality driving education from a driving school professional has given him the confidence to feel comfortable behind the wheel. Veeti’s licence has been a big help to the entire family,” Virpi says.

Veeti Pirttilahti chose to go with CAP Driving School – it provided him with a trusted professional and a suite of services compatible with his individual needs.

Veeti Pirttilahti chose to go with CAP Driving School – it provided him with a trusted professional and a suite of services compatible with his individual needs. (photo: Juha Lehto)

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“Great big Thank You to driving school”

A period sent abroad as an au pair had Anne Hihnala (b. 1975) miss out on getting a driving licence at the usual age of 18. She felt no particular urge to get behind the wheel and when life later on once again took her away from Finland, there simply was no need to learn how to drive.

”It was only a couple of years ago, with the encouragement of friends and family, that I suddenly came to want to learn to drive. Being temporarily laid off from the tourism industry due to COVID-19 meant I had the time. The roads in my small home town of Kalajoki were all but empty so I figured, it’s now or never.”

”Taking a spin round the sand dunes of Kalajoki”

At first, the idea was that Anne’s spouse of the time would teach her how to drive. “Well, you can guess how that turned out. All I got out of that experiment was a feeling that I would never learn.”

”My age and previous experiences weighed on me when I walked through the doors of CAP Driving School. Although I was anxious, I was met with a sense of 'Sure, absolutely we can help you get your licence.’”

And get it she did, in May 2020. Anne passed her driving test on the first go and had a car ready and waiting. Once the initial jitters passed, the new driver felt a huge sense of accomplishment. “It really was grand, driving around the Kalajoki dunes in the summer. Had to give myself a proper pat on the back.”

”Age is no barrier”

Anne heaps praise on her driving instructor Henna-Mari Heikkinen, whose calm demeanour and professionalism served to bring down the fear factor involved in driving.

”Henna-Mari had faith in my driving abilities from the get-go. Learning with an instructor who was plain-spoken, patient and laid back with a sense of humour was great fun.”

Many mature students may be wary of driving education but Anne has words of encouragement to offer. “There is no need to be shy. Grown-ups have the kind of common sense that young people may lack. My friends, all in their late forties, are not yelling at me from the back seat to put the pedal to the metal,” Anne remarks with a smile.

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5 reasons to choose driving school

  1. Affordability and clarity of pricing
  2. Efficiency and quality
  3. Modern and ecological simulator instruction
  4. Online instruction in driving theory and e-learning environment
  5. Designated instructor in charge of driving education