Wednesday, 17 July 2019 09:02 am 

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Raasveld Driving School

During a recent interview with the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Chronicle we were asked and responded to the following questions:

What are some of the challenges facing your business?

As our community grows and diversifies we are met with the challenge of keeping pace with it. Additionally, as laws change, we must keep our instructors and students abreast of theses changes.

Describe some of the elements that makes your business successful?

The first and most important element that makes our business a success is the students we teach. We have a passion for what we do and who we work with. We are eager to see them become safe drivers. We teach teens who are just entering their journey into driving and well as assisting adults reinstate or restore their license after having lost it because of driving deficiencies. We give each student our very best from the time they enter the class until they receive their final in-car training appointment. We do this by going beyond what is "just expected" or required.

Additionally, our classroom environment makes up an element of our success. It is a inviting, warm, and friendly place to learn. Everyone is always welcome and made to feel at home. Delivery of our curriculum leans towards a college style while also being available for those with special learning abilities. Our students are treated with respect and taught responsibility. As a "Right of Passage" our students, upon completion write their name on our "Wall of Fame" Many students come back from time to time to check on the progress of the wall and to look for familiar signatures.

What are your business goals?

Our main goal is to provide high quality driver's education and driver's training classes as cost effective as possible and to preform this service with integrity in a timely and professional manner.

We also strive to keep our training on the "cutting edge" in terms of teaching and training techniques.

How did you start your business?

Our business started approx. 10 years ago when the owner, Jim Raasveld, retired from a 17 year career with the Corona Police Department after sustaining a knee injury. Because of his law enforcement training, he felt that he had something to offer. Being trained in defensive driving and teaching other officers, he transferred his knowledge to this field. After meeting all the DMV requirements we were licensed and began as a one person business. The business has since grown to five instructors operating four driver's training vehicles. We serve the students in our valley and have trained and qualified instructors for other driving schools in the area.

1. How long is the course?

Teens : Driver's Education is approx. 25 - 30 hrs. Accomplished in 3 days.

Driver's Training is 6 hours. Accomplished in three 2 hour sessions.

Adults: Training varies depending on needs because the classes are not required for adults.

2. What is taught? What do students learn?

Classroom: Involves but is not limited to: The hwy. system, vehicle controls, rules of the road, basic vehicle operation, time/space management, natural laws, sharing the road, avoiding road rage, driving in bad weather, vehicle maintenance, alcohol & drug issues.

In Car Training:

Steering, right turns, left turns, stopping & starting, driving in traffic, lane changes, 3 point turns, starting on a hill, backing straight, parking spaces, night driving, parallel parking, freeway driving and parking at and leaving the curb.

3. What is required to pass?

Class attendance, participation and acceptable assignment scores are what is needed to complete classroom training. The in car training is just that. We train, we don't examine. The written examination and driving examination is administered by examiners at the DMV.

4. Most common driving problems?

For teens, right turns and stopping/starting smoothly seem to be a challenge. For our seniors looking over their shoulders before changing lanes can be challenging.

5. Do they learn in an automatic or stick?

We only train in automatic vehicles. It seems to be easier to learn with an automatic vehicle then transition later to a stick shift.

6. How do you overcome student's fears and first time jitters?

Our instructors are very patient with the students. They take on a "coaching" approach rather than a "demanding instructor." We like to challenge our students, however we will not push them beyond what they are ready to do.

7. Is training one-on -one or are other students in the car?

All training is one-on-one. Instructor/Student. Two of our instructors are also bilingual.

8. How are your instructors trained (by you)?

Our instructors go through a 60 hour training class (40 hrs. classroom/20 hrs. in car). Our instructors are trained by us as we are licensed by DMV to train instructors. Once trained, they receive a certificate and go to a DMV filed office to be tested.

9. How rigid is state certification for instructors?

Instructors must pass a 120 question written examination on rules of the road, administrative issues, first aid, basic vehicle mechanics and teaching techniques. If they pass they are required to take a driving test with a DMV examiner. They must also pass a medical examination and a background investigation including fingerprints. If all is satisfactory, they are issued a Driving Instructor License. The license must be renewed every 3 years and continuing professional education is required throughout the 3 years.

10. Have young drivers attitudes changed over the years?

With recent changes in the law and teen licensing restrictions teens are more experienced when they actually get their license. In speaking with examiners at the DMV. It is believed that more teen pass their driving examination the first time because of the 6 month waiting period.

- more aggressive driving?

I feel that most teens by nature are going to be bigger risk-takers and feel the need to push themselves and the cars they are driving to the limit. Movies like "The Fast and the Furious" peek the interest of teens and possibly promote aggressive driving. In order to address this, on the last day of class a police officer comes into our class as a guest speaker and talks about road rage and aggressive driving.

- less attentive?

Driver's today are less attentive and more distracted. With cellular phone usage and music systems the driver is constantly being distracted. We teach students to manage their distractions and not to be managed by them.