Remember when Sears stores used to offer drivers training courses? Those were simpler times! Now that most local Sears stores have closed and some high schools no longer offer driver training courses, how do you prepare your teen for the rules of the road?

I remember spending a large chunk of my valuable summertime sitting in the last place any teenage wants to sit: the classroom. I received my drivers education through Allegan High School and I'm still here to tell the tale!

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I hate to even admit this, but during what was supposed to be my final drivers training session of the course our my instructor took my partner and I to downtown Kalamazoo. For those who aren't familiar, downtown Kalamazoo is full of one ways and is very confusing. I ended up turning the wrong way onto what I assumed was a one way-- it was not. My instructor was convinced I was such a bad driver that he insisted I take an additional session just to prove that I could handle driving. It wasn't me, it was confusing Kalamazoo, I swear!

Even worse, when I was living in Missouri I learned that drivers education is not required in that state. If you're lucky enough to get into a driving school and pass your courses your parents at least get a discount on car insurance, but the majority of drivers in the state of Missouri literally do not know the rules of the road. How bizarre!

Due to numerous cutbacks and shortages many area schools are no longer offering drivers training. Here are 4 local driving schools to prepare your future young driver:

L&L Driving School - Plainwell

To attend the school all students must be between the ages of 14 years 8 months to 18 years old. L&L says they are, "Dedicated to teaching our teens how to drive in a safe and highly structured environment." They also have locations in Schoolcraft, Sturgis, Three Rivers, and Vicksburg. Segment I classes are booked through May but there's availability starting in June. $380 for Segment I. $60 for Segment II.

Short Stop Driving School - Paw Paw

In addition to their Paw Paw location, Short Stop serves the communities of Niles, Brandywine, Buchanan, and Dowagiac. Students must be at least 14 years 8 month before the start of class. Students must be prepared to drive anytime between the hours of 3:00-7:00 p.m. but instructor Tony Short offers pick up and drop off from home or school! That's convenient. $400 for Segment I. $100 for Segment II.

E-Z Way Driver Training - Kalamazoo

This drivers training school offers 26 hours of classroom learning and 6 hours of driving during Segment I sessions. E-Z Way has four locations in Kalamazoo, Jackson, Battle Creek, Van Buren, and also offers online classes through Zoom! Although Segment I classes are booked through April, there is limited availability in May and the rest of the summer classes are wide open. E-Z Way also offers adult drivers lessons too! $380 for Segment I and $65 for Segment II.

Official Driving School - Portage

Formerly known as the Sears Driving School, Official has over 60 locations in Michigan. Though the name has changed the school says, "As always, the goal of Official Driving School is to make your children officially ready for the road, and we promise to be official, compliant and trustworthy in everything we do." Official Driving School offers classes for teen drivers, adult drivers, and those that may need special accommodations as well. $450 Segment I and a possible free Segment II course included.

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