[NOTE: This is one of several posts on teaching refugees to drive. To access the others, click on the "driver education" label in the box below.]
Hurrah! I just had a refugee pass his road test and get his license. He is now able to legally get behind the wheel of an automobile, cruise up and down the road and get to work, any school he wishes and other places all on his own!! And do so LEGALLY!! (I have mentioned in passing that it is a real problem among refugees that they often buy cars and drive them around without bothering to get a license. Why in the world NEw York State lets people buy and insure cars with just a learner's permit I do not know and I have indeed complained about it to the highest authorities that I can get to listen to me. Oh well, this one passed and waited to get his license! Hurrah! Hurrah!
My system seems to work. Here it is again,:
1) Assume they know nothing about road rules. They probably have not read the DMV book and don't consider it important.
2) Teach them what's in the road book and do it in language they can understand.
3) THEN teach them to drive. (REMEMBER! It is a good rule of teaching that you should not test people on things they do not know or that you have not taught them. The problem is judging what they do and do not know. Refugees have a completely different background than most people on the road and therefore must be taught starting at a completely different level of knowledge than someone raised in America and around cars and traffic.)
4) Emphasize to them that the most important thing at a road test is that they make the tester feel safe.
There are resources to help you do this. The Department of Motor Vehicles has some. I recommended a book in a different post. (USE THE LABELS AND GO FIND IT, PLEASE.) And, finally, AAA (the American Automobile Association) has many good driver instruction materials available to its members.
These include a book, a pamphlet and many other materials including a CD-ROM disk that you can play on your computer and that gives people tests aimed at observing conditions and traffic signals and understanding laws and such. You may have to push a little to get them from AAA as they don't publicize that they have this stuff terribly well. Therefore ask, tell them you've heard about it elsewhere and eventually they should put you in touch with someone who can help you. (At least that was the case with AAA Chapter. BTW, I like AAA, I even used to work for them, but to really get the most from AAA and not be disappointed, then you have to understand what the organization is and how it works and what it is that you, as a member, are paying for.)
Anyway, enough for now. Read the other posts and if you have questions please e-mail me at this blog.
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