Is every company selling online drivers ed selling the same thing?
Is there a reason to pick one versus another?
Should you just get the cheapest drivers ed you can find?
Since we have been in the Driver’s Education space for a while, the answer to us is very clearly “No”!
From the outside, however, we get that all the providers can pretty much look the same. We will break down the differences and let you know which online drivers ed providers are great and which you shouldn’t even consider.
TLDR: Use Aceable if it available in your state. Use DriversEd.com if Aceable isn’t operating where you live.
Some major areas to consider:
1) Legality – Is the course legit? Can it be used in your state?
2) Course Quality – How good is the content? Is it entertaining? Will you ace your driver’s ed exams?
3) Product Delivery – Can you take the course on every device? What is the experience? Does it include extras?
4) Customer Support – Will the company be there if something goes wrong? Will they pick up the phone and solve the problem for you?
From a legal standpoint, not all course providers are authorized to offer a course in every state. DriversEd.com (also called IDriveSafely.com) is currently the largest provider, offering drivers ed in 17 states. The second largest is American Safety Council which operates about a dozen brands in 11 states. The third largest, but fastest growing, is Aceable.com which operates in 8 states. These are the “Big Three” providers in the online drives ed space. While there are a number of national and regional alternatives, like Comdedy Defensive Driving and VirtualDriveOfTexas.com, we do not generally recommend them. These second-tier providers offer a worse product that most students regret using.
If you use one of the big three, you can feel confident that your course is fully legal and has been used by hundreds of thousands of other students. The state will accept your course work and you won’t have any hassles getting your permit and license.
The next thing to consider is the quality of the course itself. All state-regulated courses have to cover the same topics for the same amount of time. As an example, in California, each course must spend 10 minutes covering the proper procedure for driving during an earthquake. How the course presents that information and how they ensure you retain it is up to them. They could show a graphic, they could create a video or they could have text. In this category there are two clear winners; Aceable and DriversEd.com.
Prior to 2018, Aceable was your only option if you wanted a course written in the last decade. However, because Aceable upped the standard with new graphics, videos, comedy and a keen writing style, DriversEd.com was forced to respond and start updating their content. But lets be honest here, Aceable has invested heavily in top-quality writers and DriversEd is playing catch up. DriversEd.com has added lots of new videos, but they don’t really try to be funny or engaging. The clear winner here is Aceable. Yes, some of their “funny” jokes will make you groan out loud, but they are actually doing that for a reason. They have mastered how to keep your attention AND make you remember everything you need to crush your driving exam.
Oh, and if you think Improve Traffic School and their “comedy” drivers ed program deserve a place up here, think again. Their jokes are so bad and dated they will make you want to stab your eyes out. Unless of course you like horrible impressions of Seinfeld characters from 20 years ago. They even went so far as to make a rip-off of Aceable’s robot “Ace” character. That should tell you everything you need to know. Avoid.
So its 2018 and everyone should have an app right? Welp, think again, some online drivers ed providers don’t even have a mobile-friendly website, let alone an app.
In our mind, you need to be able to take your course on your laptop, tablet and on your phone with an App to be a competent offering these days. If you can’t knock out some a chapter on the bus what it the point, right? Although American Safety Council claims to be mobile friendly, taking their course on a small screen is pretty painful. Your two standouts here are, again, Aceable and DriversEd.com, both of them deliver a seamless experience allowing you to jump from desktop to mobile to tablet without missing a beat. Again, we give a slight edge here to Aceable because they really are mobile-first. Their content, quizzes and video were all designed to be used on a phone first and not adjusted from desktop like DriversEd.com. Aceable also offers free audio downloads.
So what happens when something goes wrong? There can be technical glitches or questions about paperwork and you need someone to help. This is one more reason we strongly recommend taking a course with the Big Three. In all cases, you will be able to chat or call their support line during most business hours. With Aceable, you will find they have evening and weekend hours too! In fact, Aceable is so customer friendly we have heard they frequently get on 3-way conference calls with the DMV/DPS to sort out any issues that pop up. When was the last time you heard of a company volunteering to deal with the DMV?
If it was our son or daughter taking drivers ed tomorrow, there would be no question they would be taking Aceable. From content to support they have this thing on lock-down. If it sounds like I am gushing about Aceable, it’s because I am. I firmly believe they are creating better drivers than the competition. However, they only operate in 8 states right now. If you live in a state where they are not available, your best bet is DriversEd.com.