Gone are the days of learning to drive from your high school teacher in Driver’s Ed. Learning to drive is now delivered through private companies; and even though most Coronado teens can easily bike around town, many are anxious to get their license and gain their transportation freedom. Once they pass the DMV knowledge written test, it’s time to find a driving instructor.
Ahmad Williams has been a part of the Coronado community for nearly three years. As a driving instructor, Williams has trained over 500 students from Coronado since he took over his father’s business, All City Stick Driving School, in August of 2016. The business started up nearly ten years prior, in 1997, and took off all over San Diego.
“I believe [my father] opened it with the hope that I would want to take it over in the future,” Williams says.
In the months prior to taking over the business, Williams sat in the backseat watching his father Maurice—a Florida native and US Navy veteran—train both teenagers and adults in both automatic and stick shift vehicles. Williams then became certified in August 2016 and took over the driving school thereafter. Over the past three years, he has taught thousands of students in San Diego.
Teen safety behind the wheel has always been important, but with the recent surge in technology, Williams finds that it is so important to ensure that teen drivers do not let this become a distraction on the road. “I’m only 24 so I can relate to the younger generation on most things, but I put a strong emphasis on technique,” he says. This, of course, includes the basics of how to place your hands on the steering wheel and how to use the gas pedal and brake.
Williams knows how stressful driving with parents can be. He therefore gives his students a lot of room for error so that they gain confidence behind the wheel. None of his students have been involved in an accident during a lesson. When asked what his overall philosophy was in training students, Williams says that, “you can call these driving lessons, but it’s pretty much ‘how to not scare your parents when you drive with them.'”
With three years of experience, Williams has corrected many misconceptions of the California driving code. The most common among these of which parents should be aware is that parents are not allowed to drive with their teen until the new driver has had their first driving lesson by a licensed driving instructor. The driving instructor must then sign off on their permit to confirm that the student is allowed to practice with their parent or a licensed driver over the age of 25. Two more lessons with a driving instructor must then be completed before the student can obtain their driver’s license.
“Teenagers who get their license before eighteen have a provisional license, meaning they can only drive themselves and immediate family for the first year,” he says. “My advice is to avoid driving your friends around for one year to avoid any penalties, such as getting license revoked or suspended.”
For more information on All City Stick Driving School and teen safety behind the wheel, visit their website.