1st Gear FAQs

How old does my teen have to be to take the Driver Education class?

Students MUST be:

1) At least 15 years and 9 months old on or before the 1st classroom session of the course in which they are enrolled, OR

2) 16 years old by the last classroom session of the course in which they are enrolled.  

This is a state requirement and is not something that we can be flexible with.

What if I am not a U.S. citizen?

All Non-US Citizens must appear in Concord for the first time when applying for a driver license. See this link for more info...


Does the student need to have any driving hours at home before starting Driver's Ed?

At 1st Gear, we HIGHLY recommend having at least 5-10 hours of driving practice at home before starting Driver's Ed.  This really helps us provide the best possible instruction for the student and ensure a safe learning environment for all students.  You may schedule Private Lessons with us prior to Driver's Ed beginning if needed. If you have any questions, please call Carl Ellis at 765-7476.

My teen has special needs, how do I know if they are ready to drive?

If you are unsure of whether or not your teen is ready to drive, or will be able to drive safely, we recommend a consultation with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS). These specialists offer a comprehensive driving assessment program. They perfom clinical and in-car assessments and look at things like visual, cognitive and physical skills and whether adaptive equipment may be necessary. If you are unsure about the safety of you teen learning to drive, this is a great resource for you. We work with and refer to the CDRS program at Northeast Rehab in Nashua. Below is a link to their website for more information.


Can my teen miss any classes?

By state law, students are NOT allowed to miss classroom instruction except for a good cause as determined by the instructor (may include a death in the family or an injury), and there must be documentation to support this.

No more than 4 hours (or 2 classes) of classroom instruction may be missed. The class time cannot be made up, but the student will have to make up any quiz or test that was missed and will be given an assignment that is equivalent to the material missed.

If more than 4 hours, or 2 classes, are missed, the student cannot continue the course and will be documented as "incomplete" on our state paperwork. If this happens, they have up to 6 months to complete driver education, either with us or with another program.

Will you pick up, or drop off, my teen at home or school?

We DO pick up at local schools Mon-Fri for the 1st hour of the day (2:30-4:30 driving slot), if we can work it out schedule wise. For this to work well, we really need to pick up 2 students at a time. We cannot guarantee a school pick-up as it based on availabilty. 

We do NOT offer pick up and drop off services for any other times unless they are pre-arranged and for an exceptional reason.  We do the best that we can to be flexible, but we also need to ensure the quality of the driving hour for all the students.

How many hours can my teen drive in a week?

The students are required to have 10 hours of driving and at least 6 hours of observation in the driver ed car with an instructor.  

By law we are allowed to drive with the students up to 2 hours in a week but no more than 1 hour a day until hours 7 and 8 of instruction.  For the 1st 6 hours, the students will be expected to drive 1 hour and observe 1 hour each driving session. You can plan on them being in the car for at least 1 driving session a week. 

When we get to hours 7 and 8, the students drive both hours and will only observe if they still need any observation hours or want to go with a friend.  This is also the case for hours 9 and 10.  In total the students will have 8 driving sessions.

We drive Sunday through Saturday with hours available anywhere from 8am - 10pm as determined by instructor availability.  We try to be as flexible as possible with our driving schedule.

I see that I can schedule driving hours online. When can / should I schedule these?

Please DO NOT schedule any driving hours until you have had the Parent Orientation (the 1st class).  

The scheduling software is very convenient, but due to state laws and requirements, the schedule can be tricky and certain requirements MUST be met.  We ask that you wait to schedule any driving hours until your class has begun and we have had a chance to explain the "rules"!  We will go over the scheduling at the Parent Orientation.

If you are coming from a long distance, or have extreme scheduling needs, please call us prior to the first class, and we can work with you to schedule hours over the phone.

Thank you for your consideration and patience!

What is the refund policy?

The nonrefundable registration deposit is due at the time of registration. The tuition balance is due on the first day of class. If you need to cancel your registration, please give a minimum one-week notice, and any amount, less the deposit, will be refunded or applied to a future session. NO refunds will be given after the 3rd class, as we will no longer be able to fill the spot. Special circumstances will be addressed on an individual basis.

What do private driving lessons cover?

Private driving lessons cover topics on an as needed basis. We will discuss your individual needs and go from there.  Typically, our 10 hour package covers the same things that we cover in our classroom program for new drivers.  So we start at the basics and work up to test preparation.