On that subject, my own "this might be a stupid question, but": Why do so many people in America learn to drive from their parents rather than using a qualified driving instructor? It seems to me like parents would simply pass their bad habits on to the kids. I've always wondered this when reading threads about terrible drivers.
I get the impression that 'Drivers' Ed' is class based.
Driver's Ed is expensive. Some people pony up the money anyway, since some insurance companies will give you a break on new driver insurance if you have it. And some schools offer slightly cheaper classes to their students.
But a lot of teens figure they can drive just fine, so they don't need it, right? And the parents also figure they are good drivers, so they can teach their teens just fine, right? And thus the Special Snowflakery is passed down to the next generation.
In California, you must take a driver's training course
to get your license, at least if you're under 18. The DMV requires 30 hours of in-class training as well as 6 hours on the road. My sons are taking it through the AAA and I've opted to add an extra 4 hours of in-car instruction, which will include night driving, freeway driving and the use of anti-lock brakes. Yes, it's $$$ but these are my only sons and I know that I don't have the patience or skill to teach them myself. I will
teach them to drive a manual transmission once they've got the basics of driving down. Some schools offer driver's ed, but that is one of the things that gets cut early on in a budget crisis.
Before the boys can get their actual licenses, they will also have to wait 6 months and complete 50 hours of in-car practice with a licensed adult sitting next to them. Even after that, for the next full year, they can't drive any passengers under 20 or between 11PM and 5AM unless there is an adult in the car as well (there are exceptions for medical necessity, job, etc.)
On putting the car into neutral at a stop: I was taught that it was a bad idea because it makes it easier for you to be pushed into an intersection if you're rear-ended. Having the car in gear means that the engine's inertia will keep you from moving as far.