Valley Driving School’s office is very close to Escape Trailer Industries - to the East towards the Best Western Hotel. Cost was 85.00/hour plus tax. Liz and I booked an instructor for a 3 hour driving lesson (unfortunately both Liz + I forget her name
we were a bit nervous/focussed during the intro). She was very encouraging to us and, since she prepares people for their driving tests, was well versed on BC driving regulation/laws.
Liz and I took turns being instructed. We first learned to back straight up keeping the truck/trailer aligned. We then went to a nearby Truck gas station which has large lot and practiced backing into a parking slot between two big trailers. Next we drove the streets of Chilliwack learning how to make safe stops, lane changes, turns and how to drive curves. She took us through some complicated “round-abouts” and several freeway entrance/exits. It was especially helpful to get her advice/instruction regarding proper placement of our after-market extension mirrors.
The instructor was encouraging and was sensitive to what we wanted to learn. For example, I asked she to take us onto the freeway. She is a full-time Valley Driving Instructor and supplements her income with runs as big-rig trucker into the Interior. Her perspective as a big rig trucker came through as she taught us about always making sure we knew where our trailer is and how it tracks, how to take curves etc. Although we didn’t do any big hills Liz and I wish we had asked her advice about how to safely drive down/up hills.
At the beginning of the session she ran us through a pre-trip safety check list. At the end of the session the Instructor gave us a verbal evaluation of our towing skills. Apparently we are “above average” newbies.
So was the 270.00 expense “worth it?” As newbies to towing it seems like a “no brainier” decision. We spent thousands of dollars buying and outfitting a trailer. It seems unsafe and a bit arrogant to hook-up thinking we can learn on our own.
Will we remember everything we learned yesterday when we back into our first camping site in a few weeks? Probably not. We will, however, be safer and more confident towing our trailer to the camp site. I’m guessing and hoping we will provide far less entertainment to our fellow campers as they watch us back into our very first camp site!