McKenna's Defensive Driving
This is the website for McKenna's,
A fully certified driving school serving the Dartmouth-Halifax area of Nova Scotia

(902) 435-7916
Monthly classroom sessions at the Quality Inn MicMac, 313 Prince Albert Rd, Dartmouth.
In-car lessons on the streets and highways of HRM!

   

Last updated August 8, 2014  (Class Schedule Page and other pages are separately updated)
FINE PRINT: This website functions as the semi-official site for McKenna but is presented by classroom instructor Bill, which will account for information about Bill you will find, and its concentration on the classroom part of McKenna's driver education program.  It is intended to give you the basic information you need about McKenna's but anything in this site is superseded by information given directly on the phone by the McKenna's representative when you call the office.  If there is a disagreement between what is said here and what you are told in speaking with the office, the latter must be taken as correct.

What will it be like to come to McKenna's?   McKenna's is a family-owned and operated driving school that maintains an excellent reputation in the community. Most who enrol have listened to the opinions of their friends and relatives and have heard "all about it".   If you do not have that luxury, we hope that this website will give you some insights.  We are proud of our school and are very open about telling you all about it.  We present both the classroom and in-car phases comprehensively and seriously but also in a friendly, respectful and convenient manner, and at minimal cost to you.   We know that there are several schools from which to choose, but the word "out there" is that you will be very happy if you choose McKenna's!
 

$$$$$: CALL THE OFFICE FOR THE CURRENT COURSE FEE.  McKENNA'S CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN ONE OF THE VERY LOWEST PRICES FOR DRIVER EDUCATION IN THE METRO AREA.   CHECK AROUND AND YOU WILL SEE!  

For McKenna's Information and Registration:

Office: (902) 435-7916
Glenna,
Business and Registration Manager
(no e-mail service or texting)

 

   

    SERVING
   THE HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA METRO AREA

Instructional Staff: 

In-Car: Ron, Jake, Chad
Classroom: Bill


All of our instructional staff are fully qualified and certified by the province of Nova Scotia and cleared as required through criminal records checks to work with students of all ages.  All operations are fully insured.

 

All McKenna's instructors treat this as more than a job, and sincerely want their students to be good drivers!  Proprietor and In-Car Instructor Ron McKenna has decades of acclaimed friendly in-car instruction experience and is known throughout the region as the one to turn to for a pleasant and thorough introduction to driving. Jake and Chad continue on with that expertise and philosophy.  Classroom instructor Bill has almost 40 years of driving instruction experience as well as a lengthy background as a high school guidance counsellor. Click here for more on his unusual driving and professional Background and Photo Highlights. 
What area do we serve?  Our core area of service is Dartmouth / Eastern Passage / Cole Hbr / and across the harbour in the Halifax core vicinity. In this area you can expect to be picked up for in-car lessons from home, work or school and then be returned on completion.  (Students from outside this area are welcome but you may have to meet your instructor in Dartmouth for your in-car lessons.  Check with the office for more information). REGISTRATION, PAYMENTS and TIME LIMITS


Sorry, McKenna's does not take debit or credit cards.  Payments in cash, cheque or money order only.  These are taken at the first class. Thanks!
 

MONTHLY CLASSROOM SCHEDULE

(also including cancellation procedures and location directions)

Actual  Comments  from Real McKenna Students

 

 

Learning and Test-Writing Challenges

 re students with Learning Issues, Physical Challenges and those without fluency in English..

Classroom Conduct Policy

Classroom Course Outline

In-Car Outline

 

 

Official NS Registry of Motor Vehicles information:
   
Read about the NS Graduated Licence System  
     
The NS Driver's Handbook.

  Nova Scotia's Motor Vehicle Act  

 

 

 

What if a class is missed?  and, Can I spread my attendance over more than one month?
Is your beginners going to expire within the next couple of months?  Better read this
ROAD TEST APPOINTMENTS:  UNLIKE OTHER NEW DRIVERS, DRIVING SCHOOL STUDENTS DO NOT MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WHEN PAYING ACCESS NS FOR A ROAD TEST.   WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY FOR A ROAD TEST, YOU MUST THEN PASS THE ROAD TEST RECEIPT NUMBER TO YOUR DRIVING SCHOOL WHO WILL MAKE THE APPOINTMENT FOR A SUITABLE DATE AND TIME IN CONSULTATION WITH YOU.  REMEMBER, YOU WILL BE USING THE DRIVING SCHOOL CAR FOR YOUR ROAD TEST AND THEREFORE YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SCHEDULE IT FOR A ROAD TEST.

Interesting fact:
Three Memorial Cup winning Mooseheads are graduates of McKenna's!

About McKenna's and our Program

Tips for Selecting a Driving School

McKenna's Defensive Driving is owned and operated by Ron McKenna and his family.  While it is based in Dartmouth, it also serves the metro Halifax area in general.  Classroom sessions are held in Dartmouth.  McKenna's offers a fully recognized driver education program consisting of 25 hours in the classroom and 10 hours in-car. 

As with other schools, completion of the McKenna's program will result in a reduction in insurance rates (depending on insurance company, and on individual family circumstances).   It also allows easy transition at the end of two years of driving from the novice (N) stage, to the experienced licence.  The minimum waiting time between obtaining the beginner's licence and taking the road test is reduced from six months to three months.

McKenna's in-car program follows all provincial guidelines and in fully-approved vehicles with friendly certified instructors.   Training will include suburban, urban and freeway driving, with a thorough preparation for the Registry of Motor Vehicles road test.

 

NOVA SCOTIA DRIVER EDUCATION IS MADE UP OF 25 HOURS OF CLASSROOM THEORY AND INFORMATION, FOLLOWED BY 10 HOURS OF IN-CAR PRACTICAL LEARNING.

McKenna's classroom phase:

  • covers all provincially required topics, plus more. 
     

  • Instruction is pleasant but very thorough, with consistently favourable reviews from students.   You will not find any filler material here, as there are more than enough important topics to fill 25 hours. 
     

  • Instruction is based on a provincially approved textbook, but presented by way of a course-book personally written by the instructor.   Note-taking will be minimal.
     

  • Students will have a major final test at the last session, as compared to shorter ones along the way or no evaluation at all (as may be the case at some other schools).    Students with valid test-writing difficulties will be accommodated.
     

  • Classes are mostly scheduled for seven 3.5 hour evening sessions, rather than the more common day-long weekend sessions offered by most other schools.  Occasionally, one or more of the classes will be on a Saturday beginning at 9 AM.
     

  • Classes are conveniently held at the
    Quality Inn Halifax-Dartmouth (MicMac)
    at 313 Prince Albert Road in Dartmouth, near the Braemar Superstore. 
     

  •  A current schedule of classes for the upcoming months appears here

 

McKenna's In-Car Instruction
 (generally follows completion of the classroom program) 

  • Friendly professional one-on-one instruction.   Instructors routinely receive rave reviews!
     

  • Lessons progress based on the skills and knowledge of the student, with situations progressing in a logical order of complexity.
     

  • Instruction commences with static familiarization with the vehicle and blind spots, to quiet areas, to suburban driving, to rural and freeway driving, to downtown Halifax and ends with concentrated practice for the road test.  Progression is adjusted depending on the experience and learning of each student.
     

  • Ideally the lessons are one hour long and perhaps twice per week; however in some cases two hour lessons or more frequent lessons might be arranged to accommodate special circumstances.
     

  • In-car lessons are in most cases spread over two to three months to accommodate the minimum 3-month waiting period between acquisition of the learner's licence and doing the road test.   Students who have already completed the waiting period might do the in-car lessons more quickly, but all students should realize that driving lessons are ideally partnered with driving experience over time at home in the family car.
     

  • In most cases students may be picked up and/or dropped off at home, at school, or place of employment.   Students who live outside the Dartmouth/Cole Harbour/Eastern Passage/North Preston area normally must make arrangements to meet in the Dartmouth area for in-car lessons.  In some months students who live just outside the above area may be able to be accommodated with door to door service.  Check with the office to discuss. 

 

  • Rely on word of mouth when possible rather than advertising.  Most of McKenna's students report that they came due to our reputation for service, quality and price.
  • Which suits you best, a Canada-wide corporation or a local stand-alone company with all its roots in the community?   No doubt that big chain has an excellent product but taking into account other factors you may find McKenna's excellent product preferable.
  • Is there a representative who is willing to explain the program and answer all your questions prior to committing your money?  Call Glenna at 435-7916.
  • Will the school pick you up from your home, work or school for the in-car driving lessons, within its service area?   We will, within the core area of Halifax-Dartmouth.
  • Driving schools must be properly licenced in Nova Scotia and carry adequate liability insurance.  Vehicles must be kept in good repair and inspected annually. Ours are!
  • Instructors must be certified and currently licenced to teach driving in Nova Scotia.  Criminal record checks are required to teach driving. Ours are.
  • All driving school operators and instructors should be professional, courteous, personable, respectful, and emphasize safety and integrity.   They should also be enthusiastic and dedicated to what they are doing.  Ours certainly are,  as our students will readily testify!
  • Look for a school in which the instructors who love the in-car training are doing that, and the instructors who enjoy teaching a classroom full of students are doing that aspect, and that each consider what he or she is doing to be equally important in a complete package.  This is for sure at McKenna's.   Ron, Jake and Chad enjoy the in-car.  Bill enjoys the classroom.  And each is very competent in doing what they enjoy!
  • Ask about the required hours and scheduling format for the classroom sessions.  All schools must present a 25-hour program but the format is typically either 3 or 4 day-long classes OR a series of shorter evening classes.  Which works best for you?   McKenna's uses the shorter class format usually evenings 6 - 9:35 spread over seven non-consecutive evenings.
  • Discuss the attendance policy for the 25-hour classroom sessions.  It may be difficult to attend the complete number of hours due to other commitments.  Will the school allow split attendance over two or more monthly class sessions in order to make up the time?    McKenna's does.
  • Be wary of schools that are overly lenient in attendance policies, as that may be an unwitting  statement that they do not themselves value their own product.   It is important for classes to be attended!   McKenna's allows only very limited absences for good reasons not being made up, and will never schedule in-car lessons at the same time as the classroom. 
  • Compare tuition costs between driving schools and ask if there are any additional fees or charges such as for use of the vehicle or instructor time during the final road test.   McKenna's is among the cheapest in the Halifax area and does not charge for the use of the car during the road test.  Regardless of the school your personal payments to Access Nova Scotia for testing and licences are always your own responsibility.   
  • Ask about the school's policy for cancelling or rescheduling a behind-the-wheel training session.   McKenna's does not charge for cancellations provided you give reasonable notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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