By Isaac Bonnell
Exceleration Driving School
Owner: Shane Waldemar
Opening date: Oct. 19
Address: 1308 Meador Ave. #C8
Square footage: 900
Phone: (360) 305-9731
Everybody remembers their driving instructor. Some are quirky, some are strict. Shane Waldemar, owner of Exceleration Driving School, is relaxed — perhaps more relaxed than most of us would be with a 15-year-old behind the wheel.
“If I’m worried, the students pick up on it and become more nervous. I don’t want them sweating bullets behind the wheel,” he said.
Waldemar, 24, makes it a point to instill a sense of confidence in young drivers. His five-week courses focus on traffic safety, understanding the rules of road and being comfortable and attentive while driving.
“I try to teach kids to not be fearful,” he said. “You have to learn to trust other drivers.”
Waldemar has been teaching driver’s education for a year in Lynden, but decided to open his own business in Bellingham because it is a larger market. This is Waldemar’s first time opening a business, and so far he said he really likes it.
“I’m not a nine-to-five guy, so I like the flexible hours,” he said.
But running the business and keeping up on paperwork keeps him pretty busy, he said.
To become a certified driving instructor, Waldemar had to pass a state exam that is similar to the written and driving test new drivers take to get a license — except this one is longer and harder.
Needless to say, Waldemar doesn’t have a problem parallel parking anywhere in town.
“I’m pretty good at it — I have to be,” he said. “To be a driving instructor, you have to be able to do it to teach it.”
To be a good driving instructor, you also have to be able to connect with young people, Waldemar said. As a younger guy, Waldemar said, students can relate to him because he dresses like them and enjoys the same music. He often allows his students to listen to the radio while driving to help them relax.
“Just as long as it’s not too loud,” Waldemar said. “I know when I’m driving I like a bit of radio in the background — it relaxes me.”