Are You Ready for Your Teen to Drive?

It might be hard to believe, but your baby is actually old enough to drive. He or she has a learner’s permit and is more than ready to head out with you for some driving lessons. The following tips and advice can help prepare both you and your fledging driver on how to stay safe on the road:

Consider a safe-driving course

While taking your teen out in your car for a lot of driving practice is definitely a good idea, it’s also wise to enroll him or her in a safe driving course. As Esurance notes, these classes can teach teens skills and tips you might not be aware of. Instructors may also expose your teen to new driving situations like maneuvering through downtown during rush hour traffic or getting around an airport. The courses typically last from 6 to 12 hours and can include both classroom time and plenty of practice behind the wheel.

Encourage your teen to learn online and on the road

In addition to lots of practice time behind the wheel, parents can also help boost their teen’s confidence by encouraging them to use the computer to improve their knowledge of driving rules. features a wide variety of online exams that will help teach teens the rules of the road, all from the safety of their computer.

Enforce your own graduated licensing program

Regardless of what your state laws say about when and where teens are legally able to drive, as a parent you can create and implement a graduated licensing program for your teen. For example, don’t allow your newbie driver to hit the road after 9 p.m., and limit the number of buddies he or she can take in the car. As your teen gets older and gains more experience, you can give them more privileges.

Keep an eye on Mother Nature

As Consumer Reports notes, bad weather can make for unsafe driving conditions, especially for young teens who just got their permit or license. Help your teen driver learn how to handle the car on a rainy day or during a snowstorm. Teach your child how to control the car in a safe place — find a large empty parking lot during a rainstorm and instruct your teen on what to do if they find themselves hydroplaning or skidding. It’s much easier for teens to learn how to manage these unsafe conditions when they are under the watchful eye of a parent or driving instructor, so be sure to arm them with the knowledge they need to handle inclement weather.

Teach your teen to be aware of other drivers

Teen Driving advises teens need to drive like they own their car, not the road. As parents, one of the best ways to prepare your teen to drive is to teach them that they should never assume what another driver will do. Advise them to “never trust a turn signal” and instead wait and watch to see if another car with its blinker on is actually turning before pulling out in front of it. Point out speeding or aggressive drivers on the road and instruct your teen to keep a wide berth between your vehicles.