Your teenager is about to get their driver’s license – something you’ve both been waiting on for a long time. You both may be traversing through a whirlwind of emotions from scared to excited. As a parent, this would be a fantastic time to create a plan to educate your teen and ensure they start their driving experience off on the right foot. There are steps that can be taken to help your teen feel comfortable and confident, while also minimizing risk.
1. Ease them into driving – it’s smart to let your teen slowly build their confidence once they’ve obtained their learners permit.
a. First, expose them to driving in remote, uncongested places (with parent or guardian). Such places could consist of empty parking lots or cul-de- sacs.
b. The next step would be to gradually move to residential streets (with parent or guardian).
c. Lastly, move to driving throughout the city or town (except highways and freeways).
2. Continue to coach them – once they have their driver’s license, the learning shouldn’t stop.
Most teens experience an accident in the first year of driving, which further outlines the importance of reinforcing proper driving techniques and safety.
a. Extend driving to highways and freeways.
b. Next, have them drive only during daylight hours without a parent or guardian.
c. Once you feel comfortable with “b” above, allow them to drive during daylight hours with up to one friend in the vehicle.
d. Once you feel comfortable with “c” above, extend to evening hours with up to one friend in the vehicle.
e. Lastly, when you are comfortable with “d” above, extend driving to evenings with no more than three friends in the vehicle.
The driving time should increase or decrease based on the parent or guardian’s assessment of the teen’s ability to safely operate their vehicle.
Safeco Insurance offers great insight to the above steps, and also includes a sample contract that parent’s can sign with their teens in which both parties make a promise to the other to uphold certain responsibilities. The following includes a copy of their sample agreement.