Key Points for Parents
Parents play a huge role in helping their teens gain as much experience as possible before they get junior driver's licenses and start to drive without a parent or other supervisor in the vehicle. Before you begin, ask yourself a few questions.
- Can you dedicate several hours a week to practice driving with your teen? AAA recommends your teen complete at least 100 hours of supervised practice driving before being allowed to drive solo.
- Are you committed to coaching in different driving conditions and at different times of the day? It’s best to start off in basic low-risk situations and gradually move to more complex situations, such as highways and driving in the rain.
- Are you patient enough to provide constructive feedback? There may be times when you want to yell, but remind yourself to remain calm, patient and positive and talk through the driving choices your teen makes. When necessary, agree to take a breather and work it out.
- Are you a good role model? Your teen has been watching you drive for years, but you might want to step up your driving game now. Always wear your safety belt, obey traffic laws, never talk or text on the phone while driving, don’t speed—the list goes on and on, but remember, lead by example.
As the parent, your job is to manage and coach your teen into becoming a safe, experienced driver. You’re in charge and can control how quickly your teen gets to drive under new conditions. Keep in mind, if your teen is breaking family rules or not being a responsible partner in the process, you can delay licensure. You control the car keys and your teen’s license.
Although your teen should be driving with you as much as possible now, you’ll want to get behind the wheel yourself occasionally, with your teen as a passenger. Such “demo drives” allow you to discuss what you’re doing as you drive, what you’re looking at, what you’re thinking about and how you’re staying safe.