Getting your teen their driver's license can be both exciting and a little frightening. If you are like most parents, you are likely considering driving lessons as a requirement before you allow your teen to take their final driver's test. The following tips can help you ensure your teen's success in both the course and the final test for their license.
Tip #1: Find out the permit requirements in your state
Your teen will need a learner's permit before they can get behind the wheel, even to practice. Permit requirements vary by state, including the specific age the teen needs to be to get said permit, so you will need to check with your motor vehicle department. Also, contact the school where your teen will be taking lessons. Some schools require the permit before your student can start studying, while others allow classroom time while you await the permit.
Tip #2: Schedule for success
Is your teen a morning person or an evening person? It's best to schedule driving lessons when you expect your teen to be most alert. If your teen perks up after school, then afternoon or even evening lessons may work well. If you have a child that is awake with the birds at dawn, you may want to look for early morning lessons. Is your child more of a mid-day person? Then you may need to wait for a school vacation so they can take lunchtime lessons.
Tip #3: Keep an out the door checklist
There are few things more disappointing for a beginning driver than arriving for a driving lesson only to be relegated to the back seat because they forgot something. If your teen wears glasses, make sure they have them on before they walk out the door. Some driving schools also enforce footwear rules for safety reasons – such as no flip-flops since they can slide off and become wedged underneath the pedal while driving. Your teen will also likely need to bring a logbook for their instructor to record their driving hours.
Tip #4: Provide a cool head
Your teen will also likely need to log some practice hours at home with you. Don't panic! Start in a secluded area, such as a large, empty lot. Then, coach your teen without panicking. If you are obviously stressed, your teen will pick up on it and it will affect their driving. Overcome the urge to hit phantom break pedals or to clutch the dashboard. Keep the conversation light and avoid barking orders. Instead, consider giving instructions before the car starts moving, such as "How about we circle around that tree in the middle of the lot and then return here to back up into that space over there." By setting expectations first, you won't be tempted to bark out directions as the car is moving, which can put your teen on edge. Find driving courses in your area for more information.