Learning to drive is a big step, not to be taken lightly. It requires responsibility, maturity, and a willingness to obey driving rules. The rewards are worth it, though. After all, learning to drive makes your child independent and eventually puts an end to your days of being a chauffeur.
Do you find yourself asking, "Is my teenager ready to drive?" Learn more about how to tell if your child is ready for their first real taste of freedom on the open road.
Is My Teen Old Enough to Drive?
The age at which your child can legally begin driver's education varies from state to state. Some states, like Arkansas, allow teens to start taking their driver's ed course at 14. Other states — Connecticut, for instance — make students wait until 16.
Wondering how your state stacks up? DriversEd.com provides a list of the age requirements and driving restrictions for each state in the U.S.
But Is My Teenager Ready to Drive?
Driving safely involves much more than passing a written and road test. Drivers must follow rules, assess risks, make safe decisions, and have quick reflexes. Here are some signs that your teen is ready.
My Teen Is Able to Concentrate on the Road
Driving safely requires concentration and focus at all times. And yet, a recent study shows that 39% of teens have texted or emailed while behind the wheel. Teens that are emotionally mature enough to understand the risks involved in distracted driving are better at putting the phone away.
Teens are vulnerable to other forms of distracted driving as well, which is why some states, like Texas, issue teens under the age of 18 a provisional license that does not allow them to drive with underage passengers in the car.
My Teen Can Remain Alert on the Road
Being alert helps drivers identify potential hazards and react appropriately. If your teen stays up all night playing computer games or doing their homework, you might nudge them toward a more regular sleep schedule. Why? Because the less sleep a person gets, the longer it takes them to respond to external stimuli.
My Teen Has Time to Learn How to Drive
School, work, volunteering, social commitments, and applying to college — teens these days have many commitments that can interfere with their ability to study for their driver's license exam and complete the practice hours they need on the road.
One way to fit driving lessons into a teen's busy schedule is to consider an online driver's ed school like DriversEd.com, so your teen has the flexibility to learn on any device, at a pace that suits them.
Are You Ready to Help Your Teen Learn to Drive?
State requirements vary, but most require a combination of one or more of the following: online driver's education, in-car driving lessons, and a minimum period of parent-supervised driving practice.
The parent-supervised driving practice stage is an important part of learning to drive. It helps your teen gain driving experience in all kinds of driving conditions, and the more you do, the best shot your teenager has of becoming a safe, smart driver for life.
In addition to supervised practice, your teen will also need your support while taking in-car driving lessons and/or online driver's education. Your emotional support, interest in their progress, and willingness to help them find out answers to any questions they might have about learning to drive will go a long way toward making your teen a confident driver.
We’re Here for Both You and Your Teen
At DriversEd.com, we know learning to drive is a major milestone. That’s why we provide 24/7 customer support, valuable driving resources, a complete DMV information guide, unlimited free practice tests, and useful articles for both parents and teens.