Teaching their teens to drive is a rite of passage for many Texas parents, but the process is still often nerve-wracking for both parties. In Texas, you can opt to do Parent Taught Driver Education (PTDE) to meet the requirements for a drivers license. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available that make teaching your teen to drive as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
We’ve got you concerned parents covered. DriversEd.com is one of the best resources for helping Texas teens learn how to drive and their parents in the passenger seat.
Tips for Getting the License Process Started
Start the teaching process by completing the Parent Taught Driver Education Course Application.
Request a New Parent-Taught Drivers Education Packet, online.
Before you receive your packet, the state of Texas will conduct a simple background check, ensuring you are indeed the student’s parent, step-parent, grandparent, foster parent or legal guardian and that you have had a valid Texas driver’s license for at least the last three years. Parents whose license has been revoked or suspended for traffic-related offenses within the past three years are ineligible, as are any parents with six or more current points on their license or a DWI conviction in the last seven years.
Once this background check is concluded, expect to receive the packet in two to three weeks.
Tips for Acting as an Educator
When you start teaching your child to drive, you’re no longer just a parent — you’re also a driving educator. That means your duties extend beyond teaching your teen how to back up and parallel park. The tips below will help you cover all of the essentials so that your teen is fully prepared to get a license.
Talk to Teens About Defensive Driving
As a parent, you already know that much of driving safely involves watching out for the other guy, and it’s a lesson to impart to your teenager. You’ll have to talk to your teen about defensive driving practices and how to spot issues before they occur.
Lead by Example
The training requirements include seven hours of observation in the vehicle. Anytime you are driving with your teen in the car it’s important to lead by example and follow all of the rules of the road.
Keep Your Cool
Once your teen is behind the wheel it can be nerve-racking. Being visibly stressed out, shouting and losing your cool will only make matters worse. Do your best to stay calm and collected so that your teen keeps their cool too. If you need, pull over and take a break to avoid a blow-up.
Tips for Practicing, Practicing, Practicing
If there’s a mantra for teaching your teen to drive, it’s “practice, practice, practice.” Texas requires just 44 hours of supervised behind the wheel driving, of which 10 must be conducted at night. Ideally, you and your child will spend even more time in driver training so your teen receives more time behind the wheel and you gain confidence in your teen’s ability.
Get Off the Local Roads
Too many parents make the mistake of only taking their teens driving on local, low-traffic roads. For teens to really understand the rudiments of driving and traffic safety, they must experience highway driving and driving in traffic.
Drive at Night
Although teens have nighttime driving restrictions, supervised driving at night is a part of the process. In Texas, teens must drive 10 hours at night as a part of their training.
Drive During Incremental Weather
Real-life driving involves trips during inclement weather. While it’s a good idea to stay off the roads when the weather is bad, the best way for your teen to learn to navigate these circumstances is by having a concerned parent along for advice.
Tips for Using the Driver Education Log Sheet
Parents are responsible for maintaining the Driver Education Log Sheet, a document containing the necessary objectives for course completion. As your teen reaches each driving milestone, you need to sign off on the log sheet. When your child is ready to apply for their driver’s license, the sheet is presented to your local Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Involved parents keep teens safe. The time you spend training your teen to drive serves as an important bonding experience, but it is so much more. Research shows that teens with involved parents are much less likely to get into car accidents than those lacking strong parental involvement levels. Texas Parent Taught Drivers Ed may prove to be one of the most important gifts you can ever give your teenager.
*This article was updated on 3/25/2020
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