For high school students, getting a driver’s license gives them huge kudos and an enormous amount of independence.
For parents, this can mean sleepless nights, endless worry, and constant anxiety.
And these concerns are founded because, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), teen drivers are three times more likely than adult drivers to be involved in a fatal car crash.
Nevertheless, when your child passes their drivers’ training, it does mean there’s no more toing and froing from school, friends’ houses, and nightclubs – and you know your child is progressing forward in their adult life.
So how, as a parent, do you help your child go through driver education classes smoothly, ensuring they learn all of the vital skills they need to stay safe on the road?
Below, we’ll discuss how to find the best driver instructor and how you can do your bit to help them with their driving lessons.
Tips for Finding a Good Driver Education Class
When you start searching for drivers’ training courses, you’ll be presented with a whole host of options, which can be quite overwhelming. And while price is potentially a huge factor in the traffic school you opt for, it’s also important to bear a number of things in mind:
1. Is the Program Approved in Your State?
The requirements for a driver’s license will differ from state to state, so it’s crucial you’re signing your teen up for a course that adheres to your state’s requirements. To check this, you can speak to the department of public safety or department of motor vehicles to check that the school you’ve found (particularly if it’s online) is state-approved.
2. Has the Driving School Been Around for a While?
With the growth of the Internet, there has been a surge in online driving schools that haven’t been around very long. And unfortunately, some of them aren’t up to the high standards you’d expect from a traffic school.
Try to opt for a school that’s got a good reputation in your local area and has been helping people pass their driver’s education for at least 10 years. These schools tend to offer in-depth tutorials, video games, and activities that other less equipped schools may not.
3. Have You Read the Small Print?
Finally, don’t get caught out by the fine print, as you may be hit with a reactivation fee if your child doesn’t complete their course within a designated timeframe. Classes are often $50-$100 – not including practical instruction.
Helping Your Teen Progress Through Their Drivers’ Training
When you learn to drive, one of the most valuable things you can do is gain plenty of experience, and that’s where you can step in and help.
Taking your teen out on the road as much as possible will allow them to experience a variety of different situations and scenarios so they feel far more confident when it comes to their final exam. From driving in the rain to coming up against an unexpected roadblock, getting your child familiar with these hazards and settings is a great way to boost their confidence – and make sure they’re safer when they are out on the roads on their own.
However, before you both jump in the car together, it’s a good idea to let your child have a few lessons with their instructor first.
Because this gives the driver instructor time to build up a foundation with your child (don’t forget, you may have picked up some bad driving habits over the years!) and it makes your first experience on the open road together a far less scary one!
Before You Set Off
It’s a good idea to plan a route before you set off instead of driving around aimlessly in your local neighborhood. This will allow you to avoid any busy areas and ensures your teen knows what to expect from the drive.
Discuss what skills you’re going to work on while you’re out, too, making sure these are in line with what they’re learning in their drivers’ training class.
And don’t forget to take some deep breaths before you get in the car. As anxious as you may feel, you need to remain calm at all times so this is a positive experience for your teen.
While You’re Out and About
Limit your first few drives to around 20 minutes, progressing to 30-40 minutes as your teen’s confidence and skills grow.
Always keep your eyes open for any hazards or dangers, particularly if they’re not straight in front of you, as you’ll often find new drivers only see what’s directly ahead. And if you do need them to stop, turn, or slow down for something, ask them calmly instead of shouting so they don’t panic.
Finally, if your teen questions something you’ve said because this isn’t what their driving instructor has told them, retract your instruction. You may think you’re right but it’s important not to cause confusion, putting yours and your child’s trust in the instructor.
Throughout this entire process, you’ll be a key part of your teen’s driver education. Your knowledge, combined with their newfound skills, should see them not only flying through their final exam but being safe on the roads for many years to come, too.