Supporting and Encouraging Your Teen Driver

Support teen driver
Your teen is about to embark on an exciting new adventure – that of being a legal and licensed driver. Many new drivers look at this opportunity and imagine the freedom and independence that comes with it. Others, though, feel a lot of anxiety at the prospect. They aren’t sure if they have the skills or confidence to get behind the wheel and navigate congested roads and deal with aggressive drivers. We want your teens to feel confident every time they get behind the wheel, and you can help make that happen. This is an important time for your teen, and while our instructors know how to create an engaging classroom environment and provide a structured curriculum that includes all the knowledge and skills a fledgling driver needs, real learning doesn’t end there. The simple fact is that you, as the parent or guardian of the soon-to-be-driver, can have a huge impact on how they develop their skills and knowledge.  With your support and encouragement throughout their driving lessons, your teens can acquire the skills they need for a lifetime of safe driving. Let’s take a look at a few simple things you can do to help your teen through their driver’s education and their first years as a licensed driver.

Set the Rules

The rules for driving a car have to be very strict, and they have to apply to everyone who is in the vehicle. That means that if they drive with friends, they should all be aware of the rules and agree to keep them. The exact rules you set will be up to you, but we would recommend something like:
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Always respect the driver’s needs
  • Always keep the entertainment (music, etc.) to a reasonable volume
  • Never act out wildly
  • Never drive unsafely
  • Never text and drive
These rules will help you set and reinforce expectations (more on this later).

Make Driving Fun

Many new teen drivers feel anxious behind the wheel and start overthinking every action – slowing their reactions and actually upping the risks. If they’re enjoying the experience, though, they can feel more confident out on the road. There are some simple things you can do to make driving more fun without relaxing your safety standards. You can start by making sure the car is in great shape, that it’s comfortable to be in, and that they can enjoy their favorite music. It’s also important to avoid making driving a chore. You may be happy to have a new driver in the house – one who can help shuttle people to school and back or run a quick errand down to the grocery store – but if you overdo it, they may start to feel like driving is a tedious task they have to do for someone else.  Don’t ruin the fun.

Find Opportunities for Positive Reinforcement 

If your teen is able to show that they are taking the rules seriously and proving to be a safe and responsible driver, you can provide some positive reinforcement by easing up on some of your rules and restrictions. Or just by letting them drive more often. This is the time when teens will develop the skills that will carry them throughout their lives. It’s important to build positive associations with positive driving.

Set Your Expectations and Make Them Clear

Statistically speaking, the risks for teens getting into a fatal speeding-related crash increases exponentially for every other teen in the car.  If you have made it clear to them how they are expected to behave when they’re behind the wheel – whether they’re alone or with a passenger – you can help significantly reduce this risk. It’s all about setting those expectations, making it clear that they will lose privileges if they don’t live up to them. Of course, you should also reward them when these expectations are met. 

Making Confident and Safe Drivers

Real confidence is critical for safe driving. Through your support and encouragement, along with our structured curriculum, we can produce a generation of drivers who always put safety first. You can help your teens feel confident behind the wheel so they make good decisions, ignore peer pressure, and keep their eyes on the road.  Soon, your teen is going to be driving places without you. But in a way, your influence will always be with them.