Teaching Your Teen To Drive
Teaching your teen how to drive comes with a range of emotions — excitement, worry and pride. But at the end of the day, it’s simple: Every parent’s dream is for their teen to thrive in life — including when discovering their newfound freedom behind the wheel.
It might feel overwhelming at first, so we’ve gathered some tried-and-true tips from parents like you. They offer the perfect starting point to help you approach each driving lesson with confidence, knowing you’re supporting your teen the way they deserve.
Speak and act calmly. Remember, your teen is probably nervous! Put yourself in their shoes.
Instead of correcting, ask questions. “How fast should you be going right now?” or “Talk to me about how you handled that last stop sign?”
Prep for tough situations with gentle reminders. Try something like: “You’re going to turn right up here and the people coming from the left don’t have a stop sign.”
Put away the phones. Make sure they put their phone in the glove box. Same goes for you!
Encourage openness. Before you go on any drives, set the expectation that they should ask if they’re unsure of what to do.
Boost their confidence. They need to hear what they're doing right too, so make sure you tell them when they've done a good job.
Master the Basics
Drive familiar routes. Have them drive to school, the library or grocery store and focus on handling, braking and accelerating. Mix it up and drive at night when you feel they’re ready.
Watch for signs. Check that they’re consistently using their lights and signals.
Hands off. Don’t tell your teen where to turn unless they ask you. Let them get to your destination on their own as much as possible.
Start a conversation. American Family’s free, award-winning Teen Safe Driver Program is an innovative way to help you talk to your teen about making smart choices behind the wheel.
Is your teen already doing great with the basics? Take their driving to the next level with these tips.