3 Steps to Take Before Your Teen Starts Driving

Father teaching teen girl how to drive

Driving is a rite of passage for many young people. Getting a driver’s license allows teens to become more independent.

But many parents feel anxious about the prospect of their teens getting behind the wheel. To a large extent, their anxiety is justified. After all, teens are more likely to be involved in accidents, often due to distracted driving. 

The following three steps can help you prepare your teen to be in the driver’s seat.

Shop for Better Auto Insurance 

As with many expenses, it pays to shop around for auto insurance. Look for policies that offer discounts for students who complete driver education courses or who maintain good grades. Other discounts to look for include bundled polices and good driver discounts. 

For military personnel and veterans, USAA offers auto insurance policies and exceptional service at excellent rates. These policies often feature significant discounts for safe drivers, multiple cars insured by a single policy and deeply discounted family rates. 

Enroll Your Teen in Driver Education

Many high schools require students to complete a driver education course before graduation. If that’s not the case for your child’s school, other options are available. Local driving schools often feature courses geared towards teens. Teens can also enroll in online driver education courses that allow them to obtain learner’s permits for on-the-road practice with a parent or other adult driver. Either way, completing a driver education course qualifies your teen for lower insurance rates and helps ensure that they learn good driving practices from the start.

Establish Driving Ground Rules

Before your teen gets behind the wheel, talk to them about the importance of not texting while driving, wearing a seatbelt, driving defensively, and especially not drinking and driving. Make it plain to your teen from the beginning that driving is a privilege that demands adhering to the rules and maintaining certain standards of behavior. 

While you shouldn’t overdo taking away driving privileges, it is legitimate to deny your teen keys to the car for failure to do assigned chores around the house or for bad behavior. A serious decline in grades may also warrant suspending driving privileges, although you should eliminate other possible causes such as poor vision, learning disabilities, or bullying before doing so.  

Establishing ground rules from the start and enforcing them consistently is essential. Avoid treating driving privileges as a bribe, or allowing one child more privileges without a legitimate reason, such as needing the car to get to an after-school job or extracurricular activity.

Your Teen Behind the Wheel

Having a teen reach driving age is an inescapable sign that your child is growing up. While you may feel understandably anxious about the prospect of your child being behind the wheel, it probably isn’t feasible to completely prohibit your child from driving. Instead, shopping around for the best auto insurance available, enrolling your teen in driver’s education, and establishing and maintaining ground rules for driving can help your child be safer behind the wheel.