SAVE BIG on Auto Insurance!

How to Select the Best Car for Teen Drivers

How to Select the Best Car for Your TeenSo, your teen is ready for their first vehicle. As a parent, you understand the freedom that driving a vehicle supplies. You’re also aware of the fact that different cars bring different pros and cons, and some may not be the best choice for your son or daughter. So, what is the best way to direct you and your young driver’s shopping considerations? Keep safety top-of-mind. Consider these following factors when preparing to purchase the best car for teen drivers.

Identifying the Best Car for Teen Drivers

1. Everyone loves power

Let’s face it: cars that deliver optimum performance are downright fun. But they are best left in the hands of experienced drivers, individuals who have several years of driving behind them and appreciate the responsibility cars with robust horsepower supply.

When teens finish college and enter the world of work, they will have had years of driving experience behind them. That is when it is entirely appropriate for them to consider another type of vehicle.

2. Size (and weight) matters

The smaller the vehicle, the more likely your teen will be seriously injured in an accident. It does not matter if the vehicle comes wrapped in a safety cage, has 10 airbags or has driver-assist technologies, such as lane keep assist. What matters most is the vehicle’s size and weight.

Indeed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) acknowledges the appeal of such microcars as the Smart ForTwo, particularly for cost and gas saving reasons. But IIHS tests and those conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that the law of physics prevails, especially when a small vehicle meets a larger object, such as a midsize car.

“We recommend that parents not consider vehicles smaller than midsize cars, or the typical small SUV – vehicles in these two classes are typically close to the same weight,” explained Russ Rader, Senior Vice President, Communications, IIHS.

3. Consider vehicle crash worthiness

Beyond size and weight, there is another factor to consider: crash test scores. The IIHS, for example, rates most cars based on several factors, then assigns an overall rating. These factors include front, side, roof strength and head restraints. The NHTSA also assigns scores, although it does not go as deep as the Institute with its ratings.

Certain recommended models achieve the Institute’s Top Safety Pick or better designation, while all must have electronic stability control, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on wet surfaces and curves. A suite of airbags, including side airbags, is also a must when considering the best cars for teen drivers.

4. Know your budget

Budget considerations are a tremendous factor in any purchase decision. Fortunately, choosing a used vehicle does not necessarily mean making compromises to find something you can afford.

To that end, the IIHS searched the Kelley Blue Book database for “Best Choices” vehicles starting under $20,000 and “Good Choices” vehicles for under $10,000. What they found were dozens of acceptable vehicles costing as little as $2,000, or well within the budget of most consumers.

Practice Safe Driving Habits

Finally, as parents, we must always practice what we preach when behind the wheel ourselves. A 2014 survey concluded that some parents need much work: Some even try to call their teens even though they know they’re driving, and teens with parents who partake in distracted driving are up to four times as likely to do the same. Become a model driver with these 3 ways to sharpen your safe-driving skills.

You’ve already begun researching the best car for your teen driver. Why not check out the best insurance options as well? Head over to DriversEd.com’s Car Insurance Resource Center to learn more about keeping your insurance rates low, the difference between learners permits and licenses as they relate to insurance costs, and even sign up for a free car insurance quote.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments closed

Car Insurance 101: What Kind of Car Should I Drive?

Last week in Car Insurance 101, we talked about choosing car insurance for the first-time driver. Deciding on what kind of coverage you want is a step in the right direction, but what’s the point of purchasing car insurance if you don’t have a car to insure? That’s why this week we’ll be talking about choosing a car for the first-time driver so buckle up!

Car Insurance 101 Infographic Describing What Kind of Car First-Time Drivers Should Drive

Car Insurance 101: What Kind of Car Should I Drive?


Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Texas Road Signs 101: Study for the Driving Test

highway architectureFor young people in the state of Texas, drivers education is a rite of passage. It’s an opportunity to receive the necessary credentials to experience a whole new kind of freedom. While the freedom to drive is a great thing, it requires a high level of responsibility. A big part of becoming a proficient driver is understanding street signs. So, listen up aspiring Texas drivers, here’s what you need to know about Texas road signs.

Regulatory Signs

reg signs

You’ve probably seen these Texas road signs every day of your life. For example, stop signs fall into the regulatory category. Always be aware of these signs and adhere to them to avoid accidents and other issues like tickets. In the state of Texas, regulatory signs are often octagon, triangle, and vertical-rectangle shaped. They always provide a specific instruction, such as speed limit, one-way street direction, and parking signs.

Warning Signs

war signsAlways be on alert for these signs. They’re hard to miss because they are usually bright colors like yellow or orange and shaped like diamonds, pentagons, and circles. Signs that fall into this category indicate things like winding roads ahead, approaching where two roads converge, that a lane closure ahead, and that there is a school zone. Here’s how to handle a few Texas road signs:

Winding Road Ahead: when you see this yellow sign with a curvy arrow, slow down and don’t attempt to pass anyone

Two Roads Coming Together: this sign will show two arrows indicating the two roads coming together. You don’t have to merge but be wary of traffic in the new lane.

Lane Closure: This sign will likely be orange as it relates to construction. It will say in bold print what specific lane(s) are closed. Make sure you are driving in the correct lane.

Guide Signs

3-2_Route_Signs_Independent_MountingIn ancient times, people didn’t have much to help guide them on their journeys. Lucky for you, there are signs everywhere that can help you have a great driving experience. Guide signs horizontal rectangles and are usually green, blue, or brown. And give drivers information about the following:

  • Route markers
  • Exit signs
  • Travel information
  • Rest stops
  • Sometimes even let you know if there’s places to eat ahead

Texas road signs exist to help drivers. Obeying these signs assists drivers with nearly everything. They help with safety, efficiency, comfort and overall knowledge of the road. They’re painted with bright colors and written to be easily understood. Make sure you are taking note of the signs you pass as you drive. Before you take your test, be sure to study the various signs and the meaning behind them. Best of luck, and happy driving.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments closed

Take It from This Mom: 3 Ways to Support Your Teen through Drivers Ed

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Michelle Kennedy Hogan, a Hawaii-based mother of eight children who has sent four teenagers through drivers ed and is currently training with teen No. 5.

A Mother's Advice for Parents New to Driver's EducationSitting in the passenger seat while your baby is in the driver’s seat of the family car can be unnerving. Suddenly, all you see is that tiny newborn you put in the car seat in the back and you likely can’t believe it has been 15 or 16 years already. Even though it’s tough sometimes to realize your child is starting to drive, it’s important to be positive and proactive during the learning process. I have now taught four teens to drive and my fifth teen is starting to talk sports cars.

Your child will likely be required to take drivers’ education classes either through their school or privately, but the majority of their driving learning time will be with you. My oldest two kids learned to drive in Vermont where they needed 30 hours of classroom time, but only 6 hours of driving and 6 hours of passenger time during drivers ed. The new driver also needs to complete 40 hours of practice driving with a parent (or person over 25), 10 hours of which must be nighttime driving hours. That’s a lot of time in the car with mom or dad.

3 Ways to be a Role Model Parent of a Teen in Drivers Ed

  1. Demonstrate good driving practices (if you don’t already). Once you are seasoned driving pros like we are, it can be easy to slip out of those driving practices we were taught in our own driver’s ed. Once a teen hits about 13 years old, you might start to hear a lot of talk about cars and driving. Something happens to a teen and all of a sudden you hear them talking about what kind of car they will buy (usually an overpriced sports car). Or they start to give you driving advice, like, “You could have made that light, Mom.” Once this interest becomes real, make sure you not only start to do the right things all the time, but also be sure to explain why. Make a full stop at every stop sign. Use your blinker. Don’t text! Don’t pass unless it is very safe to do so and explain the situations in which passing is acceptable and not. If I see someone pass on a double yellow line, I will likely explain to my next teen driver why that’s unsafe.
  2. A Mother's Advice for Parents New to Driver's EducationAct positive about your teen’s driving. It is so tempting to roll your eyes or act unenthusiastic generally when your teen gets his or her permit. Sometimes, you just want to get where you’re going without having to worry about every little thing when your teen is driving. But, just like learning to do dishes or clean the bathroom, unless your teen gets the chance to practice, they will never get good at it. Toss your teen the keys, feign enthusiasm, and say “Here, you drive.” There is no substitute for experience—especially guided experience by the person who loves them most.
  3. Help them get out and practice. Getting behind the wheel those first few times is scary. Most teens won’t admit it, but think back to your first time or two. Were you excited? Nervous? Terrified? I was all three. I thought for sure that I would be cruising down the road at 55 mph. Turns out 30 mph felt scary and horrifying—at least for a little while. I remember my mother telling me that I could speed up a bit if I wanted to. Finding an empty parking lot on a Sunday afternoon, or a field, or another large, open spot, can give your teen a lot of space to practice. Sometimes, instead of the pressure of the actual road, it’s nice to be able to get really familiar with the car’s controls and quirks by just driving in circles, backing up, speeding up and slowing down, weaving around a bit, practicing parking in a big old lot where there are no other cars aiming for you. Being able to give your teen this kind of comfort with the car, can help their experience level immensely.

Sending your child off into the world in a car is a scary, but necessary part of parenting. Think of all the errands you won’t have to run anymore! But how you behave both as a driver and cheerleader will greatly affect how your teen acts behind the wheel. Being proactive and positive from the beginning can go a long way toward preventing tragedy later on.

Don’t leave us yet! There’s more for both you and your teen. Learn more about what we do:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments closed

8 Ways to Celebrate Your Driver’s Ed Success on Social Media

When you pass drivers ed, how do you celebrate? After all, you’ve spent hours studying and practicing, waiting for the freedom to be your own driver. And, we know—that freedom is AMAZING. It’s also a big feat to accomplish, and gives you plenty of reasons to celebrate. Why not celebrate yourself on social media?

To give you some inspiration, we want to share a few of our favorite drivers ed posts from teens like yourself across the country. Then, when you hit the roads, you ’ll know how to celebrate it with your friends—online and offline.

8 Ways to Brag About Your New License

The first thing you want to do is show off your license on social media. You worked hard for it, so do it. Just make sure that your information is not easy to read.

Then, use some of the hashtags below to share your mad driving skillz with the world.

1. Show it off

Like they say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it! This is definitely one of those occasions where you want to show off your hard work.

The image posted below is a great way to show off your license. Just make sure you do not share your driver’s license information, or you could be at risk for identity theft.

Now you just need to find a cute police officer statue (below) to pose with for your photo.

Hashtags: #driverslicense, #driverspermit, #stayofftheroad, #driverslessons, #newdriver #teenager

Capture1

2. Do you like my new car?

One of the best ways to show off your new drivers’ license is right next to your new partner on the road—your vehicle. Fortunately, these parents agreed with the idea.

Hashtags: #teendriver #driversseat #stayofftheroad #zoomzoom #pedaltothemetal

Capture2

3. Uh oh! Another teen driver’s on the loose!

It’s okay to be cool with a teen driver on the loose. Go a little crazy and give us your best pose!

Hashtags: #16yearolddriver, #teendriverontheloose, #teendriver #sharingtheroad #drivesafely, #drivingtest

Capture3

4. Can I also get a motor bike?

Once you get your driver’s license, you might as well go for your motorcycle license. Laws vary from state to state. Most require you to be 16 and have a driver’s license. However, many states raised the age to 18 or 21.

Hashtags: #16yearolddriver, #motorbike, #driversed

Capture4

5. Sweet driver’s license cake!

What goes great with turning 16 and getting a driver’s license? Cake! That is what makes this celebration so awesome!

Hashtags: #omg, #teendriver, #driverslicense, #cake, #yummy, #driversed, #drivingtest, #driversprep

Capture5

6. #victorydance

What would a driver’s license be without a little bit of dancing? Nothing! That is what it would be if you asked the newest member of the driving club rocking it out to Justin Bieber.

Hashtags: #victorydance, #teendriver, #driverseat

7. New driver kits

Capture7The next way to celebrate your new-found freedom is with a driver’s kit for your new car. Ask your parent for a kit, so you are prepared for those long road trips and nighttime drives.

Hashtags: #teendriver #sharingtheroad #drivesafely #testquestions #driversed #drivingtest #driversprep #driversseat

8. Let’s take this license off road

What better way to celebrate your driver’s license than to (safely) take a turn at an off-road vehicle? Now that you have your license, it’s time to explore all it can do for you!

Hashtags: #teendriver, #offroad, #drivesafely, #driversseat

Capture8

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments closed

Car Insurance 101: Car Insurance for the First-Time Driver

Purchasing car insurance for the first-time driver can be a headache. There is a lot of information you’ll need in order to make the best decisions, so let’s start here at the beginning with Car Insurance 101.

Car Insurance 101 Infographic Describing Car Insurance Requirements for First-Time Drivers

Car Insurance 101

 

 

Read More »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments closed

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled over’ Marks Beginning of Dangerous Fall Driving Season

'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' Campaign Launches in Time for Back to SchoolYou know what time it is, parents. You’re likely out purchasing back-to-school supplies and ironing out bus schedules. But it’s also time to have that annual talk with your teen: drinking and driving is illegal. It’s not rocket science, but getting your teenager to understand the consequences can be pretty difficult. But time is of the essence: for the next several weeks, law enforcement agencies across the country will be on high alert for intoxicated drivers.

The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign begins Aug. 15 and ends on Labor Day, Sept. 3. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Labor Day is one of the deadliest holidays of the year, due to an increase of drunk drivers on the road.  That is why, during this time, NHTSA and local law enforcement agencies have teamed up to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence and to increase enforcement efforts with a zero-tolerance policy.

Be Part of the Team: Educate Your Teen About Driving Under the Influence

Nothing is scarier than the thought of your teen out on the open road. One of the biggest fears parents of teen drivers have is getting the call that their child has been in an accident. Add worries about alcohol into the mix and it’s no wonder parents are kept up at night, pacing as curfew approaches. By educating your teen, you can set at least some of your worry aside and reduce the risk of their involvement in a drunk driving related accident. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign presents the perfect opportunity to talk to your teen about the dangers and costs of driving under the influence.

3 Alarming Facts to Share With Your Teen Driver

There are severe, long-lasting consequences of driving while intoxicated.

  1. Driving under the influence continues to kill thousands. Nearly 10,500 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2016.
  2. ANY amount of alcohol impairs driving ability. Even a blood alcohol content of .02 can impair your judgement and reduce visual functions and the ability to do two things at once.
  3. Legal fees and fines associated with DUIs can reach up to $10,000.

Reduce the Risk by Having a Plan

The good news is that drunk driving fatalities are preventable and teenage drinking and driving is in decline. However, it is still a prevalent problem with 1 in 10 high school teens drinking and driving. Having a plan in place can help your teen stay safe.

Even the most responsible teen can get into situations they didn’t intend. Be sure to talk to your teen driver about what to do if they have been drinking, if a friend of theirs has been drinking, or if they spot a driver on the road that appears to be driving under the influence.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments closed

Preparing to Become a New Driver: Which States Require Drivers Ed?

State Requirements for New Drivers: Which States Require Drivers EdDriving is overwhelming for many new teen drivers. In fact, that’s the case for many adult drivers as well. Having to learn traffic rules and signs is terrifying and may seem complicated, especially when teens are trying to retain large amounts of information from so many sources. Throw in the added fear of veering or swerving into the neighboring lane when driving, and many new drivers become reluctant ever to step foot behind the wheel.

Drivers education courses are an excellent way for teens to learn the rules of the road from licensed professionals, geared with the knowledge to train them. Not only are these courses beneficial, but in many states, but they required training for all new drivers.

Why Take a Drivers Ed Course?

If it isn’t necessary in your state, you might be asking yourself why you’d spend the time and money to take a drivers ed course. Drivers education is an excellent resource for teens preparing for their driving exam. In many states, rules are complex and often difficult to remember. And, for some teens, the thought of parallel parking causes fear which hinders their ability to perform well during their exam. Licensed and certified driving instructors have seen it all and trained students at all skill levels so that they can help you as well.

Apart from helping teens relax, some benefits of drivers ed courses include:

  • Teaching teens road signs and traffic laws
  • Teaching them defensive driving habits so they are alert and ready for anything they encounter on the road
  • Possibly reducing insurance premiums (in some states)
  • Giving teens more confidence in their skills, since they’re practicing the skills with a licensed professional.

The high rate of accidents which are caused by 15-18-year old drivers is remarkable. Studies indicate that states requiring drivers ed courses can help novice drivers remain safer behind the wheel, and help minimize the total number of traffic accidents in this age range.

Is Drivers Ed Required in My State?

Every state has its own set of rules as it relates to drivers ed courses. Today, 32 states require teens to take drivers ed before they can sit in for the written and driving exam to get their drivers license. In some states, the requirement is only for teens age 14-18 who are sitting in for the exam. In others, all new drivers are required to take an educational training course. There are also rules in place for states that don’t have a drivers ed program requirement. For example, in Alaska, teens must have 40-hours of driving experience, with a licensed adult, before they can take their exam.

It is important to get additional information from your state’s DMV office to know the hour requirements for classroom and driving training before you can get your license.

Should You Participate in Drivers Ed If It Isn’t Required?

Yes! Students will only benefit from the training and instruction a licensed driver education instructor provides. They will learn the rules of the road, how to make a 3-point turn, whether or not they can make a U-turn on certain streets, and they’ll receive answers to any other questions they have as new drivers.

Head to DriversEd.com for more details on the requirements mandated by your state, or to sign up for behind-the-wheel driving lessons with our professional instructors. We also offer other support for parents, via Mentor for Families — eDriving’s safe driving app — and through other resources. Read “Supervised Driving Practice: Don’t Just Be a Passenger, Be an Educator,” on DriversEd.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments closed

Parents: Tools to Help Your Teen Resist Using Their Phone While Driving

Parents: Tools to help your teen resist using their phone while drivingTeenagers live an “always-on” lifestyle. Whether calling, texting, using social media or taking selfies, many teens barely go a few minutes without tapping away on their phone.

A 2016 survey revealed that 50% of teenagers felt addicted to their mobile devices, and 78% check their phones every hour. More than 70% of teens said they felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, social media notifications, and instant messaging. Another Pew Research Center report found that 24 percent of surveyed teens said they were online “almost constantly.”

How Does an ‘Always-On’ Lifestyle Affect Teens While They Are Driving?

This fast-paced way of life has manifested itself in dangerous driving behavior, according to a study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

Nearly half of teens reported texting more when alone in the car. One-third admitted to taking their eyes off the road when an app notification came in, and the majority (88%) who considered themselves to be “safe” drivers reported using apps while behind the wheel.

A surprising finding was who teens were texting while driving: their parents! The survey found that teens felt their own parents – more than anyone else – expected immediate replies to texts. Fifty-five percent of the teens reported texting while driving to update parents, with 19% believing their parents would expect a reply to a text within just ONE MINUTE.

Educate Your Teen to Resist Distracted Driving

Are you a parent who panics at the mention of “supervised driving practice”? Here’s a suggestion: Look at it as a great opportunity.Sometimes, basic solutions are the most effective. Below, we highlight some everyday reasons your teen might pick up their phone while driving and give simple solutions – the tools your teen needs – to address these.

1. Your teen…IS TEXTING YOU
As mentioned above, some teens use phones while driving to update their parents. Yes, it is worrying when you have a newly licensed teen driver and it’s natural to request updates when they’re out and about. But, give them the tool to do this safely.

The tool to help your teen: Make it clear that your teen must never update you while driving. Not a ‘quick’ text while stopped in traffic, not a ‘quick’ call, even on hands-free. Ask your teen to get in touch when they have arrived at their destination or are stopped in a place where it is safe and legal to use their phone. And parents, never text or call your teen when you know they are driving.

2. Your teen…KNOWS NO DIFFERENT
Teens sometimes behave the way they have seen others – often their parents – do things. For example, your teen may drive with their cell phone on the passenger seat because they’ve seen you do this too.

The tool to help your teen: Model the correct behavior – phone on silent and away in the glovebox! Insist everyone in your family does this. Note that hands-free phones do NOT reduce risk, because research shows they do not reduce cognitive distraction.

3. Your teen…THINKS A QUICK GLANCE IS OK
All teens know they shouldn’t use a phone while driving. Most teens are aware of the reason for this. But, does your teen fully understand what they will NOT SEE by taking a quick glance at their phone?

The tool to help your teen: Give a practical demonstration. Ed Dubens, General Manager and Executive Vice President, eDriving FLEET, has a great tip:

“Next time you are in a car with your teen as a passenger, ask them to pick a moment to imagine they are driving, to take a final look around before closing their eyes and counting three seconds – 1,000 and 2,000 and 3,000, and then to open their eyes and see how far you have traveled and how the scene around has changed – scary!”

4. Your teen…FEELS SINGLED OUT
Teenagers sometimes feel they are being asked to do something that no one else does – driving safely is one example. Your teen sees others engaging in risky behavior that seems socially acceptable, so why shouldn’t they?

The tool to help your teen: Empower your teen. After all, what’s really so bad about valuing their own life and the lives of their friends too? Encourage them to make a pledge to drive safe – do this across the whole family and across your teen’s peer groups too. Any friend who isn’t willing to drive safe or ride safely as a passenger must not travel with your teen.

5. Your teen…JUST CANNOT RESIST
We know teens have a fear of missing out. So, even after discussing the risks and putting suitable consequences in place, you may still worry that your teen is going to find it difficult to resist using their phone at the wheel. This is not a risk worth taking.

The tool to help your teen: It may sound ironic, but technology can actually help prevent your teen being distracted by technology! Many organizations, including cell phone companies, have “apps” that help disable a phone while driving. These are not fool proof but – combined with your efforts to encourage your teen to avoid distractions – they can be a useful addition to the toolbox.

Our app, Mentor for Families by eDriving, works as a personal coach for new drivers. After installing the app on your mobile device, it runs during each trip you make, tracking things like speed, braking, and any contact you make with your phone. It’s perfect for the whole family; mom and dad can test their own skills, while monitoring their teen’s learning progress. Your teen will learn to be a safer driver from day one!

Dubens added: “Most parents will be aware of how dangerous it is to drive distracted but might not know what to do to tackle the problem beyond talking with their teen and establishing rules and consequences. They may not have considered the small, practical ways in which they can help. By highlighting some of the everyday reasons for teenagers using their phones while driving and offering simple solutions, we are demonstrating that, with the correct tools, parents can have a big impact on the driving behavior of their teens.”

Continue Your Education

smart driving capture

Fine tune your family’s driving skills by using our SMART Driving Guide, a new tool that takes you through 15 principles to keep you crash-free behind the wheel. By using this guide, you and your teen will learn how to:

  • Avoid a collision in almost any situation
  • Stay focused at all times behind the wheel
  • Utilize the most important safety technology in your car—your brain

Ninety-four percent of collisions are a consequence of a driver’s attitude or behavior. That means that to be a safe driver, you need to be a smart driver.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments closed

Guest Post: Should Parents be Teaching Their Teens How to Drive?

Mentor for Families by eDriving, is a new mobile app that allows you to stay involved with your teen’s driving when you can’t be there in person.This post is written by Sheila Dunn, Communications Director, National Motorists Association. View the original post on the NMA blog here.

Our son will soon turn 16 and he has no interest in learning how to drive yet. I’m relieved. I don’t want to teach him how to drive especially since I drive a stick shift. It doesn’t help that I’m not really the best role model of driving. I’m a safe driver and never text and drive for example but I admit I have been known to become pretty irate with a tailgater or someone who turns in front of me and makes me brake hard. I use my horn a lot.

Many media outlets have written about there being no teen car culture anymore. Most teens, my son included, prefer building friendships online rather than face-to-face. It seems to me that this generation of teens has no desire to hurry up and become adults. I see that in my own son. And maybe that’s okay.

When I was his age, I didn’t feel I had a choice. My mother wanted me to learn how to drive so I could become the after-school chauffeur for my younger siblings.

At that time, I didn’t have to worry about a graduated driver’s license program. In fact, I didn’t even take driver’s ed because I wanted to save that half of a high school credit. I didn’t pass my driver’s test the first time because I couldn’t parallel park. I lived out in the country and that was something we never needed to do. In my hometown, you could park in a space on Main Street and you just needed to know how to back up.

Very few high schools teach driver’s ed anymore. The courses are gone due to budget cuts. Most were taught by a teacher who had extra hours and did not necessarily have any special training. Now, beginning drivers can take online courses, attend driving school or be taught by their parents or guardians.

Teens between the ages of 16 and 18 must now go through their state’s graduated driver’s licensing program, usually completed in three stages: permit stage, probationary stage and fully licensed. In the permit stage, they are permitted to drive with adult supervision (over 25 and usually with a parent or guardian) and in many states must log anywhere between 30 to 50 hours of practice.

I started driving in the pasture when I was 14 and then my mom supervised my road driving maybe a few times from there. But she would never have had the time or inclination to spend 50 hours of logged practice with me and her other children.

Should parents really be the ones to teach their kids how to drive?

I lived in Germany for a number of years and if you wanted to learn how to drive (beginning at 18), you went through a six-month driving school course and learned from trained professionals who worked with you in all aspects of driving practice. No pathos, no drama, no tension…just driving.

In my experience, Germans are undoubtedly the best drivers in the world. They know how to navigate a roundabout, how to execute a zipper merge properly and can even drive their finely tuned engines over 120 KM on the Autobahn. And most importantly of all, German drivers universally practice lane courtesy – keeping right except to pass or exit. This is all due to learning how to drive the right way in a professional driver’s education course.

Now, some states mandate that parents must attend a driver’s education class before they can teach their kids. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Northern Virginia require that parents or guardians take a two-hour class about the rules and restrictions their teen drivers will face before they can get a license. In Texas, and probably a number of other states, a parent has to declare to the state that you will be the one teaching your kid how to drive.

Why do I feel like a huge rock is on top of me? All these regulations and mandate suck the fun right out of learning how to drive for everyone involved.

Driving, of course, is a learned skill and an important one. It is one of those basic skills every child should learn such as typing. But with all the hoops one has to jump through now, is it any wonder many teens have little interest in learning how to drive?

I will not teach my son how to drive. I’ll leave that to the professionals, when he’s ready of course.

While some states have made parental involvement in drivers education a requirement, not all follow suit. Head to DriversEd.com to see what the requirements are for your state, or to sign your teen up for behind-the-wheel driving lessons. We also offer other support for parents, via Mentor for Families — eDriving’s safe driving app — and through other resources. Read “Supervised Driving Practice: Don’t Just Be a Passenger, Be an Educator,” on DriversEd.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments closed