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Is Your Teen Ready to Drive Alone?

Even if your teen has completed the minimum state-required practice hours to acquire a probationary or junior license, this doesn’t mean that she’s ready to drive alone. You and your teen need to honestly assess whether it’s time to safely take the wheel alone or to continue with adult-supervised practice for a longer period of time.

If you think your teen needs more time and practice before driving alone, be clear yet encouraging. Say that the answer isn’t “no.” It’s “not yet.” Explain that it’s a decision for safety, not control.  Discuss what skills need to be worked on and how you will work together to achieve them. Make specific practice times and follow them.

If you know that your teen is going to want to drive to hockey practice after school, practice driving that particular route. Deliberately practice the other routes you know he'll be taking when he gets his full license. This extra practice will help your teen gain experience and familiarity with these “most traveled” routes.  

You may also want to consider using the “Street” or "Satellite" feature of an online mapping tool when planning a trip with your teen. The two of you can virtually “drive” and point out potential hazards or confusing directions along the route you choose to follow. There are several tools available online, such as  MapQuest, or Yahoo! Maps.

When you’re confident your teen is ready to drive alone, continue to monitor his driving activities and to go along for more challenging rides. Developing driving competence takes time. Stress that you are always around to answer questions and to help in any way.

To learn more, download Developing Driving Experience.

Is Your Teen Ready to Drive Alone?

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