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Learning to Drive

Getting in the car with your teen at the wheel can seem nerve-racking. As a parent it can be hard to give up the wheel and move to the passenger seat, but your child’s safest time driving is with you or another trusted adult closely supervising. The least safe? The first 6 to 12 months of driving alone, without you along for the ride. With you as driving practice supervisor and your teen working as a team, dedicating the time and patience to the process, you will make the learning-to-drive process both rewarding and effective. You will not only help your teen become a safe, skilled driver, but also may forge a closer bond.

According to a CHOP study that surveyed 945 parents of newly-licensed drivers, 61 percent practiced 50 or more hours with their teen drivers. Although the majority of parents surveyed found making time for practice driving challenging, they still chose to do it. It's best to log at least 65 hours of supervised driving practice, but preferably much more, before your teen earns a probationary license.

To begin, learn all that you can about the learning-to-drive process, as well as the importance of setting rules and monitoring for the first year of independent driving. Each state has different provisions for when and how teens can obtain a permit and license, as well certain restrictions that must be followed for the first 6 to 12 months of driving alone. These provisions are part of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL). GDL has been proven to be effective in reducing crash risk by giving young drivers increasing privileges over time. This approach allows time for them to gain experience under safer conditions before they drive under more risky conditions. Parents should follow and enforce these guidelines when setting rules and monitoring their teen’s driving activities. It’s the law, but it’s also a smart choice for safety.

There are many important skills your teen will need to master, and we have the resources to help you supervise practice driving in this special section.

Watch a video for tips on communicating with your teen.

Getting Started

Download the TeenDrivingPlan
Practice Guide

Download the TeenDrivingPlan Goal Guide

Download the TeenDrivingPlan
Logging and Rating Tool

Further reading:

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