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Is Your Teen Ready to Drive Alone?

The learner phase of GDL provides a minimum amount of protected time for a teen to practice driving under the supervision of a parent or other qualified adult. However, it is up to both the adult and the teen to use this time effectively.

Before your teen gets a driver's permit, talk about the various stages of licensure and revisit the topic throughout the supervised driving process. Explain that the behind-the-wheel test is not a given and that he or she must demonstrate maturity and skill before permitted to take it. Include your teen in these decisions, and solicit, listen, and acknowledge his or her input. Use these discussions to help develop your teen’s self-evaluation skills.

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. For specific guidance in supervising drives to achieve certain goals, download the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide, an interactive resource designed to help parents effectively supervise their teens' driving practice. 

When you're confident your teen is ready to drive alone, continue to monitor his or her driving activities and to ride along as a passenger to support safe driving behaviors and provide guidance in difficult driving situations like in heavy city traffic and in construction zones. Developing driving competence takes time. Stress that you are always around to answer questions and to help in any way.

To learn more, download TeenDrivingPlanTip Sheet: The Intermediate Period.

Is Your Teen Ready to Drive Alone?

Download the TeenDrivingPlan
Practice Guide

Download the TeenDrivingPlan
Goal Guide

Download the TeenDrivingPlan
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