How to Teach a Teen to Drive in 9 (Mostly) Easy Steps      

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You know that expression about raising kids that says “the days may be long but the years are short”? That never seems truer than when your teenager expresses interest in getting behind the wheel! Seriously, wasn’t it just a few months ago you were changing diapers, playing pattycake, or reading “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” for the umpteenth time?

Well, my fellow mamas, to everything there is a season. Wipe those tears from your eyes and start thinking about how great it will be to have a teenage driver in the house! She can run to the store for a gallon of milk, pick up her little brother from soccer practice, drive you home from 2-for-1 margarita night…well, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, let’s teach her how to operate the ol’ family taxi in just 9 (mostly) easy steps.

Step 1: Take Her Lead

No teen should be pressured to learn to drive, let alone to get her license. If she’s anxious, or if she has shown some developmental delays in the past, don’t force the issue. Let her come to you with the request for driving lessons or a driver’s ed course.

Step 2: Sign Her Up for Driver’s Ed

In some states, a driver’s education class is mandatory. But it’s a good idea even in states that don’t require it. Teens who have had formal education in driving have a lower accident rate and might get a discount on car insurance, too. Of course, it also saves your sanity to have a professional take over this stress-inducing duty.

Step 3: But Take Her Out Yourself

I get it, Mama: you can’t quite relinquish all control in this case. Fair enough. Pick a sunny afternoon and head to the nearest large, empty parking lot for a very simple lesson. A school lot or office park on a Sunday afternoon should be fine. All you’re going to work on today is starting the car, accelerating very gently, and braking.

Teach her how to insert the key into the ignition and turn the car on. Show her which is the brake, and which is the gas. Talk to her about checking her mirrors. Let her drive very, very slowly, then brake gently to a stop. Rinse and repeat until your nerves have had enough.

Step 4: Insist on Safety, Every Single Time

That means both of you wear your seat belt, no matter what. Leave the cell phones at home, or at the very least, turned off and out of reach. Turn off the radio. As your teen’s skills improve, teach her advanced safety lessons like how to drive in snowy weather, or what to do if her car starts hydroplaning in the rain.

Step 5: Keep the Lessons Short

At first, 15 to 20 minutes is plenty of time to let your teen get the hang of being behind the wheel. Don’t take her out for a lesson unless the weather is clear, either — not until you’re sure she can handle a little rain or drive in the dusk.

Step 6: One Thing at a Time

Don’t teach your child how to parallel park, drive in heavy traffic, merge, and make a U-turn all in one lesson. Pick one lesson at a time, and be sure she has mastered that skill before moving on to the next.

Step 7: Watch How You Talk

For starters, stop saying “right” to mean “correct” — that gets confusing fast when you’re a new driver wondering which way to turn! And instead of shouting directions, give your teen plenty of warning about the next step. For example, say “Put on your blinker to signal that you’re turning right when you pass that red house and then start braking for the stop sign ahead.”

Barking orders at your child will only make them more anxious, and it won’t teach them how to think for themselves on the road. Ask questions that will help your teen be aware of the surroundings, like “What’s the speed limit here?” or “What will you do at this upcoming four-way stop?”

Step 8: Make Sure Her Wheels Are Safe

When your child is driving regularly, you’ll want to feel confident in the safety of the car she is using. Reliability and standard safety features should be top of mind, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice her college savings. The classic, affordable Honda Civic is a great choice for a teenage driver, explains Conklin Honda, a Hutchinson KS Honda dealer. According to its website, the Civic “…is widely regarded as an excellent all-rounder, thanks to its unique blend of performance, safety, and reliability. Even the base Civic comes loaded with plenty of features.”

Step 9: Relax!

Yes, having a new teen driver can be a nerve-wracking experience, but millions of people have mastered this skill, and your kid will too. During the months when she is learning, be sure to model good driving behavior. Don’t cut others off in traffic, stop applying lipstick while doing 80 in a 35-mph zone, always buckle up, and never, ever text while driving.

Before you know it, you’ll be the proud parent of a brand-new driver — and you can start enjoying being a passenger once in a while!




  1. Very useful for the people, who are planning to teach someone driving.

    Keep sharing such useful information.

    All the best!

    South Norwood Airport Taxis & Minicabs

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