Teen Drivers

Any parent of a newly permitted or licensed driver knows that letting your teenager get behind the wheel alone can be a stressful time. They are excited... and you are likely terrified.

So, what can you do to help teens be the most successful drivers they can be?


Teach early & often

  • Start teaching kids about safe driving habits early, before they are even old enough to take their permit classes if possible. Knowing more about safety is never a bad thing, and giving them extra lessons while watching you drive can provide a foundation of good driving habits.
  • Be a good driver yourself. It goes without saying that if you want your children to listen to your advice and be a good driver, you have to provide a good example for them to follow.
  • Don't skimp on logging the permit hours. During their permit period they must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult who certifies the number of hours they have driven. The best thing you can do during this time is to not add an extra 5 or 10 minutes here and there, because it adds up. Teens can only get driving experience by driving more, and the time they are required to drive with an adult is the best way to get that experience. Let them drive more than the required number of hours, starting with smaller-length trips in nice weather. Work up to longer drive times, and light rain or snow as they get more comfortable.

Make sure they know these safe-driver basics:

  • Always wear your seatbelt and make sure all passengers do too
  • DON'T SPEED! Getting where you're going 1 minute sooner isn't worth the risk
  • Hands off your cell phone!
  • Don't tailgate, and try to ignore people who tailgate you. Don't feel pressured to drive faster than you are comfortable
  • Don't drive drunk, or buzzed, or sleepy
  • Pay attention: know what traffic in all directions is doing while driving and at intersections

Make sure you know where they are going and when they will arrive. When they are first driving on their own, set boundaries for how far or how often you are comfortable with them driving by themselves. If they don't respect those boundaries, or you are worried they are driving unsafely, consider only letting them drive with you in the vehicle for another period of time. Minnesota state law also limits the number of passengers they can have for their first year of driving, so make sure you know who their passengers will be.

Consider a phone app to help monitor their driving habits. This could provide an incentive for them to drive safely and give you peace of mind. Technology is abundant with apps and devices making driving safer for operators of any age. Consider researching any of these apps for use in your household:

LifeSaver App features: Blocks the ability to use your phone while driving, automatically lets loved ones know when you've arrived safely at your destination, and offers a rewards system that parents can set up to help reward good driving habits.
AT&T DriveMode App features: Automatically turns on when the vehicle reaches 15MPH, silencing incoming alerts and phone calls, automatically replying to text messages that you are currently driving.
Mojo/True Motion Family App features: Automatically turns on when the vehicle reaches 15MPH, silencing incoming alerts and phone calls, automatically replying to text messages that you are currently driving.

How do I know when my teen is ready to drive alone?

  • Has my teen had enough practice, in varying conditions, so we are both confident with my teen's ability to handle challenging situations?
  • Has my teen shown the ability to detect hazards and react to them quickly?
  • Have I noticed that scanning for hazards has become a habit for my teen?
  • Does my teen always wear a seat belt and remind others to do so?
  • Does my teen avoid using a cell phone or text messaging while driving?
  • Does my teen wait to pull over to handle distractions or situations that take his or her eyes away from the road? Do I think my teen will act the same way when I'm not in the car?
  • Does my teen speed or drive aggressively?
  • Will my teen know to pull over if upset, frustrated, or angry?
  • Has my teen exhibited responsibility in other areas of his or her life and do I trust him or her to drive a car responsibly?
  • Has my teen agreed to these important driving rules?
    • Use seat belts on every trip, driver and passengers
    • Don't use cell phones or electronic devices while driving
    • Stay within the posted speed limits
    • Don't ride as a passenger with an unlicensed or inexperienced teen driver

See the full article here: https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/auto-and-vehicles/teen-driving-101-a-stepbystep-test-of-essential-skills

Website links for teen drivers.
The following websites can be helpful for you and your teens to read, giving them tips, tools and knowledge about vehicles and driving.

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