Education & Training

How to Ensure That Your Teen Driver Learns the Principles of Safe Driving

As the parent of a teenager, your child is your treasure. And that treasure is about to zip around in a two-ton whale on wheels. You want your child to be safe and responsible, not only for themselves, but for all of the others on the road who have homes and families to return to.

Developing a safe and responsible driver starts with decisions made by parents like you. It’s crucial to start them off on the right path with the right tools, resources, and support. Here are a few simple ways that you as a parent can ensure your child learns the principles of safe driving.

Hit the Books

Many teens have played enough video games, and maybe even driven small vehicles like go-carts and side-by-side vehicles that they feel ready to hit the road. As a parent, you may also have some level of confidence in your child’s ability to pick up the skill naturally.

But we all know that’s simply not enough preparation! Give your child the opportunity to take a proper driver’s education and driver’s test preparation course.

There may be the temptation to “just pass the test” and get behind the wheel. There is so much more to learn and comprehend about road safety, weather preparedness, and traffic laws than simply studying to pass the limited test parameters.

Your teen is already a full-time student, they are familiar with the study and exam cycle, with the emphasis being on grades and scores. They may be driven to approach driver’s education the same way, as a means to an end. Remind them that unlike calculus, trigonometry, and sentence diagramming, they will use the skills they learn in driver’s ed every single day they get behind the wheel.

Make sure your child studies to learn road rules, safe driving practices, and the things you wish you were taught in driver’s education. Your child’s ability to be a good, safe driver depends on them learning as much as possible in a way they will remember.

Don’t Rush It

As your teen’s excitement builds and they prepare to strike out on their own, they may pressure you into rushing through driver’s education. Stay strong, parents! They need this time to take it slow. They will achieve their best results when they’re free to learn in a safe environment and ask lots of questions.

How comprehensively your teen learns about safe driving practices now could save his/her life later. Ensure your child understands the gravity of operating two tons of machinery on wheels and that a proper education could be the difference between life and death, for them or someone else.

Study and preparation have to be more thorough than simply passing the test. Most student drivers spend approximately 45-50 hours on average learning how to drive. That’s only a little more than the average workweek, and most spend less than 22 hours practicing behind the wheel.

For the best chance at lifelong safety, prepare your teen to be better than the average driver. Take another week or two to thoroughly study and prepare for the upcoming test. It’s worth the time!

Provide Effective Study Resources

The goal of driver’s education is to produce a safe, educated, and prepared driver at the end of their studies. It’s important that as a parent, you take responsibility to ensure your teen has the proper resources to study.

Simply reading a boring, dry textbook will not give your student a comprehensive, conceptual understanding of a thorough driver’s education. Provide engaging driver’s education resources that hold their interest and teach educational concepts in a memorable way.

Your teen may not realize the importance of high-quality driver’s education, but it’s the only way to have the best possible chance of staying safe on the roads.

Be a Driving Role Model

The best teacher for students to learn from is you! They’ll spend more time with you behind the wheel than anyone else. Every trip out in the car is a learning opportunity for them.

Walk them through your decisions, such as why you did or did not pull out into traffic, why you cannot make a certain turn, and when and why you use turn signals. Set a good example for your teen to follow! Don’t use your cell phone to call or text behind the wheel. Set up a phone mount so you’re always hands-free.

Don’t let them see you speeding or running lights or stop signs. Instead, show measured decision-making behind the wheel and demonstrate calm and safe traffic stop interactions. Always wear your seatbelt properly and insist that everyone else in the vehicle do so as well.

You want your child to be a better, safer driver than anyone else on the road. Show them you can do it too!

Discuss Driving Principles, Benefits, and Responsibilities

Driving is not a right your teen will inherit, it’s a privilege they must earn. Have open conversations with your teen and explain the benefits, risks, and responsibilities of driving before they ever start the engine or begin their first class. Make sure they understand their driver’s license is like an agreement that comes with terms they must follow.

Be honest and transparent about the risks involved. When you get behind the wheel, it is not only your life that could be at risk. It is the lives of the ones you care about in the vehicle with you and the lives of others on the road who have families and loved ones, too.

Don’t focus only on the risks! You want to encourage and support your teen that they can do this, they can handle the challenge if they’re properly prepared. A one-sided discussion could backfire and come across as a lecture or make your teen feel as if you don’t trust them or believe in their abilities.

Show them the benefits of driving and the freedoms that come with this privilege. Make sure they know they have your trust and confidence so they get behind the wheel, they can mirror that confidence back and feel ready to take on the challenge.

Enroll Your Teen in an Interactive Course

There are many outdated and impractical driving resources available for driver’s education. You want to ensure your teen studies with current and modern materials. It’s unrealistic to expect your teen to engage and understand boring materials. You want them to remember what they learn!

Decades ago, the only way you could learn how to drive was to attend an in-person class. The instructor would start with textbook and group lessons. Later, the instructor would take them out on the road personally. It was a valuable mentorship!

Unfortunately, this is not how it works today. With more and more teens entering the programs, the classrooms have become a crowded distraction that is usually scheduled at a terribly inconvenient time for parents and students alike.

Today, students have all the flexibility and interactivity that online and mobile courses have to offer. This technology allows students to learn at their own pace and focus on areas where they need to study a bit more.

These online education platforms are entertaining as well as educational and far more effective than traditional classrooms. The driver’s education app from Zutobi was developed to feel like a game where students can earn badges and points to keep track of their progress.

Zutobi’s app also allows students to compete with their friends, adding another layer to their motivation for learning and studying. By taking this gamified approach, students are more engaged and they’re far more likely to remember what they’ve learned.

Reputable resources like Zutobi, and other online driver education players, have made driver’s education and permit test preparation fun and memorable. Look for courses that include everything a driver needs to be successful:

  • A complete overview of the current rules of the road for your state
  • How to perform necessary moving actions like lane changes
  • Tips for navigating hazardous road conditions
  • How to handle themselves in an emergency

If Your Student Isn’t Ready, Don’t Push It

It can be tempting to squeeze driver education into a shorter time span. There are many reasons this isn’t recommended. Your teen is learning something they need to remember for the duration of their driving lives.

Speed study and test preparation won’t give your student a lifetime of understanding. Start at a time when they’re truly ready and allow it to take as long as necessary. Adding the stress of rushing could make your teen feel insecure, uncertain, and more likely to make mistakes.

This is not a driver you want on the road. Make sure your child is prepared, educated, and confident before they drive.

Parents, driving a huge milestone in your teen’s life. But more than that, it’s paving the foundation on which they will drive for the rest of their lives on the road. Set them up for success and give them the best chance at a lifetime of safe driving.


Author Bio: Leo Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Leo founded Zutobi to make world-class driver’s education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.


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