Is My Teen Ready to Drive Alone?  Here's How to Find Out

Most teens think they’re ready to drive just because they are finally old enough.  They can’t wait to get behind the wheel and experience their long-awaited sense of freedom.  So, it’s up to parents to make sure their teen is knowledgeable about the various aspects that go along with being a safe driver.  Millions of safe teenage drivers are on our highways everyday thanks to conscientious parents.

When your teenager is about to receive their driver’s license, review the basics of responsible driving with them.  Even if your teen took a driver’s education course, you want to do your part to keep them safe.  Don’t forget, automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in America.

If you’re wondering, is your teen ready to drive, these tips will help determine whether your teen is prepared to get behind the wheel alone.

 Conduct a Detailed Tour of the Vehicle

Keeping the vehicle between the lines is not the only thing a teen needs to learn about driving.  They must be knowledgeable about the vehicle and its many controls and features.  Make sure your teen knows how to properly operate the following:

  • Mirror adjustments
  • Dash controls
  • Steering wheel adjustments
  • Seat adjustments
  • Headlights
  • Wipers
  • Seat belts
  • Parking brake
  • Emergency lights
  • Warning indicators

You should also show your teen where the insurance card, registration, and vehicle manual are stored.

 Ride With Your Teenage Driver as an Observer

You don’t want to make your child uncomfortable, but it’s a good idea to take a test run together to observe them in action.  

Is my teen ready to drive?  Find out by paying attention to how your teen performs these things:

  • Pays attention to their surroundings.
  • Checks the mirrors.
  • Accelerates smoothly.
  • Follows at a safe distance.
  • Brakes smoothly to a gradual stop.
  • Uses turn signals properly.
  • Follows the speed limit.
  • Uses proper turning lanes.
  • Merges into traffic safely.

Being a safe driver is not something that comes naturally.  All drivers are responsible for familiarizing themselves with traffic rules and practicing them.  Likewise, teens can become safe drivers with the right education, encouragement, and guidance.  The above precautions go a long way in helping teens drive safely. 

 Can Teenage Drivers Handle Difficult Driving Conditions?

Although it takes time to become a skilled driver, no one ever knows when they will encounter a challenge on the road.  Things like sudden weather changes or road work can be dangerous for even the most skilled driver.  So, you want to be sure your teen is capable of handling difficult conditions while driving.  Share things you’ve learned about the following driving hazards:

  • Driving with several passengers.  Your teen has adjusted to having you as a passenger, but will new or multiple passengers cause anxiety or tension?  It’s not easy to stay focused on the road when passengers are laughing and playing loud music.  It may be helpful to have your teen practice driving with two or more people in the car.
  • Changes in lighting.  Certain times of the day can be challenging for drivers.  For instance, when driving during sunrise and sunset, bright sunlight will shine right in the driver’s eyes.  Furthermore, streetlights and headlights don’t dispel the reduced light during dusk.  Ride along as your teen practices driving during these challenging conditions.
  • Bad weather conditions.  It’s a good idea to ride with your teen during different weather conditions so they can gain from your experience.  Go for a drive with your teen in the rain, fog, snow, sleet, or windy days.  Your tips or suggestions will aid your teen’s learning.

If you think your teen needs more practice before driving alone, trust your instincts.  Parents helping teens drive safely will ensure that others on the roadways are protected as well.

Final Checklist Before Letting Your Teen Drive Alone

First, be sure to talk about what to do in the event of an accident. Discussion points should include information about when to call the police, ambulance, and insurer.

You also want to stress the importance of not texting while driving. It is considered driver negligence or distracted driving and can result in your teen being found at fault after an accident.  

Make sure your teen knows it’s the driver’s responsibility to remind all passengers to buckle up.  Helping teens drive safely includes ensuring that they take the privilege seriously.

Don’t assume your teen’s friends will be respectful passengers.  They may try to bring beer, marijuana, or other substances along.  Your teen needs to know the consequences of having alcohol or drugs in a vehicle.  As the driver, your teenager has the right and the responsibility to refuse to have these substances in the vehicle.

Sandifer Auto Insurance Protects Teenage Drivers

Auto insurance for teenagers can be expensive, especially for male teens.  If you have a teen who is ready to start driving, Sandifer Insurance can help you find affordable rates.  We work with many major insurance companies and will compare rates and coverages to get the best insurance for your family.  

You’ve gone through all the steps to help your teen become a safe driver.  The next step is to trust Sandifer to make sure your teen is properly insuredContact us by phone, email, or online to get a no-obligation, free quote.


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