Teaching your teenager to drive is a complicated process and every teen is different. Some kids ask for frequent lessons. Some are less interested in lessons and simply want to pass the test so they can enjoy their newfound independence. Let us help you answer the question “How many hours of driving lessons should I give my teen before the test?”
Why You Need to Teach Your Child to Drive One-on-One
If it’s within your budget, you may be tempted to hire a driving school to teach your teen to drive. Our advice is: DO IT! Training from an experienced driving instructor is extremely valuable and will teach your teenager important skills and lessons. There is no replacement for professional driver education.
However, to be clear, we believe that teen driver training is most effective when combined with one-on-one practice with a loved one. Studies show that with more practice, and varied practice in different environments, new drivers become better at driving safely1. If someone familiar is teaching them during these practice hours, they may feel more comfortable asking questions when a message isn’t clear to them.
If you’re worried about repeating the same lessons that a driving instructor already taught, just remember that repetition can be a powerful tool. Every time we remember something we strengthen the connection to it, so hearing a lesson multiple times may improve a teen’s chances of absorbing that information – even if the lesson is interrupted with an exclamation of “Yeah, I already know that!”
And, believe it or not, teaching your teen to drive can create an incredible opportunity to connect and build trust with your teen. Never underestimate your teenager – they may impress you with their insight and determination.
Recommendations For How Many Hours of Driving Lessons
Our driving experts recommend a time commitment of 3 to 5 hours per week for 2 to 6 months.
As for provincial government recommendations in Canada, there are no strict rules for how many hours one must practice before he or she can go on to the road test. Some provinces provide recommendations, such as:
British Columbia’s ICBC recommends 60 hours of practice2
Saskatchewan’s SGI recommends at least 36 hours of practice2
Manitoba’s Driver Z program recommends 100 hours of practice2
Based on the variation in these recommendations, it’s safe to say there’s not a hard rule across all provinces – and in fact, there have been studies that have shown that not only is the quantity of practice important, but also practicing in a wide variety of environments1. So, we recommend exposing your teen to a variety road types.
Time Inside the Vehicle vs. Time Outside the Vehicle
Now that you’ve read the previous section you may be wondering “How am I supposed to hop in a car with my teen driver for SIXTY HOURS?” We don’t blame you. It can be scary to think of being in a car with an inexperienced driver for so long.
However, consider that these practice hours can include time in a stationary vehicle. Start by reviewing all the buttons, dials, levers and pedals. Talk about how the engine and brakes work and review any safety features of your car. Let him or her adjust the seats and mirrors. We have sections in our Teach Your Teen to Drive course that are dedicated to covering these activities and will provide you with the lesson plan to get started.
No Need to Overdo It: Addressing Fatigue in During Practice
Your teen may be juggling school, homework, after school activities, and even a part-time job or volunteer role. If you have a teen who wants to practice constantly, remind him or her that everyone needs to rest. In order to learn most effectively, new drivers must take time to recharge between driving sessions. Have a conversation about impaired driving with your teen and explain that if a driver is overtired or distracted, it can create deadly situations on the road. Remind them that it’s every driver’s responsibility to choose not to drive while impaired by fatigue, including yours.
Once you’re on the road with your teenager, watch for signs that they’re tired and take frequent breaks. Encouraging or allowing your teenager to practice even while they’re exhausted can send the wrong message. Be sure you are setting a good example for your young driver.
Now that you have the information to build your own teaching schedule, it’s time to get started. Buy the flexible online course for Canadian parents of teens, only $74.99 CAD. Click here.
2 Based on data gathered February 2021. This information may change and may no longer be current when you are reading this, so please double-check for yourself before determining how many hours of driving lessons are needed.