Beginning your teenager’s journey to safe driving
Learning to drive is a huge milestone for anyone. As a parent or guardian of a pre-teen or teenager, you probably have wondered what age is appropriate to start your teen’s driving lessons. In fact, “What age can a teenager drive?” is a common Google query. While the answer to this question in terms of licensing is simply based on the legal requirements for your area, it does open a larger discussion about bringing driving lessons into your teen’s daily life long before they are eligible for their license.
Your child’s driving lessons can start earlier than you may think. Simply discussing your actions as you drive them around can be very helpful to your child when they take their driving test later. Talk to your young passengers about things like checking blind spots, driving laws, road signs, and intersections as you drive. You can also ask your teen for help with basic vehicle maintenance or tasks like filling up the gas tank or wiper fluid. By making these small gestures, you are building your teenager’s confidence with the vehicle and familiarizing them with driving laws.
Another consideration to make while your child is too young for a learner’s license: do you have savings that will cover professional lessons from a driving school? Put money away early so that you have the funds in place to build their skills with a professional instructor once your teen gets their license.
Starting and stopping in the driveway
A private residence can be a great place to learn about blind spots on a vehicle. Adjust the car’s mirrors, then ask your teenager to walk around the vehicle and you will call out when they’re not visible. Then, switch places and have them adjust the mirrors and you walk around the car.
Learning blind spots is a non-negotiable part of learning to drive safely and can save your teenager from serious close-calls or smashed bumpers in the future. This is a great activity for teens when they’re not ready to hit the road yet.
When your teen gets their learner’s license
Upon getting their learners license, you have the option of taking your teen out for more hands-on lessons. Your local laws will dictate the age at which your teen can get his or her learner’s, and it can vary by province. For example, in 2021 you must be at least 16 years old in BC, whereas in Alberta you can get a learner’s license at 14.
You should ask yourself if your teen is mature enough to be safe on the roads. If you are unsure, do you have a safe place to practice nearby? Also ask yourself if you are ready to drive with them. If not, maybe you can ask another experienced driver to help. There are also online lesson plans in our online “Teach Your Teen to Drive” program that will help guide you through the process and will kick-start your confidence as a teacher.
Getting a driver’s license is a big achievement for your teenager. You can begin preparing them for this milestone at any time by safely coaching them early on.