There are more than 27 million licensed drivers in Canada, and each year hundreds of thousands of young people are eligible for a driver’s test. For these young people, gaining experience before obtaining their license is key. Studies show that more experiences on the road will build lifelong safe driving skills. How can these new drivers get the practice they need when driving schools are either hours away in major centres or when pandemic concerns restrict in-vehicle training?
Dr. Randy Flemmer is the creator of the SAFER system of defensive driving and owner of Fleet Safety International, a respected Canadian driver training company. He and his team
have built a new online course as a companion to in-vehicle learning for teens. “Teach Your Teen to Drive“ is an online defensive driving toolkit for parents and guardians to guide their teens through the new driver experience. This brand new online program compiles the most up-to-date rules of the road and driving techniques into 19 modules for real-world driving opportunities.
The program emphasizes that while time with a professional driving school is recommended, not everyone is able to secure professional training to cover Transport Canada’s recommended 120 hours. Because of this, it’s important for parents or guardians to be actively involved in the teaching process to create more opportunities for practice. “Learning to drive and obtaining a driver’s license can be an exhilarating rite of passage in a young person’s life,” says Dr. Flemmer, “and creating lifelong habits and skills in teens is critical.”
Beyond having patience when teaching a teen to drive, Teach Your Teen to Drive‘s curriculum explains the importance of recognizing that regardless of anyone’s knowledge, skill, experience or training, there are some days when we are better drivers than on other days. “We are human, we make mistakes. Recognizing when we are not at our best, and taking action is key… Learning to see the hints and then understanding what actions are needed get back into the moment of driving are important parts of the coaching process.
“We need to help our young drivers develop strong habits to prevent collisions, and teens especially need a flexible approach to learning to drive. Everyone learns in different ways. Parents need to use their existing knowledge, skills and strategies to mentor their teens towards lifelong safe driving habits.”