The day that you’ve been dreading for over 15 years has finally arrived – it’s time for your teenager to start driving. Scary, right? I can’t necessarily blame you. AS a teen learns to drive its enough to make everyone nervous. But your own teen?! Yikes!
Driving is a big responsibility – one that requires hundreds of split-second decisions every time you turn the ignition. Of course, you already knew that. In the meantime, take a deep breath. There are ways for you to be involved with your child’s development as a driver.
Ashlee’s First Time Driving
Your Involvement As You Teen Learns To Drive Is A Good Thing
Fear not, as driver’s ed is not something where you should take a hands-off approach. A recent survey revealed that two-thirds of driving instructors think parents are worse at preparing their teenage children for driving than they were ten years ago. Furthermore, 31 percent said parents do not invest enough time in driver’s education, and 14 percent said they do not practice enough with their teen. 8 percent went as far as to say that parents set a bad example with their own driving. As AAA Director of State Relations Jennifer Ryan stated, “Parents play a major role in keeping our roads safe. Most teens are learning important driving skills from watching their parents and they are picking up bad behaviors along with the good ones. So it’s up to today’s parents to set a good example. It may end up saving their children’s lives.”
Watching as your teen learns to drive isn’t exactly easy, but at least by being involved you can know that their driving will be directly reflective of you. If you put time in to their driver’s education and set a good example, the odds of them implementing this while driving is much greater. Vice versa, this concept is applicable to poor driving habits as well. So, don’t stress about letting your teenager hit the open road just yet. It’s probably best you were still there with them for a while.
Online Driver’s Ed Can Provide The Opportunity For Discussion And Involvement
You may remember attending driver’s education in a classroom, being lulled to sleep and not paying attention. Fortunately, with the introduction of online driver’s ed classes, those times have changed. Online driver’s ed provides an engaging experience that allows students to retain information. While this is a great benefit, online driver’s ed classes impact you due to your involvement in the learning process. Many online drivers ed programs allow parents to monitor their teen’s progress online. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can work through the curriculum with your teen driver at a time that is convenient for both of you.
A growing course, Online Drivers Ed, seeks to involve parents in the education process. Their website was recently re-launched, with a focus on parents. The course lets parents know which areas of the course their teen is successful in, and which areas are lacking. Knowing this allows parents to monitor and shape their teen’s online drivers ed experience, ultimately keeping them safe on the road.
Parent-Taught Driver’s Ed
Perhaps the thought of trusting your son or daughter with another instructor for their driver’s education is too overwhelming to accept. If this is the case, you could explore if your state offers a Parent Taught Driver Education Course which makes it much easier as a teen learns to drive. The state of Texas is one of the states that offer this program. We will explore their program; while your state’s program may vary slightly from Texas’, this will give you guidance and background information. The best way to obtain information regarding your state’s teen driving program is by visiting your state’s DMV.
If this sounds like an alternative you would be interested in, the first step prior to beginning any coursework would be to obtain the Parent Taught Driver Education Packet, provided by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. You are required to pay for the packet, which is a separate cost from the actual price of the course. The packet can take at least three weeks to arrive. Once it arrives, you may begin!
A PTDE course consists of at least 76 hours of instruction time.
- 32 hours are spent in the classroom. The instruction cannot be completed in fewer than 16 calendar days, which amounts to two hours per day.
- 44 hours are in-car instruction. This consists of 7 hours of in-car observation, 7 hours of behind-the-wheel instruction, and at least 30 hours of additional driving practice. This instruction cannot be completed in fewer than 44 days. There is a maximum of one hour of driving per day.
As the instructor, you must have a valid driver license for the preceding three years, and cannot have a conviction for a driving-related offense or six or more points assigned to your driver license.
Also it’s worth noting you will be required to pay for this option. If you thought this would be a free option and would save you from paying for driver’s education, you are unfortunately incorrect. Participating in a PTDE program should not be done for any other reason other than you feel you exclusively are the one that can maximize your child’s driving ability and development. The course is available online, providing the same perks and benefits that were mentioned earlier.
You Don’t Have To Let Go Just Yet!
Trusting your teen to be a responsible driver without you present can certainly be intimidating. Find an option that fits both yours and your child’s wants and needs, and help them become a safer, more responsible driver.
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