The inevitable time for your teen wanting to learn how to drive is fast approaching. Maybe you’re already at that point. While you may be relieved of chauffeuring your teen around — and even more relieved that they won’t hitch rides with friends as often — you still worry about their safety.
Thankfully, there are Drivers Education courses out there that heavily stress the importance of safe, sober, and cell-phone-free driving — and some of them are even online!
Does online Driver’s Ed make sense for our family?
The Driver’s Education process varies by state. In some states, teen aren’t even required to take the course. DMV.org has all the state policies listed here so you can get an idea of what your requirements are. If your state requires classroom instruction time, we have good news! You don’t necessarily have to inconvenience your teen (or yourself) by driving them to and from in-person classes that clash with your schedules. These days, teens don’t even have to put their phones away. They can take a course right on their phones!
First you’ll want to check if your state allows Driver’s Education online. Once you’ve confirmed it’s been approved, take some time with your teen to compare providers. Some companies like DriversEd.com or Aceable have a mobile app and offer the course in a format that can be taken on-the-go.
I know what you’re thinking. Online courses can’t be as effective as in person classes. That’s not necessarily true! Most online courses are designed with teens in mind to keep them engaged. You can read ratings and reviews online to find a great provider.
Online courses also eliminate the uncertainty of whether an in-person instructor will cover all the necessary information. If your state doesn’t require Driver’s Ed, your teen can make the decision on whether or not
to use the online component as supplemental learning before taking the test. We also love these free practice tests for teens who are feeling nervous about failing the written test.
What about driving practice behind the wheel?
After your teen passes the permit test, you can expect them to pester you and drop hints about wanting to start behind-the-wheel practice ASAP. Some hesitancy on your end is normal (we know it’s scary!) However, keep in mind that the younger they start driving, the more practice they’ll
get by the time they take the test. Most states require behind-the-wheel practice hours regardless of whether they allow online instruction. Depending on your state, practice hours can be completed by driving with a
parent, a paid instructor, or both!
We know there are some things that formal Driver’s Ed leaves out, such as how Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) works, evasive maneuvers, or how to drive a manual transmission. It’s a fact that a basic understanding of how your car works makes you a better driver. Defensive driving courses such as Street Survival, (which teaches how to control the car in unpredictable situations) and continuous learning will undoubtedly strengthen your child’s knowledge and confidence on the road. Parents can do the Street Survival course with their teen, which could make it a fun bonding activity.
If your teen can’t seem to put their phone down, online Driver’s Ed just might be an opportunity to use it for something useful.
Today’s blog post is written by Anna Blair, a freelance writer from Austin, Texas. She loves guacamole, Roman history, and her 2-year old Doberman Pinscher named Catullus. Blair’s nephew used an online Driver’s Ed program, and loved it.