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My 17-year old teenage son is working on getting his license. Cebastian procrastinated after getting his learner’s permit, but when his friends started getting his license, he got serious. I also started pushing him a bit more because chaffering your kids, especially when they are over 16 years old, around gets old. I’m ready for him to run errands, drive his sister around, and drive ME around.
When I was learning how to drive, I can count on my fingers how many times I drove with my parents in the car. I also remember my dad freaking out when he was teaching me how to drive a stick shift, and I couldn’t grasp how to switch the gears. Luckily, my mom had a better approach and had a great trick that in no time, got me used to it. After that, I took a driving class, and then I went and got my license. At that time, there were a lot of teenage deaths and injuries due to car accidents. Therefore, I am happy that Virginia has added new requirements for a teenager to get his/her license:
- Has to be in the car with a parent for 45 hours, as well as 15 hours of nighttime driving
- Can’t drive between midnight and 4 AM
- Can’t have more than one person under 21 years old in the car with you for the first year. After that, it goes up to three
As of today, we have ten more hours of driving and six of the nighttime. He is almost there! Here are some ways that have helped me teach my teenage son how to drive and how I keep track of the hours.
1. Check to see if your DMV has a Parent/Teen Driving Guide and follow it
Virginia has a great Parent/Teen Driving Guide on how to teach your teenager how to drive. Check if your state has something similar. We started following it, and I am making sure he knows how to drive in all the situations in the guide.
We started driving around parking lots for the first few weeks. After that, we started driving in neighborhoods. Now, he is driving in busy streets, parking lots, and has started driving on the highway. We have deviated a bit from the guide, but at least it helped get us started. It was nice seeing the progression from a kid who was afraid to step on the accelerator to one that was driving around in neighborhoods.
2. Keep a log using your favorite spreadsheet a
The guide has a tracking sheet to help you log the hours spent in the car with your teenager. In Virginia, you have to track:
- How much time was spent in the car
- How many miles
- How much of the time was driving at night
They do have a tracker in their guide. However, it’s in paper format. I tried using it, but one spilled coffee accident and that was it. Therefore, I decided to switch to an electronic format. Google Spreadsheets worked for me to track the hours Cebastian spent in the car. Below you can get the spreadsheet that I created and used.
3. Use Google Timeline or Similar Tool
I have the Google Maps app on my phone. There are times that I forget to log the minutes we have practiced driving when we get home. Therefore, the best way to keep track of how long your teen drove, and the miles is to use something like Google Timeline. I want to make sure that we drive together for the required time so that he has the practice needed before he starts driving on his own, so this is the best method for me to do this.
How you use it i
Driving with your teen can be nerve-wracking, but you have to remember that it’s worse for him/her. Therefore, you have to keep calm. There are times that he gets too close to other cars or takes the turn too fast, but I just have to
In the beginning,
Please share how driving with your teen has gone or is going!
Featured Photo by Taras Makarenko from Pexels