It can be a scary time for parents: their teens are ready to get behind the wheel and start driving, experiencing all the freedom and independence the open road can offer. However, while your child is looking forward to driving off into the sunset, all you can think about is all the dangers that he or she could be facing.

Parents have good reason to worry, unfortunately. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, new drivers are eight times more likely to crash or have a close call in the first three months after getting a license. And, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals young people ages 16 to 19 are more at risk for motor vehicle crashes than any other age group. Teens have a tendency to think they are invincible, leading to dangerous situations on the road. This is why it’s so imperative to ensure your teen is a well-rounded, well-informed driver who understands how to stay safe with their newly-found freedom.

What to Look for in a Driving School

Studies show that high-quality teen driving classes combined with proper parental supervision during practice can be the key to preventing car crashes in newly-licensed drivers. There are a few different options available for teen driver training, such as attending driving school through their high school, via online driver’s education courses, or through private driver training programs. Regardless of the method, in Ohio, new drivers are required to complete 24 hours of classroom education and eight hours of behind-the-wheel training.

Each option has advantages and disadvantages. As you begin researching driver’s education programs for your teen, keep the following in mind:

  • Basic training is a must. The school should offer basic training such as traffic laws, operating a vehicle and emergency situations as well as help teens develop safe driving habits and skills for a lifetime. Additionally, the school should utilize up-to-date vehicles in the hands-on driving courses.
  • The driving instructors are true professionals. Make sure the instructors are committed to helping your teen become a safe, confident driver. In other words, if it appears as though the instructor just took the job to earn extra cash, you should steer clear. If you’re not confident in the instruction, move on to the next option.
  • Extra attention is key. Some schools offer education above and beyond state minimum requirements to ensure that teens are as safe as possible on the road, including spending extra time with teens who may need extra training in some areas.
  • The level of parental involvement. There’s no doubt that the way teens learn to drive today is vastly different from when you completed your driver’s education courses. Today, parents take a far more active role in the training process, so it’s important to make sure the driving school you choose sends regular updates. This will help you reinforce their training as you take them out for practice.
  • Get feedback from others. Have conversations with other parents or licensed teen drivers to talk about their driver education experiences. Are the confident the basic course offered through the high school was sufficient, or did the teen fail their driving test a few times? Feedback can help you learn what might be the best option for your own teen.

Drive Team offers comprehensive training programs for teen drivers. Our Performance Based Driver Education (P.B.D.E) is a four-level, state-licensed program that far exceeds Ohio’s minimum requirements for driver education. You’ll feel confident knowing your teen has learned the skills they need to be safe drivers for life. Contact us for more information.