It seems that younger and younger kids are beginning to drive each year. And it’s understandable; teenagers crave independence. They don’t want to rely on their parents anymore to drive them to their friend’s houses, or to the mall, or even to school.
And once you understand the fact that this independence is normal and universal, you can allow your kids to start the process of learning how to drive. The best part is, that there are resources available so that you don’t have to teach your own kids. Other people get to do that.
Wondering what the minimum driving age is? Want to know how your kids can begin their quest to become safe, legal drivers as soon as possible? Keep reading for answers to all your teen driving-related questions.
When Should Kids Learn to Drive?
While children need to wait until they reach a certain age before they can officially start driver’s training, they can start learning the basics even earlier. While you technically shouldn’t let them operate your car without a driving permit, you can do so on your own property if you have space.
A better idea, however, is to teach them the basics in a golf cart, a UTV or ATV, or even a dirt bike or moped. Any type of vehicle that they can legally operate as a young teenager will offer them practical experience as to how cars work and how to operate them.
So if you’d like to play a part in their driver education, get them behind the wheel of a safe, legal vehicle. They will learn that vehicles accelerate a little bit automatically, without pressing the gas pedal.
They’ll learn how to accelerate and decelerate, as well as proper braking techniques. They can learn to multitask when driving, which will radically improve their experience when they start drivers training with an instructor.
What’s the Minimum Driving Age?
Okay, so they want to begin their actual driver’s training, so they can get their license and start driving on the road. How old do they have to be to start driving?
In many states, the age to get a learner’s permit is 15 and a half, which will allow them to start on-road training. Some states, such as Michigan, allow drivers as young as 14 years and 8 months to get started. You’ll need to check your state’s specific requirements.
The age to get a license is at least 15, and in some states, 16.
How to Get a Driving Permit
The first step for teens to get a learner’s permit. To do this, a future driver will need to signup for a driver’s class. Each state has different requirements for the class regarding a minimum number of hours of instruction.
Some classes may be offered online or in person. At the end of the class, the student will need to pass a written test.
Once the student passes this class and receives the permit, otherwise known as a level one license in some states, they can begin on-road driver’s training. They can sign up with an authorized school to begin driving with a certified instructor.
Students will need to drive a specified number of hours with the instructor before they begin driving with parents and guardians.
How to Get a Driver’s License
After completing the requirement for driving with an instructor, the student will need to pass a practical driving test. This is often completed by the state, though in some areas, third-party companies can facilitate the test as well.
Students will need to drive around with an examiner who will simply tell you what to do, not how to do it. It’s up to the student to follow best driving practices in order to pass the test.
The test may include driving on the freeway or parallel parking. If the student passes the test, they will receive their driver’s license.
The license will still be limited, however. For the first six to 12 months, drivers may be limited to who can have in the vehicle, how many passengers are allowed, or at what time of day they can drive.
Tips for Young Drivers
Getting your teenagers licensed doesn’t come without risk. Accidents involving teen drivers are common, due to lack of driving experience and the amount of distraction involved with driving. Here are some tips to ensure your teen is safe and responsible on the road.
Getting the Right Car
Having the right vehicle is critical for success and safety. You want your child to have a car with reliable safety features, easy handling, and ideally a crash avoidance system. You can learn more about the best cars for new teen drivers here.
Make Them Pay for the Car
It’s best not to buy your teenager a car. If they have to pay for the car themselves, they are going to value it much more. At the very least, your kid should have to pay for half of their first car.
That means they need to get a job and work for many months before they finally own their own vehicle. They will naturally be more cautious, responsible drivers as they don’t want to ruin the car they worked so hard to buy.
And when the car needs maintenance or repairs, they should have to pay for it themselves. They need to learn that safe driving leads to saved money.
Learning Basic Maintenance
Kids should also know basic maintenance. They should know how cars function and operate. Knowing why clean engine oil is important can affect how they operate the vehicle.
Have your teen driver learn how to change the oil, inspect and fill the tires, charge the battery, replace a tire, and so forth. Doing so will make them much more competent on the road.
Put Them on the Right Path
Now that you know the minimum driving age and the requirements for getting your teenager licensed, you can put them on the path to becoming a safe, legal driver.
Remember, the more involved you are in that process, the more you can ensure they are safe, responsible, and understand the rules of the road.
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