School’s out and now your teenager wants to learn to drive – in your car. In 2012, approximately 47,000 B.C. teens (age 16 to 19) got their learner’s licence.
While the idea of having another licensed driver in the house can be exciting, this rite of passage can also be a stressful time for parents. Driving is particularly risky for new drivers because they lack experience. Not only are they more prone to crash but on average, 30 per cent of crashes involving new drivers results in an injury or fatality.
Here are ICBC’s tips to help you teach your teen how to drive safely:
- Set a good example: Driving lessons start much earlier than you may realize – your children observe your actions and attitude from a very young age. Most driving slip-ups result from distractions so set a good example by not doing anything that takes your mind from the road whether it’s a cell phone, food, coffee or make-up. When your teen’s in the learner stage, they’ll get a copy of ICBC’s Tuning up for Drivers guide with their licence. Review it with them – this is also a good time for parents to brush up on the rules of the road and work on any bad habits.
- Remember the restrictions: Once your teen has passed the knowledge test and vision test, they’ll get a class 7 learner’s licence and can now get behind the wheel with a qualified supervisor. As a parent, you should know the restrictions of each stage of the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) and make sure your teen sticks to them. The restrictions are designed to help new drivers gain the experience they need in a safer, more controlled environment.
- Get in the experts: It’s a good idea to give your teen as much driving experience as possible so consider signing them up for lessons with a professional driving instructor, if possible. Many driving school courses include classroom time and road safety theory. More importantly, a driving school instructor can be objective without the emotion that’s often involved in parent-teen relationships. If you do choose this route, stay involved and discuss what they’re learning. To find a licensed driving school, visit: http://www.dtcbc.com/resources/locations/all-schools.asp.
- Gearing up: The type of car your teen learns to drive on can make a big difference. It’s best to learn how to drive on a vehicle that’s a manageable size, has good visibility and with an automatic transmission. A great way to help build your teen’s confidence and ease their nerves is to start out on roads with less traffic and avoid rush hour congestion until they have more experience.
- Test it out: To prepare for your teen’s road test, practice driving as much as possible at different times of the day, in different weather and road conditions, and in unfamiliar neighbourhoods. That way they’ll be prepared for whatever conditions they might face on the day of their road test. Another great way to prepare is to take ICBC’s road ready quiz that will help teens avoid common driving mistakes.
- Put it in writing: Once your teen has passed their class 7 road test, consider creating a family contract and a set of house rules that are in line with the GLP restrictions. Your family contract sets out your expectations of your teen, the responsibilities you want them to show on the road and the consequences for breaking those rules. Like any contract, it should be a two-way deal – as a responsible parent, you should agree to drive your teen home if they’ve been drinking to stop them from being tempted to drive impaired.
If your teen will be driving your vehicle, check that you have the right insurance coverage. If your vehicle is rated in an experienced rate class (all drivers in a household with at least 10 years’ driving experience), then you’ll need to change the rate class.
For more tips for parents, visit icbc.com. Teens can also find online video driving tips, ICBC’s road signs practice test and practice knowledge test which will include 40 per cent new questions by the end of July 2013. The practice knowledge test can also be downloaded as an app free from the Apple App Store.
For more information contact: Lindsay Olsen 604-982-4759