teen driving safety tool

How to Use a Teen Driving Checklist

Teaching their teen to drive is a stressful experience for many parents. The parent is nervous about the teen driver’s safety, while the teen is giddy with excitement. Parents may be ambivalent about this rite of passage because it means their child is growing up, while teens are eager for the new level of freedom and independence associated with a driver’s license. The parent wants the teen to absorb as much information about the driver training process as possible; the teen just wants to learn enough to pass the road test.

One way to manage driver training sessions is to use a Teen Driving Checklist. The checklist provides an opportunity to review concepts and provide feedback on the driving lesson. Using this tool provides structure to each lesson, which facilitates learning for the teen and helps the parent feel more comfortable about the process of teaching the teen to drive.

The parent should complete one copy of the checklist during each lesson. Before the parents share it with the teen at the end of the lesson, the teen can complete a second copy of the evaluation. This self-evaluation helps teens learn to assess the driving behavior of themselves and other drivers, a critical concept once they are out on the road on their own. After the teen finishes the self-assessment, the two checklists should be compared and discussed in detail.

Parents should be sure to acknowledge areas of improvement as well as make a note of skills that need further discussion and practice. If the driving lesson was particularly difficult, parents can wait a few hours to have the discussion, but it should take place prior to the next driving lesson so the teen won’t continue to practice bad habits.

Since the checklist includes basic, intermediate, and advanced skills, parents can easily tailor each driving lesson to a specific set of skills. Avoid packing too much into one driving lesson, which could overwhelm the teen driver. It is better to hold a few extra lessons than to take a chance on skimping on a teen driver’s knowledge of critical driving skills.