Defensive Driving for Parents

Last Updated: March 23, 2021 |
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Parenting a new driver is often both exciting and nerve-racking. While your son or daughter may enjoy the new freedom, they feel behind the wheel, and you’re probably more concerned about keeping them safe and avoiding accidents or traffic tickets. That’s normal — and not unwarranted.

As new, inexperienced, and sometimes reckless teen drivers hit the road, mistakes are inevitable. That’s why the early years of driving are without a doubt the most dangerous. Research shows that young drivers will be involved in fatal car crashes at double the other drivers’ rate.

And while handing car keys over to your teen driver may be anxiety inducing for good reason, it doesn’t have to be. As a parent, you can encourage your son or daughter to learn how to drive safely and even set ground vehicle usage rules that require safe driving. Plus, it’s a great idea to enroll your teen driver in a defensive driving course to improve their driving skills and help them learn effective techniques for safe, defensive driving.

Defensive Driving Courses for Teenagers

Many people think of defensive driving simply as a tool for getting out of traffic tickets or reducing driver’s license points. And while defensive driving courses offer an effective way to settle moving violations in many states, they are also an excellent educational resource for young drivers.

Teens who have gone through driving school have learned how to drive and have probably had defensive driving and safety instruction. But a defensive driving course offers additional education, specifically in a curriculum designed to teach your teenager how to drive safely.

It’s a great idea to encourage your young driver to enroll in a defensive driving course to improve their safe driving knowledge further. You can also use defensive driving courses as a resource for young drivers who have been behind the wheel for a few months or years but may need a refresher course in safe driving.

What Defensive Driving Can Teach Your Teenage Driver

Defensive driving goes beyond what driver instruction courses can offer and specifically teaches your teen the important details of safe driving. Most defensive driving courses include instruction in:

The Benefits of Enrolling Teenage Drivers in Defensive Driving

Your teenager can become a better driver by enrolling in and completing a defensive driving course. This is a great way to learn more about safe driving, or simply get a refresher if it has been a while since they’ve completed driver instruction or had trouble like a ticket or an accident.

In addition to the benefit of safer driving, teenage drivers who voluntarily enroll in defensive driving (as in, without earning a ticket first) may be eligible for a discount on insurance rates. Often, insurance companies will offer drivers a discount of up to 20% to voluntarily complete a defensive driving course. While some restrict this benefit to mature drivers over the age of 50 or 55, many are available to teenagers. Contact your insurance company to find out if this is an option for your family.

Setting a Good Example as a Safe Driver

You can talk to your teenager until you’re blue in the face about safe, defensive driving, but nothing speaks louder and more effectively than simply exhibiting good driving habits yourself. Show your children what safe driving looks like by practicing these defensive driving techniques:

Consider a Driving Agreement

Before you hand over the keys to your car, consider setting some ground rules with your teen driver. This sets clear expectations, as well as consequences, and lets your teen know what is appropriate and what is not. Your driving agreement can include:

How to Find a Defensive Driving Education Program for Your Teen

Want to refer your teenage driver to a defensive driving course? Our directory offers qualified defensive driving schools that can help your teen become a safer driver today.