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Learning to drive: a guide for parents

By: staff

Date: Tuesday, 16. May 2006

Copyright 2002 PDE Publications. (This booklet may be reprinted, with permission )

Our popular LEARNING TO DRIVE: A guide for parents booklet has been revised and updated and is now available FREE in a ready-to-print PDF version.

Since it was first published in 1986, this invaluable booklet has been distributed by school boards, driving schools, auto associations and even, in part, by CNN on its web site. The content of the booklet was drawn from the wisdom of dozens of professional driving instructors and is an excellent guide to the pitfalls of driver instruction and the techniques that can make the parent co-driver's difficult role safe, satisfying and successful.

Below is the text in HTML. The PDF print-ready version is designed to be produced in print form with the help of a sponsor. Space for the sponsor's name and logo is provided on the front and back inside and outside covers.

All we ask in return is that the booklet be printed in the format provided with the address at the bottom of each page.



What's involved for you, the parent?

Getting a driver's license is often referred to as the modern equivalent of a ritual of passage to adulthood for the young, new driver - and it's certainly a dangerous one.

A wise parent will seek the help of reliable professionals in preparing the teen for the complex world of the automobile and traffic. It's not enough for today's teenagers to learn as their parents did. The driving world they enter is far too intense to tackle without serious preparation.

As a parent you are the one who cares most about your teenager's driving ability and safety. This booklet will help you participate in the process of educating your teenager behind the wheel. It will give you insights into the skills and knowledge that professional instructors accumulate over years of teaching. It will inform you about the pitfalls lying in wait for the amateur instructor during the early stages of learning, about the defensive strategies taught in modern driving courses, and about the need to follow up after licensing to ensure that your teen continues to develop defensive driving skills and safe habits.

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On the road

If possible, leave your teen's first on-the-road experiences to the care of a professional. Many a nasty accident has occurred because an inexperienced beginner was allowed to get into a situation that was too much to cope with. A miscalculation in speed, a sudden change in traffic conditions, or an awkward combination of circumstances could lead to disaster. The professionals are used to anticipating such problems-and they have the advantage of dual controls. Your task as co-driver is to back up the work of the professionals with well-planned and coordinated practice sessions.

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Preparing for the test

Learning to drive a car safely and efficiently in modern traffic involves much more than training to pass a government road test and get a license. However, this is a necessary first stage. Government driver examiners want to ensure that the new driver has adequate control over the vehicle, knows the rules of the road and the correct procedures for managing a vehicle in traffic, and can make safe decisions.

The professional instructor is skilled in teaching these basics. Your role as parent/co-driver is to reinforce what the instructor teaches and provide practice time.

Helping your teen learn to become an effective driver is an opportunity for you to improve your driving and become a better role model.

The following outlines some of the major defensive driving concepts taught on modern driving courses. You can get more information on these from your teen's driver education textbook.

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Defensive driving techniques

Being a good defensive driver means more than just being cautious, and mere experience isn't enough either. The good defensive driver has to work at developing good driving techniques. The following is a summary of the defensive driving concepts commonly covered in driver education courses.

Managing space and time

This concept is critical to the tactics used in defensive driving. The driver must have space to maneuver and time to react. The following time rules help the novice to compensate for inexperience and are invaluable in reducing risk in traffic.

The 2-second rule

This provides safe spacing when following another car at any speed. By noting when a car ahead of you passes a fixed point and counting your time to reach that point, you can determine whether your spacing is safe. Two seconds (count "one thousand and one, one thousand and two") is the minimum safe space. This should be practiced from the passenger seat! The beginner will then develop a sense of what a safe space looks like at different speeds.

The 4-second stopping rule

This is an approximate guide to stopping distance at speeds over 60 kph (37 mph). Choose a fixed point on the roadway ahead and count the seconds until you get there. If you counted four seconds, that point indicated your minimum stopping distance.

The 12-second visual lead time

Ideally, the defensive driver is anticipating traffic movements and potential hazards as far away as the point the car will reach in 12 seconds. Within this distance the driver should scan the scene, including the sidewalks, and make adjustments to speed and position as necessary.

The Smith System

The Smith System is one of the most widely used methods for improving defensive driving. It provides five rules for training the eyes to see what is important in driving. They are:

These rules sound simple but it takes considerable practice to develop the habit of using them at all times in traffic. Good management of space and time allows the Smith system driver to use the five rules most effectively, always having time to scan the scene around the car and adjust speed and position to minimize hazards.

Road Commentary Driving

This technique is used with more advanced drivers. The driver is asked to do a running commentary on what hazards or factors he or she is taking into account while driving. ("Car turning left ahead," "approaching crosswalk," "car overtaking in the left lane," etc.)

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Attitude determines how knowledge and skills will be used. It determines whether a driver will be cooperative or competitive in traffic, whether he or she will accept a high level of risk or put into practice the concepts taught on defensive driving courses.

Your biggest contribution to your teen's safety and effectiveness behind the wheel will be your example. Patience, courtesy, and a willingness to improve will be your best assets. Now is the time to review your own driving habits and offer your teen the example of courtesy and consideration for other road users. This may do more than anything else to ensure your teens driving safety.

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Planning practice sessions

Random driving around during practice sessions can be dangerous. It's all too easy for the novice driver to get into trouble, particularly in the early stages. Before getting into traffic be sure that your teen has good coordination with hands and feet. Until the novice is sure of the pedals, the danger of hitting the wrong pedal in a panic situation is always present.

It's important to plan practice sessions. Decide where to go and what you are going to do before setting out. Take some care in selecting a suitable area. A large deserted parking lot is ideal for the initial sessions because it allows the beginner to concentrate fully on the feel of the controls and the response of the car.

For the initial street sessions find the quietest streets possible. Your teen will learn the correct road and traffic procedures from the professional instructor. Your job will be to provide good feedback while he or she practices these procedures.

Accurate lane driving and positioning for turns, good signal timing, and good road sense are the basic ingredients for passing the government road test. These will be learned more effectively by driving around the block with somebody who provides good feedback than by hours of random driving on highway or streets. On the other hand, a co-driver who allows the novice driver to get away with faults or who provides poor feedback may hold back the learning process considerably.

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Practice hints

Stay alert. Some beginners may give the impression of being confident and in control but may be totally unprepared to deal with any sudden change in conditions and very reliant on you, the co-driver, for guidance and even assistance in control. Anticipate problems and always be ready to react.

Communicate clearly. Give directions well in advance and try to always use the same terms (don't say accelerator one time and gas pedal the next, for example).

Don't hit the beginner with everything at once. A simple right turn, for example, involves several steps-checking mirrors, signaling, checking blind areas, braking, positioning, checking for traffic before the turn, steering, and recovery. To expect a beginner to follow all of these correctly during the early sessions is asking too much.

Don't get excited during practice sessions. This communicates itself quickly to the driver and can make performance difficult.

Don't overload. A big part of being an instructor or co-driver is reminding the driver to check traffic and to signal and to bring attention to potential hazards. But once again, remember that everything you say is also a distraction for the driver. Be sparing in your comments and, above all, try to avoid letting the beginner get into situations he or she can't handle.

Stop and discuss. When your teen makes a mistake, he or she may not be clear as to what went wrong. Explaining and discussing while on the move is not very effective. The beginner is too busy driving! Stop as soon as you can, while the mistake is still fresh in the memory, and sort out the problem. Don't jump on every mistake, however, and make a big thing of it. This will affect the beginner's confidence and concentration on the driving task.

Don't clash with what the professional driving instructor teaches. If your teen is doing something that you think is incorrect and maintains that the driving instructor teaches this way-talk to the driving instructor. Student drivers often wrongly interpret their instructor's directions.

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After licensing

The first year of driving is a high-risk period for the beginner. Inexperience combined with a lack of skill means that one in five male 16-year old drivers and about one in ten females will have an accident during their first year of driving.

Some of the worst accidents occur at night and with a group of young people in the car. If alcohol or any other kind of impairment is involved the risk in this situation is magnified several times.

Some supervision during the first year or two will help reduce risk. It's a good idea to keep track of the kinds of driving situation your teen has experienced and to gradually work in new ones (for example, night driving, rain, snow, freeways, heavy traffic, passing on the open highway, and so on). Watch for the accumulation of bad habits such as forgetting to signal, sloppy turns, speeding, sudden changes in speed or direction, lack of alertness.

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Safe driving is very much a matter of seeing what needs to be seen and making good decisions, but this is not simple to achieve. As vision expert Dr. Joe Shapiro points out, "Eyes don't tell people what they see. People tell eyes what to look for." In other words, experience and training play a major role in ensuring that a driver's eyes will look in the right places at the right time. The novice driver's biggest enemy is the complacency that comes from early success at learning driving basics. Parents' role is to help their teen overcome that complacency and continue to build driving skills after licensing.

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All Comments (225)

Showing 1 - 225 comments


its pretty good . one should read it before teaching driving. but i thing it should have some more traffic rules.


Thanks for the Fantastic techniques.I'm interested in more related,because have acquired a learners permit.If possible, text to once again.

Cindy Eckstein,

Can a 16 yr old take their younger brother or sister with them when driving?

scott murray,

i am 13 and i want to learn can someone help me and give me advice. xx :)


i have two sons i want to teach driving myself, but i am not sure whether i am allowed to to teach them? so can anyone advice me that sort of of things i required to obtain before i can teach them! such as insurance for them or how many years of experience shoud i have. please to advice me everything.



Seriously but what are 12 and 13 yr olds doing learning out to drive anyway. No way would I trust pratically a child to drive a car.Also isn't it illegal,in England where I live you have to be 17 before you are able to learn how to drive.

Quintavius Rainey,

My grandfather lets me drive and im 13 and to me I did well but tonight a few minutes ago my mom let me drive from the store home and she keep yelling at me telling me to go faster than 10 mph and didn't know when to shut the hell up and I never want to drive with her again.

Levent Göktem,

I really can do it whenever I need to but I don't believe now is the right time in my life.

Levent Goktem,

I really can do it whenever I need to but I don't believe now is the right time in my life.


Driving for me depends on who is with me at the time. I have found that driving with my dad is 10X better for me than with my mom for numerous reasons:
1.I don't get yelled at
2.We drive the same way (slowly)
3.He lets me go wherever
4.He's mostlty quiet the whole time
Honestly, I would rather pay $50 to have my instructor take me driving again than to drive with my mom. It's like a nightmare.

Sabrina Scott,

I am wondering if a teenager being reluctant to wanting to get on the road at age 18 is normal? She has her permit, taken driving lessons, and her road test is October 25th and I am trying to get her to practice parking, etc. and she keeps putting it off.


Can you drive family members if your are 17 with a license?


A good driving school should be a part of everyone's introduction to driving. Yes there needs to be mentor/coach such as parent or other family member/experienced friend also, but someone who received their license many years ago may well have developed habits or driver attitudes that need improvement (eg. failure to signal turns). I personally feel driving school should be mandatory for everyone and re-certification should be required for drivers after ten years. Lastly, if your child or any individual does not feel ready to drive, let them take their own time. Also, if you take your child out and they appear to behave immaturely behind the wheel or have no sense of danger, then they are not ready to drive either.


I'm 18 going on 19 I got my learners permit 2 months ago and my father is supposedly teaching me how to drive he immediately took my on this curvy ass road and expected me to learn how he did and how fast he did I constantly say everyone learns different and in a different way but he don't listen so at this point I don't want to drive at all so its whatever at this point I no longer have tht feeling like I want to drive.


I'm 21 and getting my liscence at the end of August. How do the rules work after you get your liscence, when it comes to having people in the car with you? is that even allowed ricght after? i was told that if you're under 18 you can only have direct family in the car with you for the first 6 months....the only direct family member that i have is my younger brother. I'm very confused about this.


Good information on teaching teens to drive. I have just finished instructing my 16 year old and he has his license. I am now working with my 14 year old daughter and have been for a year now. We practice at a state park which has a lake, we go to the boat ramp parking lot to practice. She likes the fact that it is wide open and yet has turns that make her have to concentrate.

Driving Instructor,

Very usefull read for all parents to ensure their offspring is fully prepared for the test.


Is it better to go to driving school or be home taught?


who cares about driving I am 12 and I know how to drive a real car from watching parents drive and from driving my 50 mph go kart. I like video games and sports I live in chicago and love to make fun of osama bin laden


My daughter who is about to turn 16 drove around without a licensed driver in the car how should I punish her?


im 3 months away from turning 18. so should i just wait and get my license or get my learners? i live in GA


I am so worried. My 18 year old son shows NO interest in learning to drive! We live in a small town and he NEEDS to be able to get places when I'm at work.

I unfortunately picked a bad "professional" instructor last year for him, and I didn't know the guy was belittling my son. Now poor son is totally soured on the experience and doesn't want to try again with someone I did some research on, talked to, and KNOW would be patient. How can I get my son to drive???!!!??? Should I just stop "cold turkey" taking him places? That seems cruel, and I've heard not to push. I'm torn! Advice???


Well..I remember posting my first comment here back in 2009. okay so I had said that I would be driving in 201o but this year has been my year. I finally got a car and have been driving on my own for about 3 weeks..I just started to take my car to work since Tuesday. I am no longer nervous about moving around. the only thing now that I need to tackle would be to get my DL. I love driving, I can't beleive I waited this long!! I think I am ready for the highway. If you are like me and are afraid of driving..please dont just practice and loose the fear. there is such an independence of doing it all on your own!!!:)

EC Girl,

My father is a bus driver, helearned how to drive in a hayfeild and thats how he's teaching me, you say that people should hire someone to teach their kid how to drive, but I think its the parents job, why waste money on someone when you can do simple things, like,

At age 15 try and let them drive small distances, this will help them get the feel, try letting them drive to the store with you or the post office, or let them drive on your road if you live on a small street.

If you live on a farm and your out working in the feild, let them drive the truck to you and back a few times, or around the farm, its simple, just TEACH YOUR OWN KIDS!!!!!!!!!


i want to study driving licene

kelly Cusick,

There's a great new DVD out called "Roadworthy: A PARENT'S Guide to Teaching Teens to Drive (12 Lessons to Keep Your Teen Alive Behind the Wheel)". It was created by a guy named Mike Pehl, who is a former accident investigator. This DVD is definitely a worthwhile purchase for any parents with kids getting ready to drive. It has some ideas I've never heard anywhere else; they're totally achievable by normal parents, and make perfect sense, but are things that you may not hear anywhere else. I've talked with a lot of Mom friends with older kids than mine and honestly, they really would have benefitted from having this DVD when they were teaching their own kids, from the stories I've heard. It's really reasonably priced, and the value of the techniques explained is totally worth the purchase price of $26.40. We're all sharing the roads, right, so we've all got a vested interest in helping teens drive safely. If you're in this phase of parenting, do yourself a favor and order "Roadworthy" - I can't imagine anybody would ever be sorry they bought it.


I just started driving on my own and I am terrible! when i was with my parents i never did anything. Now i have gotten into the wrong lane when coming off a side driveway to a gas station onto a main road to get in the turning lane but it was snowing. I also was getting into the left lane driving home and someone came in and cut me off while i was getting over and i quick got over and i dont think i waited long enough to pass him then i think i accidentally cut him off :0 it scared me so bad. IS THIS NORMAL TO BE THIS BAD ON MY OWN FOR THE FIRST TIME????


I'm a learner and I love driving!!
soon to go on the highway ;) caann't waittt :)


drivers test


hi how you going


Can a parent who has taken their child to pick up their paper run be fined for being in the car with the learner while the parent has lost their drivers licence for drink driving. The parent would not normally have been in this situation except the other spouse was home late due to meetings and the son was desparate to get their papers. Will the parent in the car go to jail. Very Worried.

Ajantha Madawala, Please I am taking driven lesson.I would like know collisions of distraction.I think it's very importent to learn.Thanks


I'm 63 years old. I want to learn how to drive. At this age, am I too old?


thank for this nice driving technique,i just got my liscence 2weeks ago but i fel my driving skill is not good enought..i drove by my self for a week but my car crashed into the narrow road of the pole when i stoped to get right i guess not to drive alone but acompnying of a professional driver!


Both of my parents lived in England, while I was living in America when I learned how to drive, so I do not have my parents influence when it comes to driving.

Several of the members of my church and college were gracious to teach me how to drive. I was able to learn with different teachers and different cars, which I think prepared me better than solitary experiences.

I also enrolled into a driving school after I first got my permit. Best decision ever! At the time, two other friends of mine were also learning how to drive. They did not take the driving course,deeming it a waste of money. Well, present day, now seven years later, they have a combined tally of over $2500 in tickets. I do not have any tickets. Goes to show, that a little investment can go a long way.

I am not about to teach a girl from church how to drive. I have been browsing though the comments here and have picked up some good tips. Thank you all and keep up the safe driving!


what is the cost for the drivers permit after segment 1


Sharing my experience on the road to learning how to drive - hope this helps:)

This has helped me realize a lot of what I need to do while driving. Though I have a professional instructor taught me how to drive, without practice and confidence on the road, coupled with nerve is really hard. I learned the manual but did not have enough practice, when my husband started to sit with me as I learned, I experienced yelling, nervous breaks me down and lost my self confidence at all.

I tried the 2nd time and that did me really well, I got my confidence back but with health problems that hinders me to stop and I was really doing well, and that was with automatic car. Since then, I am not on my feet again. I am trying to start all over again but the confidence on the road is the first thing I need to rebuild in me. Lack of practice makes it worst. My husband told me to learn the car first, so I will get familiar with this. He is right, but he also let me down, and I think he now realizes what he has done and making up for it. This time its all up to me and by chance getting to your site is a blessing! I will be back on my feet again, and this will be the start to success! I will do lessons again with the AA driver instructor (same one) She gave my confidence back before & this time I want to do it with her again. Thanks heaps:)

To New Drivers, just focus on the road and get confidence but still be aware that even if your very careful, other drivers are not!

Good Luck!

Sulaiman Mom,

Hi i need to lurn how to drive can u plezz sent me the info that u are going to gave on this EMAIL..


Hi I need to Lurn How To Drive Can U sent Me Some Info On this Email..

and Thanks And Bye


This is really the most inforamative piece of text i ve seen online. A must read for new drivers as well as parents. Thanks for this informative post, looking for such more posts.

-Driving School, Calgary

John's mom,

Parking Tips for Nervous Mom:

To teach pull-in parking, find a deserted office parking lot on a weekend. Try teaching how to make a left into the parking space. Make sure the child picks a parking space where they can pull forward and do not have to reverse to get out of the parking space. Then you both walk completely around the car and ask the child to comment on the "parking job". Practice this until the child can do it several times in a row, each time walking around the car.

On the next outing, teach how to make a right turn into a parking space. This is harder because it requires a pinpoint turn. Focus on not bumping any cars that would be parked on either side of your parking space.

Once both are mastered, only then should you attempt to park between actual parked cars. Best at first to pick a space that has cars close to it but not immediately next to it (to leave room for error).

You can then practice the 3-point turn in an empty cul-de-sac. Once the 3-point turn is mastered, the child can then try parking in a space that requires backing out of it.

Lastly, you may teach parallel parking between 2 cars. The trick is to start with the back of your car even with the back of the car ahead of your intended space. Back up with the curbside taillight of your car aligning with the curbside headlight of the car behind your intended space. Once you are close enough to the rear car, straighten the steering wheel as you pull forward. You are now parellal parked.


I would be very hesitant to let my kids drive too, but I'd feel much safer if they had apps like SMSReplier on their phones, because an even bigger issue is teens texting while driving. We really gotta make sure our kids are safe and educate them about the dangers of texting while driving.


I'm 28 and I just got my learners,sad but true.Also I have 3 young kids and the idea of driving makes me panic.I don't know what to do I am afraid I will hurt my kids if I drive with them and driving without them is not an option. What should I do?

nervous mom,

We're doing fine on street driving but my daughter can't pull into a parking space. Any tips?


While learning to drive i was yelled
at for my mistakes which
hurt my confidence and ability.I would be crying the entire way on the wheel but still be made to continue "practice" driving. I can garuntee you these are not the ways to go with your kids it will forever finish their drving abilities and confidence.


i am beginer
when i stop my car on any upstreat road and try to gearing it again my car go back how can i over come this problem.


I've been teaching my son to drive for the last couple of weeks. I am looking for ways to keep it interesting. I do keep adding small new skills each time but I have to admit it gets boring going round and round the same few blocks. Our 'traffic' streets are 40mph and multi-laned and I don't think he is ready for them yet.
Any suggestions to keep him from getting bored and discouraged?
p.s. this is a great guide


I'm going to start teaching someone to drive, what do I and the person need to make it legal.


How old to be to drive?


Can we learn car in empty parking lots on weekends? we have a theater and park and ride back side of my house. But don't know can i learn car there or not? Im driving ok. but feel nervous if any car coming behind me.


I pray i also become a country's transport manager.


Sam, all you need is more practice. Take deep breaths and calm down. There are millions of drivers out there. If they can do it, so can you. I remember when I first started learning how to drive I would look out at the front of the car and I couldn't keep the car straight. I started focusing out ahead and it was easier to go straight then. Good luck and calm down. You will get it. With practice you will get better and feel better.


Sam, all you need is more practice. Take deep breaths and calm down. There are millions of drivers out there. If they can do it, so can you. I remember when I first started learning how to drive I would look out at the front of the car and I couldn't keep the car straight. I started focusing out ahead and it was easier to go straight then. Good luck and calm down. You will get it. With practice you will get better and feel better.


Hi , I have a son who just got his driving permit, I want him to take a driving course that teaches him to drive defensively and allow him to learn to drive and control temper and how to handle a car .I know it has to be someone that he isn't related too. Thank you .

Walter H.,

you really really needa a GOOD professional driving instrutor. Lerning ith family members is almost ALWAYS a difficult experience at best, a disaster at worst.

However, if you have to, both you and your brother should work from the GUIDE FOR PARENTS booklet above.

This is really a guide for co-drivers so use it well. Lots of great tips from great instructors, many of whom i knew very well.


I dont know when will i become a good driver.My second week is going in driving and i still didnt got the control over my car whenever i sit on driving seat i feel nervous and get brother is my instructor who is always crticising me when the time of driving and i also feel very discomfortable with him I am very very very very very sad this will be very embaracing for mee iff i fail to drive don know whats the problem :( ......................

Walter H,

Chris, have you tried getting a second inside mirroro for your dad? It can relly help.


I've been learning to drive now for about 6 weeks and I'm doing very well.
However, I've noticed that when I am in the car with my dad, it all goes wrong.
It's because he's a VERY nervous driver and passenger. He's constantly fidgeting in the car when I'm driving and it's very distracting.
When I'm in the car with my mum, brother or my instructor I drive absolutely fine with perfect control.

If you have a nervous passenger in the car it definitely goes make a big difference.
I don't think I can go out with my dad in the car again.


me too really i want to learn driver but how ?

Walter H,

Look forward to more on your story Lee. I monitor this thread regularly


Thank you for the advice, I am looking forward in this new year to purchase a used car with my income tax and practice, practice. I will keep you updated and hopefully by the beginning of march I will be driving on my own. I will keep you updated, thank you soo much!!

Walter H.,

you really need to tackle this problem of feeling you can't control the car. What would really benefit if a course with a good instructor that would teach you to brake hard,accelerate hard,steer hard in a safe environment.

This means in a car with dual controls, in a large secure area where there's nothing to hit.

This is not a bad idea for every driver. Many new drivers get by with minimum of control and drive for years like that. They only panic when it's an real emergency!! NOT the way to do it.

There are many courses that offer this kind of facility but they are not the regular driving schools. Do a google search on "advanced driving schools" and then call a few and tell them your dilemma.

Drivers staff,

Hi Lee,

We do have other articles on this subject which may be of some help .

By the sounds of it you need to practice and feel comfortable behind the wheel before taking the next step.

Some people take longer at this than others so you should take as long as you need to feel you are fully comfortable with the workings of the car - this may mean spending a lot of time in empty parking lots moving very slowly but it will be worth it!


I am 21 years old and still can't drive on my own! Its embarrasing but I can't help it. I have a 2 year old and a husband. My mom and my hubby take me every where. I have driven the car around the block like 2 times but other than that I get really nervous. I feel that I wont be able to control the car or break in time. I really want to drive myself around. Please help!!!


i really think this site is cool


i am looking for somethin sooooo simple but cannot find it anywhere how long to have do you have to have your permit to recieve a drivers license


anyone can learn how to drive, its just that you need time, patience and a good teacher.. its good to have a nice tutor like your parents but its much better if you inquire to other car expert.. you have to master all the basics vehicle operation on how they will run.. some driving examiners offered some parts test like familiarization on any car parts like projector headlights, engines, sensors etc aside from driving test..


Bob, nevr heard of a specifit c law about kids in back while taking lessons but you'd be crazy to do it!


what is the techniques of the beginners in driving?


can I learn to drive with kids in the back of the car. Is it legal


i have had my permit since 2007 and no one will ever take me driving i will be 19 next year and still dont know how to drive


Go Coe. I need to learn too but I have to wait a year. Meanwhile, I watch and learn. I worry about my parents. I dont' think either of them will be good instructors.

Coe Bass,

I need to learn how to drive


Your insurance could be affected for years. Call one of those traffic points services to help you out


im really confidenc in ur explanations that if i really study and learn very well i can drive a car,if really there are much more things to learn i will be fully read to learn study more about driving,i really like to drive car on a main road too like others deed,its part of my dream seeing my self on the road driving a car,with all the traffic rules around me doing everything perfectly as i just study from the table content,


I'm 20 yrs old n My dad tought me how to drive when I was 17, it wasn't easy, b/c he did yell @ me all the time n told me how much I sucked at driving, but once I got the hang of it he stop telling me stuff n started coplimenting me on how well I was doing . N I have never gotten a ticket or in an accident.

Anyways, my brother is 14...turning 15 in january n he wants to learn to drive. So my dad took him n he never yell at him, in three days, my brother was driving perfectly. By the end of the week, he could park in between cars, back up without any difficulty n did all the hard stuff that it took me forever to learn. He has been driving for 4+ wks now so I decided to let him drive with me to places really close to home. I knew he was capable of doing it, otherwise I wouldn't have allowed it.
One day I needed to get some errands done n he ask me if he could drive me there, it took me awhile to agree, but I finally did. So, we went to that places n as soon as we got out a cop pull us over. (I think someone called them on us)anyways, the officer ask us a bunch of quest, I told him i was teaching him how to drive, but I guess he didn't care.
We got three tickets... Him for no DL n no insurance, n me for letting him drive. What can I do? Should I argue this?


I like Jawi's approach. From what I have seen on driving in India it is much more complicated than in North America or Europe.
It looks like everybody, not just drivers, needs to be much more aware of what is happening around them. I'm a great believer in teaching drivers about OTHER road users problems as well as their own. You've got to know what the other driver/pedestrian/motorcyclist/ donkey cart driver is dealing with and try to help them out too.


In India it is'nt easy to adopt refined driving tecniques as prescribed due to local standards and condtions. I begin by telling my learners to adopt a 'tender loving care'(TLC) and 'minimum brake & horn' approach. Car repair expenses can get very unpleasantly high. I emphasise on this - hope I'm doing right.

Walter H,

Most text books say hold the wheel at either 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock or 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. This is for balance and control.

However, some newer text books may mention 5 o'clock and 7 o'clock. This takes into account two ideas: newer steering technologies make this effective, and also keeping the hands low keeps them out of the way of the airbag, if it happens to go off.

What might be more important is how NOT to hold the wheel, for example: NEVER grip it from the inside, and don't rest your hands on the spokes of the wheel.

always have both hands available for steering.


where are hands supposed to be held on wheel

Walter H.,


I don't know how much experience your son has, and every individual is different when it comes to learning to drive, however, I have some suggestions.

Intersections are complicated. Some people just drive through them without much thought and think that because they have not crashed they've done well. Others may think too much, and that can make things confusing.

What your son could, and should do, is study intersections carefully. Study the laws, and then study how people actually behave. The more understanding he has the easier it will be to make decisions.

Negotiating an intersection takes a series of decisions, not one big one. For example, when making a left turn at a busy intersection:

a) allow enough time on the approach to see everything that needs to be seen
b) make a decision to enter the intersection
c) pay attention to position in the intersection. This is important and it may take a good professional to show him the fine points of this
d) when there's a gap to make a left turn begin moving but allow enough time to revise the decision if things change or don't work out they way you thought
e) carry on turning but NEVER put yourself in the position of having to 'make a break' for it (no sudden movements that other drivers can't predict

If that sounds complicated here's the simple version: negotiating intersections are just that - it's a negotiation with other road users. Learn how to 'negotiate' by studying how people behave at intersection

That includes pedestrians, bicycles, cars, trucks, etc.

Your son's study will be well worth the effort.


My son is having trouble understanding intersection--ones with multiple things going on. Does anyone know of a website or something that shows different senerio's we can review before we go back out and tackle. Thought if he can see and understand how these things work it will make more sense when he encounters.


My dad tried teaching me and it was a disaster, he screamed at me, called me names, told me i would get ran over, and made me give up on driving for about 2 years. I finally decided to try to learn how to drive again but this time i have my big brother teaching me and he is doing a pretty good job. I think i have improved a lot and become more confident even though we're still practicing at a parking lot. PARENTS PLEASE DO NOT SCREAM AT YOUR KIDS WHEN TEACHING THEM TO DRIVE, it makes them even more nervous and they make more mistakes.


Jeff, I don't believe there is such a law. at least in years of instructing I never heard of one.

It's a good idea, especially if you have more than one teen. Howver, don't let it lure you into complacency.


anyone know if there are laws prohibiting parents putting in a passenger side brake for the teen driver? Thanks


Badly need your help. Get away from the crowd when you can. Keep yourself to yourself, if only for a few hours daily.
I am from Iran and know bad English, give please true I wrote the following sentence: "You are seeing this message because your web browser does not support basic web standards.Basil contains high amounts of an anti allergic compound called caffeic acid."

Regards :o Samien.


learing driving


i have my Ls and i want to get my after liences

sarah noel,

i hate learing how to drive


I still think learning with someone professional is a better idea than your parents... then the parents dont have to feel pressured to get the child through the test. It took me 4 but i eventually made it through with a mixture of parental help inbetween lessons and instructor lessons. I think parents can sometimes give the kids bad habbits that do no good when the examinor comes to marking you on the test. Procedures and safety really should be learned by a professional institution.


Thank you. I didn't think so. My stepson told us he couldn't get his permit because his mom had something on her record a long time ago. I knew that wasn't right. I appreciate it.



We've never heard of anything like that here. If the 17-year-old fulfills the age and knowledge requirements there should be no impediment. However, the parent's driving record would affect insurance rates and whether the insurance rate goes up, or how much it goes up on the addition of another driver, would depend on the company.


I was wondering if someone can tell me if there is anything on a parents driving record that would keep a 17 yr old from getting his permit?


I am 17 almost 18 and I've had my permit for a while now...i've done my drivers test in school and i curently started btw but im not even close to finishing my 50 hrs. i was wondering if i should continue doing my hrs and btw or should i just wait until i turn 18 to get my license. If i wait until im 18 do i have to take my drivers test again?


really cuz i want to learn how


A more in depth resourse regarding the beginning recommedations for actual driving would be usefull to parents. Topics such as using the SAME vehicle each time the child drives, driving in only the most normal situations( no rain,no fog, daytime driving only, ect.) You would think parents would agree on these "basics" but my husband and I do not see eye to eye on these things.It would have been very helpfull if I could have found resource material that spelled out these things so it would be in black and white.It may also have prevented my step-son from smashing the garage door frame with the car if my husband acknowledged that depth persecption is an issue when driving multiple vehicles when first learning. Thank for letting me vent!!!

Walter H.,


There has been much discussion about this over the years.

I recollect that there was research indicating that left foot braking has a reaction-time advantage over right foot braking only if the left foot is already over the brake pedal. If the left foot is where it should be in normal driving, that is, on the “dead pedal”, then right foot braking is just as quick if not quicker.

When the left foot is braced against the floor that improves control with steering and gas pedal, and gives better reaction time with the right foot from accelerator to brake.

Better designed cars will have an actual dead pedal built in. In older models you had to put your foot on the floor or on the wheel well.

Driving constantly with the left foot poised over the pedal is very tiring. If the foot is touching the pedal this is a wear problem on the brakes.

Personally, I use right-foot braking with few exceptions. One of these would be in difficult parking situations where there’s a danger my car could jump forwards or backwards.

I never teach left foot braking to students

Anyone who also drives a manual shift car, or who may do so soon, should stick to right foot braking.

Bob Miller,

I am teaching my daughter to drive. I use both my right and left foot on the brake pedal. Right most of the time but left when in tricky situations. What is the correct use of your feet in an automatic transmission vehicle?

I have always been in doubt if I am doing it right.



You should check local regulations on this. It may be prohibited in your area. Your driving school manager should know.

A lot depends on the instructor here, but also on you. The big danger would be the distraction. Safetywise, in the instructing environment I worked in the safety record of instructors was better than that of average drivers. We spent a lot of time on the road but no serious crashes and even minor bumps were rare.

With a good instructor, the risk is minimal. with a bad instructor, the risk is a lot greater. You have to ask whether your instructor allows you to get into risky situations.

That should never happen!


I have driving lessons 1 weekly.Can I take my 3yr old daughter in her child seat at the back of the car with me.

Is it safe?

Thanks Luk


im really glad i found this site. im turning sixteen tomarrow and im going to take the test tomarrow. i already have my learners permit, and im nervous i dont know enough to get my license. ive done more than i needed of driving hours, so im pretty sure ill be okay. but this site will help me refresh my momeory, and studying my book. thank god for this site!


nice site esp for the parents with driving opinion of different person


After reading some of the comments left here, I'm even more glad that we've chosen to do the parent-taught driving course with our teenagers. It worked really well with our now 20 year old and our 17 year old is also taking it at this time. I love working with him and seeing him improve over the last few months. When we started we worked out a system of signals and words that I would be using so both of us could remain calm. I don't yell at all and have only had to say firmly, "stop now" a couple of times. It's been great to work around his busy marching band schedule instead of taking him to a driving school (plus it's less expensive). I also believe that there's better follow through because we are teaching him, instead of trying to continue with what someone else has taught him that week. I feel confident he'll make a great driver.

Joaci Gomes,

Driver speed streme 4200


If you want to get good at driving hang around good drivers. You say your dad "can swerve in and out of traffic safely." Here in the lofty world of Advanced driving we never 'swerve'. We make smooth 'lateral moves'.

Good driving is very smooth and unnoticable. If you notice something about someone's driving that means it stands out and is probably not good finesse.

And road rage ... people who get enraged don't understand themselves or traffic enough.

Car Troubles,

I can't drive yet but i am 15 i have 6 months left until i can get my learners and i am excited. I drive around with my brothers friend or i move my parents car and i know thats not enough but i want to get really good at driving ,I know it takes time but my dad can swerve in and out of traffic (safely) like it's nothing and i think he just has too much road range but what should i do?????? -Car Troubles


Amy, don't learn from your husband. Every driving instructor hears stories like yours and it's not you that's the problem it's your husband.

In general, learning from a family member or someone you are intimately related with is not a good idea. Too many emotional things going on. However, if you feel you have to then you need to take some control.

Don't just go driving. Pick something specific you want to learn and then focus on that.

Most of the problems with amateur instructors is they sometimes try to build the upper floors of the house before they finish the foundations.

You've got to be comfortable with each stage before gong on to the next.



I am 24 and I just started to learn driving from my husband. I started to drive past 4 days and my husband keeps yelling at me when I go wrong. He keeps telling me that I will not get my license if I drive that way. I am actually scared every evening when he takes me out to driving as to what am I going to hear for the day and also he says me that he shouts so that I will do it better the next time. When he shouts I could not concentrate on my driving and only could concentrate if I will make mistakes and if he is going to shout at me. This gives me a feeling that I cant drive. Anybody please tell me what should I do..


Depends on where you are Rick. For links to licensing information in different states and provices


Does anyoone no what restrictions are put on permit drivers.

Such as how many people can be in the car, and if there are age restrictions on passengers.


I'm 18, I live in Brooklyn NY and just got my license on August 5th of this year. I applied for my permit a few months after I turned 16 and took a course with 20 hours of supervised driving and 5 hours of lectures a few months after. I took this course through my High School for $520 and it was not worth it at all. Because it was done with the school there were 3 other people in the car with me learning how to drive and this took a toll on the amount I actually learned.

I took my first road test with my classmates in Staten Island in June of 2007. I was so excited but I hit the curb parking which is an automatic failure. The ride home was awful.

A few weeks after my first failed road test I decided that I was ready to take another one - at a different site. That was the biggest mistake I could make. I picked Starett City - which anyone from Brooklyn can tell you is extremley crowded and filled with people who really couldn't care less about traffic laws. Anyway, I was cut off by a dollar van while making a left turn and left with yet another failure.

Confidence is a major part of driving. You can't be cocky and over confident but you also can not be nervous and underconfident if you expect to pass your road test and to be a good driver. My confidence level took a big hit failing two road tests. I questioned everything I was doing on the road and thought that maybe I shouldn't be driving.

My parents promised that they would take me out again every so often so that I could get some experience and build my confidence up again but that never happened.

In late June I registered for private, pay by the session lessons. My instructor was great and I had my confidence back in no time. Not only that but he taught me so much. He taught me how to parallel park a different way and since then I have never hit the curb or been unable to park somewhere. He took me on all different types of streets in various neighborhoods and it really paid off.

On August 5th I went back to my original road test site and PASSED! Not only did I pass but I only got 5 pts on the whole test (for a short left turn). I was so happy.

I am going to college in less than a week and I planned on driving there at least one day a week because it is much faster then the bus. However it does not seem like that will be happening. Like any other newly license driver in NYS I can drive but I'm on probation for 6 months. It's August 23rd right now and my parents will not let me drive the car (They bought it as a second car for them and for me to use when I finally got my license. It's driving me insane. My father once again promised that he would take me out every day and so far he has only taken me out three times for about 10 minutes each :(

I think that it is really unfair. I have tried to talk to them about it but all they say is that I have no experience. That may be true however it's not just going to fall into my lap. What's really irritating is that I have asked numerous times to drive short distances of 7 or 8 blocks to a friends house (strictly for the experience) and they have still said no.


I am currently a 16 year old teen driver who has his permit and working towards his Driver's license. Let me add some suggestions for parents who plan on teaching their child how to drive. (Keep in mind that these are my opinions and I have asked several other teen drivers about this and have verified this)
My PROFESSIONAL driving instructor taught me behind the wheel driving for SIX hours and EACH MISTAKE I make he would constantly yell at me and call me ignorant, stupid, hard-headed, and more words that are more harsh that that. Each time I drove with him, I took note of my driving skills and saw that THEY DID NOT improve whatsoever.
After the 6 hours with the PROFESSIONAL, I had my mom begin teaching me behind the wheel. She has taught me for about 3 hours total so far and I have seen a GREAT improvement in my skills ALONG with freeway performance. I also noticed that my mother does NOT SCREAM or YELL at me while I drive, but simply point out mistakes and CALMLY tells me what I did wrong and how to fix it.
Moral: ALWAYS remain calm when teaching your child, it will keep them calm and prevent them from becoming nervous and making more mistakes, and possibly critical mistakes. Additionally, when a child is yelled at for driving mistakes, it discourages them from driving and makes them lose interest in it ALONG with interest in staying fully aware of what is happening while they are driving; increasing the danger level.

Walter H.,

Isa, … A word of caution on talking to your daughter's instructor - check there are no miscommunications because often (I know from experience) what's said and what's heard are two different things. There's lot's of opportunity for misunderstandings, as I've found out myself (the hard way).

About the yellow lights - what the instructor might have said (and I can only guess) is that if you are approaching a green traffic light you CAN anticipate to a certain extent when it might change to yellow and be ready with your reaction. In other words when the traffic light changes to yellow you don’t have to quickly calculate distances and braking capability. You will already have done your measuring (your best estimate) and you know whether you are expected to be able stop or not. There’s no quick off-the-cuff decisions or panic reactions.

If you wait for the yellow light before doing your thinking you have to think the whole thing out quickly on the fly and you are likely to make serious mistakes, and around intersections those can be fatal.

Maybe you’ve just got a case here in which the instructor is not a great communicator and can’t present the problem adequately


This has been an eye-opening site to come across. :O)

My 16 yr old is now driving, and doing a great job (I think)for someone w/less than 15 hours of driving time. She drove home tonight from a school activity, and I didn't have to make one comment - it was a smooth ride & she did almost everything right. :O)

However, her Driver's Ed teacher does not seem to think she can drive. She has made my daughter cry 2x now, and is constantly berating her. Today My daughter continued through an intersection when a light turned yellow(WHILE she was in the intersection). When a student asked what should be done if the light turns WHILE in the intersection, the instructor had my daughter answer ("Continue through, because it's too late to stop). Instructor told her she was wrong - that she should be able to "anticipate" a traffic light turning yellow so she can stop AHEAD of time. (Okay - I've been driving for 30 years & have NEVER heard that one! Someone please correct me if I'm wrong!)

In addition to some other criticisms she's made she's told my daughter her "lack of ability & attitude" may prevent her from passing the course. While my daughter may not be perfect, she -and the other students being treated this way - do not deserve to be treated in a rude and disrespectful manner.

I've got a parent conference with this woman tomorrow.


It, is nice to come across this site during learning stage.I am still learning and i found most of the information that I need as a leaner to guide me.


This comment is for Ryan. I know you had to be acting sarcastic. I think I get what you mean. We has parents have the tendency to try and control the situations our kids get into. Sometimes, we have to let go some and have faith, not only in our kids but to God, that our kids will be okay. This is the hardest thing for me. I wish sometimes that cell phones were non existent. I have gotten too used to using this tool to contact my 16 year old, that if sometimes he doesn't answer, it scares me to death. Reality says "hey, Mom, he's driving right now and can't pick up the phone. Stop calling so many times, it's very distracting."...either way, this first year has been a very interesting one. Let's hope we've done our jobs as parents up until this point.


I'm 16 and I have completed 4 hours of driving with an instructor (out of 6) necessary to get my permit.

Now, my parents never let me get behind the wheel, or taught me how to do ANYTHING (but we ARE living in NJ - it would be hard to do so without blatantly breaking the law), so yesterday was the first time I got into the driver's seat and started driving. Let me tell you, that afternoon I kept having small panic attacks when I thought of myself at a stoplight or whatever, just because I know I shouldn't be.

I can't wait until I have my permit, because it means I'll be able to practice at the pace I want, but at the same time I won't have an instructor with a brake pedal to hold on to my steering wheel when I do something wrong.

Currently I seem to have a lot of problems turning - I need to get that hand over hand motion, and the stopping and going and BLAH. I also can't gauge my speed too well and I feel like I'm going to slow for everyone (even though to me it feels like I'm going fast), so I'll be either going faster than I should be or slower than the speed limit. And keeping my car straight, of course! [I'm a horrible driver.]

I'm going to be practicing solely with my mom because if I practiced with my dad he'd be yelling at me 99% of the time.

Walter H.,

Leaha, if your dad is getting mad at you its because HE is nervous. What to do? ...You've got to get very specific about your practice sessions and don't just drive around. Also, be very careful where you go for driving practice. Don't get in over your head.

Here's an example: You're not steering well in corners - so go to a very quiet area where there's no traffic and nice simple corners and practice just that until you have mastered it well enough to be comfortable in traffic.

Also - IMPORTANT - get your dad a second rearview mirror. This makes it a lot easier for him to manage and be at ease with you in the car.


I'm 17, I've been on my permit for quite some time and I've been learning to drive just fine. But my dad makes me extremely nervous in the car. Just recently, he made me nervous enough that I hit a curb while parking (for the first time ever). Even though the car was ok (had no markings or damage of any kind), he managed to publicly scream at and humiliated me in the parking lot (which I deserved I'm sure). It scared me enough that I'm not sure I want to drive again, especially with him in the passenger seat. I'm not sure how to get back behind the wheel. Any advice to the teens and parents in this situation?

NICK 20,

its just hard for me to stay in my lane, i dunno what i gotta do to fix that, im trying but not sure how too handle is, more practice, or what???

how can i fix it??

Walter H.,

If you're not staying straight in your lane then you need to look farther ahead. In corners, look up through the corner to where you want to go. (of courses you'll have to glance around to other places as well - such as checking curbs and lane markings, but only very briefly).


anyone out there that can give me advice on driving, i would love it, any advice is greatly apperciated

NICK 20,

im gonna, be 21 in august,people say its sad i dont got my license yet, yes yes yes i got my permit, but what can i do to feel good when behind the wheel, i have a hard tyme staying in my lanes when on highways or back roads.. can anyone help me please, any advice from people is greatly apperciated, thanks so much


hey everyone im gonna be 21 in august, i got my permit and its hard for me to stay in my lane when i drive on the highway with my dad, my dad freaks out and says dont wreck my car etc... am i wrong, not to have my license yet, what can i do to stay in my lane?? anyone ever have this problem?? i need all the help possible, please


I am Learning driving but this is a great fun .But teen-age drivers should not practise until any elder is with you.Many accidents occurs due to teen-age driving, many youngsters in the car and irrisponsible driving from even elders.


i love this site








I'm 21 and I don't have a license, not that I haven't tried. I grew up in a really crappy foster home and I wasn't allowed to get my license. I don't know if my foster parents were scared of my driving or what, considering they both drove in the wrong lane and I had to jerk the wheel while they were driving multiple times. Any way, I'm not sure what to do about getting my license, I have driven before, I've been driving illegally since I was 16 years old and stopped when I got our of foster care because I don't have a car to drive. I've never been in an accident and I've just been getting my permit over and over every year since I was 18. I feel I can drive well, I have a little bit of trouble backing up and I change lanes to fast, I can parallel park with out a problem and can judge distance pretty well. I don't have contact with my family and my old foster parents were arrested so I can't learn from them. Should I have a friend teach me? I don't want to take drivers ed at 21 years old. I know there are adult drivers lessons and I've considered taking a few, at leas 10 hours worth before trying to get my license. I plan on getting my license and my motorcycle license with in the same time span. Any help would be appreciated.



I have a 16 year old who cant wait to get his license in January,as long as he finishes his 50 hrs of driving. He has a friend that lives in Minnesota, and thinks he will be able to go see her more often.Does anyone know if there is a driving law for new teen drivers traveling long distances by themselves? Is this allowed or not?


RE::There should be a law against private individuals teaching family and friends how to drive. They just don't realize the seriousness of the task and in too many cases just pass on their bad attitudes and habits._______________-

That law would do one thing: prevent poor kids from learning to drive. most people mearn from family and do just fine


I think learning with a professional instructor is better than with your parents. YOu will be taught the correct procedures and have a lower chance of pucking up their bad habbits!! Although in the UK the lessons cost a canny bit, they are worth it in the end. I'd rather pass my practical test the first time round even if it takes me a bit longer to learn. Going out driving with someone else, other than an instructor, is good for the practice in between lessons but professional tition is always, what I think, is the best to become safe and well practiced!


I think learning with a professional instructor is better than with your parents. YOu will be taught the correct procedures and have a lower chance of pucking up their bad habbits!! Although in the UK the lessons cost a canny bit, they are worth it in the end. I'd rather pass my practical test the first time round even if it takes me a bit longer to learn. Going out driving with someone else, other than an instructor, is good for the practice in between lessons but professional tition is always, what I think, is the best to become safe and well practiced!

Walter H.,

GW, your daughter is not the only one that has this problem of not seeing. Researchers have found that "looking but not seeing" is the most common cause of crashes.

Her experience with the truck is a lucky one. There was no crash and no one hurt. It's really easy to get complacent about driving and we used to show scary movies of crashes to fight this but I'm not sure how well it works. After a few years you get complacent again.

Give here lots of accompanied driving, but I suggest also an advanced course after a year or so. However, you have got to find the right course.


I am the parent of a 16 year old driver and I am scared to death every time she gets behind the wheel. She does not seems to focus on details I think are important and makes the same mistakes often. Today, she drove the family to church. When she exited the interstate, she barely looked, turned to the right( right on red when clear) and the immediately changed lanes before I even realized what was happening. There was a large truck going about 40 mph that she pulled right in front of! Needless to say, there was yelling after that. She does not seem to realize the extreme consequences of mistakes on the road. My husband and I are basically to the point where we want to not allow to to drive at all without us. She is a responsible teen, makes great grades and I know she is capable. She just seems to have a nonchalant attitude when it comes to driving. HELP..we need advice. Should we let her drive alone? GW



Don't know anything about Aspergers but I suggest you contact some of the organizations listed in our TRAINING section at

In particular, the
Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists should be of help.

The association (formerly ADED) is devoted primarily to the support of professionals working in the field of driver education and transportation equipment modification for persons with disabilities. Provides key components of education and information dissemination.

Lucy H,

Sorry, but I do not understand the American system. Here in Britain, you are not even allowed to touch a steering wheel until you are 17 years old, you have to get a provisional licence and then you are only allowed to drive if you have someone with a full driving licence in the car with you and you are certainly NOT allowed to carry other passengers. You can learn from parents, relatives or through a driving school but you then have to pass a written theory test before you can take your practical test. Only then do you get a full drivers licence. That's why the standard of driving is high here, we can negotiate small windy roads in busy towns and if you have a UK driving licence you can drive anywhere in the world. In Germany the rules are even stricter. (Oh and by the way, that Ryan guy was so "yanking your chain" as you Americans put it! It's British sense of humour!!)


Im posting my experience here just to make a point ! for all those who are scared and unhappy with their progress. im 30, female AND an immigrant !!!!! not a good combination !
ive been in america for 1 year now , initially i could understand nothing about the traffic each time my husband would take a left turn i would scream because in my country this sort of left turn would land u with a head on collision, my husband gave me 3 mths to get used to the flow of traffic , lanes, turns and basically everything about the traffic as it is all exactly opposite of what is back home.
then-he bought me a used car as he has a BMW he wont let me touch even now! enrolled me in driving classes with taggart. AND-- LET ME NOT FORGET I HAD NO EXPERIENCE DRIVING BACK HOME I ALWAYS HAD A DRIVER TO DO THAT FOR ME ! also i am basically a very shy and underconfident person , im veryyyy sacred of driving, (that is why my dad let me have a driver .)
ok now back to my struggle , the instructor at taggart was ok, taught me the very basics how to take turns , speed up slow down , stay in lane . from there my husband took over , every weekend he would make me drive the whole day , like 6 -7 hours , i would get scared , cry , tell him i dont want to drive , but he would push me , like once we were going to the outlet mall and i changed my lane very dangerously , i was all shaken up and refused to drive back home from there , but he was even more adamant he told me to take my time calm down , but he told me if i would not drive we were not going back home.
So, there were times i gave up after making what could have been deadly mistakes (with gods grace they were not)BUT HE DID NOT.
now i have just started driving alone but i feel im doing fine a few lil mistakes here n there but il get better.
for parents its an example , teach ur kids the way my husband taught me .
1-Be calm
2-Break it down into small projects , keep repeatin those small projects till ur kid has mastered that project then go onto a tougher one , like i started with driving at 20mph in my apartment complex , then in walmart parking lot , then on empty inner roads , taking turns , reversing , then city roads n after almost 4 mths the freeway . and this was all after i had got my license !!!!!
3- Do not yell even when ur kid makes mistakes , it will cause greater trouble
4-Give CLEAR instructions -- dont say rt here lt there , tell em now on next signal take a right , we had a GPS which was a great help it wud tell us exactly how far was the signal .or like third turn take left etc etc .
5- When they are scared boost their confidence , tell them they can do it .
Best of luck teaching your kids , with my husbands patience i have acheived what i could not in my 29 years of premarriage days , i tried to back home but could not , with the right trainer one can learn anything and overcome any phobia. I HAVE OVERCOME MY PHOBIA OF DRIVING , I CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT AN EMOTIONAL BURDEN HAS BEEN LIFTED OFF ME . THANKS TO MY HUSBAND .


I am a 23 year old with Aperger syndrome. Tomorrow is my 24th birthday. I have a permit, but I have failed my driver's test 3 times. I have a lot of difficulty judging distance (especially of other cars beside me).

I feel like every car, even if they are on the other side of the street going the opposite way, is going to hit me. My dad thinks I can learn all I need by doing a ton of driving on his one day off a week from work, and my mom absolutely refuses to teach me anything for fear I'll wreck the car. I tried driving instructors, but they are very expensive and I am very uncomfortable driving with strangers.

I am ashamed that I am such a poor driver, and I can't bring myself to ask my friends for help. What should I do?

Walther H.,

James, I agree with you entirely. Not sure if Ryan Spartz above is having us on or not. He seems too much like a caricature dictator to be real. His daughter is having a tough life. Hope she can recover.

Personally, I don't teach children to drive. Only adults. Treat people like adults and they will likely respond that way.


Ryan Spartz,

While it's never good to be a passive parent, you're forgetting that each individual child's growth is independent from the growth of others. What does that mean? It means that some kids are smarter than others, and some kids mature faster than others. Caution is important, but complete distrust of teenagers who may be well ahead in their mental and emotional development is a disservice to them. If a child has to be scared of their own parent, who is almost universally and independently of culture considered a guide rather than an owner, that child is essentially without a parent.

Excuse my language, but if you treat your kid like shit, her psychological development will warp to fit that description.


I have seen many site on Adolescent. but I have enjoyed this the best,its great for parents and children.

Walter H.,

Sarah, this is a tricky one. You're right to feel uncomfortable about it. In the UK, driver examiners are not too happy to see drivers turn their heads to see the blind spot. Glancing is OK but turning is regarded as dangerous. On the other hand, in North America the "shoulder check" is very much emphasized.

I have 3 suggesions for you.

1) use your mirrors more often so you know what's around you ALL the time, not just when you want to change lanes.

2) lane changes usually involve a slight increase in speed if the traffic in the other lane is going at about the same rate. That keep you ahead of anyone in the lane beside you. But, above all,

3)WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING! The driver beside you can take avoiding action if necessary but you must NEVER be surprised by traffic slowing ahead or some other problem.

Hope that helps.


Im finding it really difficult to change lanes especially during heavy traffic. I cannot tell when it is safe to move into the next lane during constant speed as im afraid the driver would ram into my car and at the same time i have to look infront to see the space gap between the car infront of me. Is there an easier way or can you give me some advise as a rule of thumb? Thanks.


Cathy, your dad should definitely read the book LEARNING TO DRIVE: A GUIDE FOR PARENTS. Click on the link above and print it out for him, or at leats click on the html version and print out the part about PRACTICE SESSIONS.

AS every professional driving instructor knows, learning to drive is NOT easy, especially if you have not done anything similar such as driving go-carts or riding a bicycle. Even video games can help. It is MUCH harder for parents to tech their own kids because there's emotions involved. You've got to slow everything down and concentrate on learning it bit by bit .e.g. very smooth starts and very smooth stops.

And, as suggested in the booklet above, one of the best things you will ever do it buy a second rear-view mirror for your dad to use. Trust me on this. It really helps!


Im 16 and Today was my first time ever driving lesson with my dad. I was excited to get behind the wheel for my very first time but a bit nervous too. Well the lesson went ok my dad was teaching me in a way that lets just say Screaming calling me names like stupid and just making me nervous because he was telling me that he should only tell me one time how to do it and I should get it right away. I tried to not pay attention to it and just concentrate but I couldnt it was hard but I know I have to keep practicing with my dad I hate it buts its the only way I will learn. I didnt drive completely horrible but it wasnt good either. Dose any one think I should keep practicing with my dad?


What are the main things you must do when driving on an Interstate road? My mom wont let me take my license test until I drive on an Interstate with my drivers ed instructor.....


Your children are so lucky that they have parents that are willing to tech them how to learn...I'm 18 soon turning 19 and none of my parents or relatives that have full licences want to dive me i have to fork out tonnes of bucks for driving lessons but i don't feel like i'm learning much cuz the lessons are spread out nd i need consistency...


Wouldn't it be better if the U.S did as England does? You have to be 18 to drive there and take a drivers course in order to do so. The cost is about $250 U.S. dollars or maybe less. I think 15 & 16 is much too young for most people. I have a daughter almost 16 with a learner's permit, she scares me alot even in a parking lot and her size adds to my insecurities- she is about 85lbs, and under 5 foot. She is smart but I want to wait but she is upset about waiting. Has anyone had experience dealing with their children getting really upset at their parent for making them wait? I want to do what is best for my child. Thank you.

Walter H.,


When people yell at you (driving instructors or parents) it means that they are asking you do do something you have not learned and you can't do it.A good instructor will be able to break down driving into bits that you can manage ... for example how to brake smoothly, steer accurately etc.

So, if you have not learned the basics and feel comfortable starting, stopping, turning, etc. then DON'T go into traffic. Driving is complicated and some people have to learn from the beginning. That's what it takes.


Hi I have had my permit for over a year now I am 17 going on 18 and I am starting btw instructions on Saturday, i would really love for anyone to give me some hints as to how to not freak out when I get behind the wheel. I have taken some lessons with my dad and those have not ended nicely, he yells a lot and I think that makes it worse ,he says it my last chance to get my license, so please any advice would be welcome , email me at


im 17 and i dont have my g1 what do i do when i have no money to pay


Mari, don't worry. Examiners expect you to be nervous. You'll get over it during the test.


Ok, I have my road test tomorrow, I am an ok driver, then again I am only going to be 17. I have been driving alot lately and I am really nervous about tomorrow, parallel parking is a BIG part where I live and so are K-turns I have a review session tonight, any advice? What if I get a meanie for and examiner?


I'm 17 and ive had my permit 2 times already. I dont get to drive alot and have not had alot of experience. I cant even back out of a parking lot decent. my parents fuss at me alot while im driving and they make me panic because they have a tendency to yell at me for my mistakes. Would it be weird if I got my permit again? My parents cant afford insurance but i want to drive more?

Mark Arsenault,

I'm a reporter working on a news article about parents teaching teens to drive.
I'd love to interview someone in this situation.
please email me at
Thank you!


Hi! I am an 19 going on 20 year old college student who has barely gotten her permit a few months ago. My family has finally started to teach me how to drive since my dad bought me a used car. But there is just one problem: my permit expires on June 26th and I fear that I am not going to have enough time practicing driving. Right after I had gotten my permit, I told my mother if she could PLEASE put me in driving school since EVERYBODY in my family works and complains that they are tired and do not want to do nothing for nobody. She told me ok but she still has not put me in driving school. I do not want none of my sisters teaching me because all they are going to do is scream and yell, and my dad is even worse! I feel more confortable going to a school and being taught my an instuctor because that is how I learn to do things. That is just the way I am. So if anyone has ANY ideas on what I should do please comment. Thanks!


Hey everyone. So I am 22 and just not got my permit. I know,I know. I have been traveling with a performance group in this summers since I was a teen and learning how to drive never really fit in my schedule. My tip for parents or anyone teaching someone to drive is to be clear with your directions. Today I had a friend helping me who said "move over". So I freaked out a bit, move over where?!! Also I have been taken to learn how to drive to local parks. I am in PA so we have lots of parks with tons of hills and curves. They have mostly one way streets and not a lot of traffic so it is the perfect place to learn. I know that at 22 I am pretty scared driving right now. I am sure it is the same for your teenage sons and daughters. Try not to get too frustrated with them and make sure to remind them that it does eventually get easier! Best of luck to everyone!!

David W,

Kate, Despite what Walter H. says, Parent Taught Driver Education can be a very rewarding experience for both parent and child. If you have the confidence and the time and also importantly, your child's respect, give it a go. Remember, your daughter has been driving with you for the past 15 years and has already learnt all of your bad habits - so it might pay to first take a long hard look at your own driving before getting into the passenger seat beside your daughter! If you want some more detailed advice on this subject check out the Coach a Rookie website. They also run a free help desk if you have any questions relating to teaching your very own Rookie Driver.


I am a fifteen year old that is just wondering what is needed to drive to school and to work because I have heard that with the current license I have which is the Florida Learner License E I can drive to those two places and back but supposedly I need to apply somewhere for that.... and well if someone could be so kind as to give me the link to a site that gives me information on this I would greatly appreciate it. you can answer me on this or send me an email at

Walter H.,

Parent-taught can sometimes work out very badly. Same for any family member because other emotions get in they way. Teaching driving is not easy. Dual controls and a good instructor is much better, but it's not easy to find a good instructor


What are your thoughts on Parent Taught Driver Education? My daughter is about to turn 15 and we are looking at our options for Driver's Ed.

Walter H.,

Tracy, don't worry. Take it step by step, master each part and then move on to the next. After a while it will all come together.

A good instructor will really help. You need someone who is patient and good at instruction but also knows how to take you through each part of the task.

and by the way, if you feel nervous or stressed out after the beginnign of the first lesson, get a better instructor.


I'm 22 years old, and still unlicensed. I'm on my fourth permit, and even the thought of getting behind the wheel leaves me shaking and sweaty. I know I have to get over this fear, and am trying to find any help or hints. Thank you for this wonderful site.


Mike, an instructor's view ...the lower hand position on the steering wheel is now acceptable and in some text books on driving. This has to do with airbag technology and developing the habit of keeping your hands out of the way of airbags if they deploy. You need to practice it.

5 and 7 is excellent for control even in extreme maneuvers if you're good at it. However, on the test don't worry too much about it as long as you a) don't ever take both hands off the wheel b) don't ever grasp the wheel on the inside. This is awful control.

About parking - the most important thing is that you are able to control the car in these maneuvers. If you hit something or don't know which way to turn the wheel to get the desired result you're in trouble. Otherwise, your parking doesn't have to be perfect.


I am going for my license on Thursday and was wondering on a coule things:

1) I heard there was a new way to hold the steering wheel , I took the lessons and practiced it as "10 and 2" but someone recently told me that you hold it at the bottom something like "8 and 4" or "7 and 5". So does anyone know anything about this or can I just go into the test with "10 and 2" like I learnt.

2) How hard is the parallel park and 3 point turn on the test? I have been practicing it alot lately and was wondering how strict they are. If you touch the curb a bit on the 3 point turn is it a big deal? Like do they have to be perfect?
And also my friend told me he had to do a 3 point turn but no parallel park , that is pretty weird.

3) How important is regular parking in a parking lot? If you have to correct it to make it better will they take alot of marks off?



If Ryan's note isn't the best argument for compulsory education, through at least High School, I don't know what is. This is one troubled, uneducated young person who is going to have a difficult time once he gets out into the real world.

Ryan, heed the old adage: "never document your ignorance".




I doubt that Ryan Spartz is 15. Given the fact that he can't spell, use correct diction or express a thought in proper English, I'd say he is probably around 13 or perhaps 14 and somewhat troubled.


Ryan Spatz - OK I'm guessing your age is 15, or something less that adult.


Ryan Spartz, so you want your children to fear you? How is that smart or responsible parenting?

Ryan Spartz,

Kids are growing up too quickly. They see all thier friends raised by irresponsible parents like all of you dimwits and get in over thier head. Children need to learn discipline whether thier good kids or not because deep down every kid is a sinner just as I was. Do not have any faith in your children. Even if they request to start driving at the right age after they have showed proper driving skill and understanding of road rules and immense responsibility, lay out the discipline and let them know not to speak when not spoken too. I am proud to say my little daughter is scared to ask daddy for anything and she knows better not to mess with me. She knows not to ask me anything that involves me having to get up. If she want's to drive, she can when im dead or when she legally is allowed too. Until then, ill taunt her at how she is the only one not driving. I'll ground her for doing absolutley nothing just so she fears every screwing up with me. You parents know nothing. Just shut up and smack your kids silly. Americans disgust me.

Walter H,

Mikki, relax. The 4 months will pass very quickly and consider yourself lucky. With the graduated licensing systems a lot of places are getting this is the law - and for even longer periods. And your parents may be smart. Most crashes with new drivers happen with friends in the car and at night!


Thomas i know exactly what you mean! im getting my drivers license 2moro and my parents are saying that even if i do, i wont be allowed to drive with anyone else in my car or at night for the first 4 months... i mean come on, im a really responsible driver and i've been looking forward to getting my license for 6 months... now it doesn't even seem worth it.

please help.. i dont know how to change their minds


My son is almost 18 and has his permit only still. He is very anxious when we go to drive. I live in a rual area and we do go out when there is not much traffic but the roads are hilly and curvy. He tells me he isn't going to get his license, that he will get someone to drive him everywhere he needs to go. (could be me?). Should I just wait unitl he ask to drive more and get his license or encourage him?
Also we have had 8 fatalities so far this year in my town. The infrastructure is so messed up. Too many people driving and not enough roads.


I am 16 and just got my liscence after my 1 year of driving. my dad would be asleep or reading the paper by the end of my year. now that a have a paid off car,that they did not purchace, and my parrents are not paying insurance, they wont let my drive to school. I do not drive recless or speed. any help?


I got to do a three point turn thrusday for my license


how is a three point donin a driving test


Hope it's not a muscle car. you probably wont survive. on the other hand if its too weak its dangerous when you try to merge with traffic. Are you getting a new car?

Chay ,14,


I'm about to begin driving and i'm very excited but my driving needs a little work ,what type of car do you think
I should get for my 16 b-day? Chay

Jennifer, 14,


I don't think it makes any difference if the car is big or small. My Mom has an SUV which I think is really hard to drive (for me) and my Sister has a Toyotta. I kinda like driving my Sisters car when she lets me but feel safer in Mom's. Either way, if you screw up and like go to fast or drive crazy you can crash in either car, so be carefull.



i'm 13, so take what i say with a grain of salt

Firstly, lighten up people; act as if every kid you meet will have the same life experiences. i understand the point of view that they're "not mature enough" or "too naive", but, and let these words sink in a bit,
they will not all be the same.
not everyone is like that miller kid down the street who crashed his parents car.

although i would assume most of the parents here think that they know about what their kid can and can't do, you have to give them a chance (not to throw all caution to the wind of course)

just take them to an open plot of land somewhere.


i do have to admit, i drive a jeep wrangler and it's probably one of the hardest cars to keep control of, especially on the highway. and although it's not that large, its an suv with a high center of gravity and a really short wheelbase, which means you have to be constantly aware of EVERYTHING. but i'm always careful in it and the way i see it is if i can keep control of it safely, then i'm pretty much prepared to drive anything in life with a good amount of control.

Actual Acts Man 16,

To Cameron....

About your crash (I'm glad your ok and sorry you couldn't take him off the road) i always slow down about 15 miles an hour and more if there aren't stopped cars at the places they could come from. also i keep my foot on the brake so i have that half a second more or stopping time.

"Thanks so much for the tip. As far as vision training, would that involve seeing a possible accident ahead of time? Or are you saying to keep a more diligent eye on the road? Or both?"

To address this a little further, you can think about it as my mom and i do. She was a cab driver for some time and a limo driver as well, both when she was not much older then us. She says you have to look at the cars that are a few hundred feet up the road, you want to know how to fit into that group, who to stay away from, what the other drivers are likely to do.

It is harder to do this on city streets, but it can be done to a lesser degree with the same effectiveness. As a driver your job is to help keep traffic moving fluently and to keep your driver happy and conferrable. You do this by driving so that you are in the way of the least amount of people wile also having the least amount of people in your way. Avoid clumps of cars on the highway, in the city take a right then a left when you see congestion. Change lanes before you have to, not when or after. drive the speed limit or what's safe, and don't slow down, move around people going slower then you and resist the urge to clump. Humans naturally stick together and for packs, but on the road you want to get your own safe space and leave the other guys and gals their safe spaces.

Stereo typing is bad.... when its done with people. but with cars it's helpful. You see a jet black Mustang with decals... that person is probably going to be an aggressive driver. You see a Cadillac in the fast lane doing 40, probably elderly, a car with a tore up right side.. might want steer clear of their right side.

Remember everyone and everything is a potential threat. Try your best to be aware of everything around you expect the car in front of you to d something stupid, so if/when it does happen you are ready.

Sorry about this next part but is it so dangerous to think you are "safer" in a bigger car, it leads to bad driving. Larger cars are harder to drive they take up more of the road so you have to be more sure of your movements, how the wind is affecting the car, how much more space your H3 needs to stop then your Honda Fit, and finally how much visibility you have tied in with you big you are relatively.

A larger car is NOT necessarily safer. It IS in fact more dangerous, ESPECIALLY if you are a new driver.

Larger cars (mostly SUV's) have taller bumpers that do not "sit" at the right hight, this means in a crash you the inexperienced driver isn't going to cause a a bumper to bumper paper work headache, your going to cause a fatality. Instead of hitting the car at its bumper, which will send the force into the trunk or engine compartment, you will send it into the heads of the kids in the back-seat. Lovely Visual, no?

I will grant you that Mini Vans do sit at the right hight and are safer in a collision, this is true because of DESIGN, and not weight. But the safest collision is an avoided one A smaller car has quicker handling, better pick up, more responsive breaks, and more paces to fit in out of the way.

Before you make macho comments Cameron, actually think about the situation don't be stupid. Sorry to burst your bubble about that.


yeah, I was driving in the afternoon this morning, this was probably my second time driving and I was driving in a pretty urban area. there was a good amount of traffic. Basically, I think what my dad was, was get my scared of the road, im going to quote him here. Everytime you get into a car you have to be afraid of other drivers. and I will tell you now after driving for just 20 mins in an urban area with traffic for the second time ever driving, I got scared. although in the long run I believe it helped me.

Cameron 16,

To Ally:

My mom has a 04 Dodge Caravan, and I have a Chrysler Sebring. You would probably want to stick with the smaller cars, I really love the way my car brakes, and the turns are easier to make as well. But in my moms car, the steering is better, but the brakes nearly brake my foot off for me to stop. Trust me, stick with the smaller cars. Only thing I am concerned with is safety. If I was to get in an accident, I would wanna be in the Caravan. But if you really value safety, drive a larger car, and keep your foot strong! LOL.


Is driving a smaller car better for a new driver? becasue I drive a bigger car and its harder for me to drive it compared to a smaller car.

Cameron 16,

Once again. Now I have enrolled in my segment two program which requires six hours of classroom time. This is the most boring course I have ever been through. But anyway, I am getting further prepared to take my road test on the week of the eleventh ( December 06 ) I am fretting over this stupid parallel parking crap. I am using the Straight, Right, Straight, Left routine, but its just not working. Driving a Chrysler Sebring for the test. Kinda long, so it seems like I can hardly fit in the space. What should I do?

As for Megan, Thanks! I have not exactly used country roads for winter driving. But it did snow today really hard, and I thought the whole thing went really well. (I know everything goes great when my mom is quiet). I live in a pretty urban envrionment, so the roads are thoroughly plowed,and salted. A little worried about the ice though. Thanks Again


I don't know where you live but here in N.J. there is no such thing as a piece of "private property" large enough to allow a driver to get out of 2nd gear, let alone reach anything near highway speed. In short, it's virtually impossible here to begin teaching a student driver before they reach "legal" age.
In addition to that we have the toughest insurance regulations in the nation, whereby our teenagers are not "permitted" to get behind the wheel until they are legally permitted (pun intended). The beginner's permit is legally restricted for the first year, requiring a licensed, experienced (3 years min.) adult to be present in the vehicle AT ALL TIMES, with no other passengers allowed. This permit can only be aquired AFTER completing a 6-hour course taught by a professional driving instruction agency. There are also restrictions for time of day allowed. At age 17, the student can then be tested to earn a conditional license which permits them to legally practice for another year without the adult, but continues to limit the time of day and passengers to only one. Finally, at about age 18, the student can earn a valid driver's license and go out on their own. N.J. insurance is geared to follow these regulations and will not honor damage claims as a result of any underage driver who operates a motor vehicle outside of these parameters. Parents who might elect to teach their kids before these criteria are met assume a huge liability, should any accident occur.
In many cases, the parents find their insurance costs skyrocketing as insurers raise their premiums as soon as a "resident child" reaches potential driving age, whether the child actually drives or not. The cost to add my 16-year old daughter to my current policy is $3500.00/year...and this is based on a perfectly clean driving record for both myself and my wife.
If I allow my daughter to operate a car before she was "legal" and she has an accident, I will lose my insurance completely, not to mention the threat to my home/property from the ensuing lawsuits that my insurance won't cover.
Unfortunately, this set of circumstances only serves to aggravate the situation of putting inexperienced drivers on the road, thereby adding fuel to the fire.

Welcome to New Jersey, the INSURANCE capital of the nation.




I got to drive in the winter weather last year with my permit. My Mom took me out on a snowy road near our house and I got to practice. I had to learn that the car can slide easily on the packed snow and that it takes a LOT longer to stop than when there is no snow.

She took me to a parking lot at the mall and I drove for like an hour and practiced stopping and what to do if the car skids. I did not drive by myself last winter but did drive with my Mom in the car with me. It's kind of scary but you have to go slow and be very careful and watch for other drivers.


Cameron 16,

To Walther H,

Thanks so much for the tip. As far as vision training, would that involve seeing a possible accident ahead of time? Or are you saying to keep a more diligent eye on the road? Or both? I really am looking out now, and I wish that the expressways were everywhere. I live in a large, but small city, so roads aren't bad. How is winter driving. I have seen, but not experienced it, for all, someone fill me in.

Walther H,

In response to Lucy,

I’d like to throw in a professional driving instructor point of view. When parents, or anyone who is emotionally involved with the student driver, try to instruct there are a lot of obstacles to overcome. Here’s a story to make the point:
Some years ago I was teaching a beginner who had very little experience. He had no practice with his parents and only had driven the few hours of lessons with me. We’re on a side street (little or no traffic) and approaching traffic lights at an intersection with a busy street. I say to him “turn right here.”
The next thing I know we’re in the middle of a pile of rubble in the parking lot of a demolished building.
There’s no point in blaming the student driver. I’m the professional. What did I do wrong?
Analysing afterwards, communication was poor and my entire set up with this student was wrong.
I had not ensured that I had taught him one of the most basic of skills for any change in speed and/or direction. NEVER do it suddenly without following the process (checking, communicating, positioning, adjusting speed, etc.).
Being inexperienced as an instructor I had also not realized what a small world the student is usually in because their inexperience only allows them to take in small amounts of information in comparison to me.
Teaching someone how to drive can be very challenging because every individual is different. A perfect instructor will never get angry and never be under high stress. The vast majority of professional instructors are nowhere near perfect (and many are not really all that good). A novice instructor (especially a parent of family member) has a lot of challenges to overcome.

A footnote to parents: never say "turn right here." Always say - "at the next intersection, etc."

And a footnote to Cameron above: some 'accidents' may be described as, for all practical purposes, unpreventable. However, if you want to avoid crashes (or even incidents) in the future concentrate on vision training. Learn to gather information like some of those guys on CSI Miami!!


I'm a 16 year old driver and since it seems to be mostly parents here I'd like to speak on behalf of other young teens.

Driving is scary if you're not used to it. Like most things, you need time and practice to develop skill. Please don't yell at us if you get frustrated, we're trying and it isn't easy for us. If the whole parent/teen thing isn't working out admit defeat and let us take "lessons" with a close family friend or relative. We don't need the added stress of fighting and we don't really want to, contrary to what you might think. What we really need is for you to tell us you believe in our abilities and that we can do anything we put our mind to, even driving.

Cameron 16,

Hi, some professional please respond to this comment. I have had my level one permit for six months now. A little after the third month, after driving hours to Florida, Virginia, Jersey, from Flint, Michigan, I was hit by a drunk driver. car damage was very minimal, and this was a reality check. My mother was in the car, and I Managed somehow to get from 45mph, to 10mph when this man came out in front of me out of no where. Did I mention he drove off? The whole thing was unpreventable. Yes, not to be found. So I have been driving regularly, seeming now to always to be on guard. My confidence is back normal, but how can give it a major boost again. I am a good driver, and all of my family thinks so. I will be driving by myself soon, so help me. Give me some in depth tips on sccident prevention. And for all those who keep condemning this early age practice, the only reason that I drive as well as I do, was because of the training I received from home. Driver's training only helps a little. I know this simply because you start out either knowing what you are doing, and learn extra skills, or you start out like crap, learn new skills, and mess those up even worse, then they look like the teens that we saw in the videos in d.t class. Severely injured because of stupidity, or dead. But I will admit that some circumstances are unpreventable. Like in this unnecessary fender bender.


hi TERESA: When you drive the car you should put L plate and passenger over 21 years old with full license holder over 3 years plus children must all the time remain on their children seat special one you now and seatbelt fasten ok make sure that they have seatbelt on pleas and all peaople in the car .ciao


hi people ,pleas dont play with your kids lives because they should'nt in any case have lessons from you parents only if you an ADI licens. A learning new driver should read first about driver esencial skills and highway code.I personally suggest you all to take minimum 10 hr practic with BSM,AA etc.

Lee Ann,


I'm new to driving too and was kind of scared when Mom let me drive for the first time by myself. I just went to the store for her but it was kind of like scary to be alone in the car. She had always been with me since I started with her and there was like nobody there.

She always told me I could do it and she said she had confidence in me and I'm glad she let me drive by myself cuz now I know I can do it safely. I can't drive with anybody else yet and I don't want to until I have more experience and have my permit but it let me know I can do it without any problems.

Maybe if you just let her drive by herself in an area where there is no traffic she'll get confidence in her ability. I know I did.

Lee Ann


I know what your daughter is going through I'm a new teen driver to and sometimes it's scary to be behind the wheel, and I know you've tried to comfort her but mabye you need to give her a push and tell her "she can do anything if she puts her mind to it". I was scared to go driving into to town because I knew I was behind the wheel and I knew I had other peoples life in my hands, and if I messed and crashed I would could my fault. I'm not the best at parrel parking, but I keep practicing so I can past the test for the first time.


Al C:

Obviously, you didn't "check" very hard. In most states, it is NOT illegal to let someone who doesn't have a license or permit drive on private property. My husband and I taught both of our daughters to drive when they were about 12-13 because we wanted them to be able to drive in an emergency situation. They drove under our supervision and only on private property. It is NOT illegal and I'm glad we gave them hours of experience before they got their permits and licenses.

As to your comment about having "a law against private individuals teaching family and friends how to drive", that's so ridiculous it's funny. Perhaps if more parents taught their children proper driving habits at an early age, we would have fewer teens accidents and fatalities.

Thanks for the laughs though. That was worth the read.

Kolby Atchison,

Well ya might say driving is safe , but ill tell yall that it isnt unless u have sunglasses or the radio.

Al C,

I am intrigued by the parents who take their kids out without permits. Last time I checked that was against the law. So what message are you sending your kids right at the outset? "It's okay to break laws." You're really setting a great example.

There should be a law against private individuals teaching family and friends how to drive. They just don't realize the seriousness of the task and in too many cases just pass on their bad attitudes and habits.


Everyone talks about hours behind the wheel; in Washington State we have driving instructors that sit in a car with a student for one hour (never moving) and the state allows that as a lesson?! Washington state requires thirty hours of classroom if you are under 18; over 18 just pass their knowledge test and they don't care if you ever read the driver's handbook! Today one can get a degree on-line; Washington has free on-line high school yet you must have thirty hours of a teacher showing outdated videos and knowing that he's had two accidents with students driving. I wish the state would test the driving instructors every two years--not a written test that teachers have to cheat to pass but a driving test and merge onto the freeway at night! Take all the money the DOL is making closing down Probst's empire and pass it on to those that think miles are more important than hours of instruction. And driving instructors that teach at night in the rain or snow!


does anyone know if your allowed to take your children with you in a motor vehicle when your learning to drive if the passenger is over 21 and holds a driving licence of 3 years or more? many thanks...


It would be interesting if one could quantify to correlation between when children are first taught to drive and their accident records say at age 21. I would imagine that kids that are taught to drive at an early age by a parent, have a markedly lower accident rate than those that start later. Probably from the amount of actual driving experience.

I know of two teen age girls that did not receive any "lessons" from their parents prior to getting their permits and only got behind the wheel for the first time during driver's ed. instruction. Both girls had serious accidents within 3 months of getting their licenses and one was lucky to have survived.

Where I grew up,we were taught to drive by a parent or older sibling (or both) at anywhere from 11 to 13 yrs. old and got a lot of time driving while "supervised" before we got our permits. I have yet to have an accident and neither my son or daughter has either. I started teaching them at 11 and 12 respectively and was with them on private property or roads with no traffic until they could handle the car safely. They were allowed to drive alone on private property after a year or so of driving with me or my husband and only under certain conditions. I would not change the way we taught them.




If you would check your facts, I think you would find that most teens are injured in urban areas, not rural areas. Most teens who learn to drive in rural areas (i.e., the country) start on tractors and farm/ranch equipment and are taught by parents and older siblings. The progression to the "farm truck" and car follow and most are good, experienced drivers by the time they can get a permit.

In our part of Oklahoma, rural kids are driving at a young age and have a decidedly smaller percentage of accidents than their urban counterparts.

Just an opinion....back up by facts. My kids started around 11-12 and none have ever had an accident or gotten a ticket.

"Okie" Steve



Thanks for the support and yes, you're correct. I believe that starting my daughters at an early age will make them better drivers in the long run and the experienced gained driving with me in the car will serve them well when they drive alone. I'm amazed at how well my oldest is driving. I could (but won't) let her go to the store for me by herself as she has developed a lot of self confidence in her ability to drive. Now the youngest wants to start "her lessons" as well. I'm not sure I'm ready for them both to be driving. When did you start driving ? Were you allowed to drive by yourself after gaining the confidence and having some experience ?

In the rural areas of the midwest, a lot my my daughters friends drive by themselves to run errands to the store for Mom and one or two are actually allowed to drive to school occasionally.

I don't know where Doug gets his concepts that driving will lead to sex, drugs and rock & roll. Both my girls like rock & roll, both are honor students and hopefully the other two elements haven't entered their lives yet.



Here's something that has helped slow my son down, at least temporarily. He's 15, has a learner's permit and is doing extremely well, accumulating 35 hours of driving practice in seven weeks, including driving on Chicago area expressways.

His biggest fault is that he accelerates up to the speed liit too quickly and waits too long to brake. Both I and his instructor pointed this out, but he continued his jackrabbit style.

When we filled the tank, I pointed out that with him as the primary driver, the mileage slipped to 20.5 mpg from my usual 22 around town. This appealed to his environmental instincts and created an opportunity to beat Dad at something else.

His goal now is to top my usual mileage, and he has slowed down and applies the brakes sooner.


Just started taking my daughter out driving since she will be getting her learner's permit in two months. I've been having her drive in parking lots and it's been going great until she had a mini-fender-bender today. Just passing this along so you will be aware. My daughter was trying to park the car in the lot and forgot the gas pedal from the brake, pressed the gas while in the parking slot and drove the car up and over the curb and banged into the building in front of us! Pretty scary. Fortunately, she didn't damage the car but it was a real eye-opener for both of us. I not too disappointed it happened since I'm hoping it will give her a healthy respect for the car from now on. But, it obviously takes a real long time for them to get used to the correct pedals. It's going to be a while before my daughter goes out on the road.


That's a big jump from sex and drugs to driving Doug.

I suspect you're a big city guy. Here in the wide open spaces of the mid west things are different.

And besides, there's nothing wrong with kids beginning to learn early. Isn't that the idea? Lots of supervised driving before they start going on their own. Learing something about driving at 10 doesn't have to mean progressing straight away to the 'hard drugs' of on-your-own in busy traffic with a bunch of other teens.

About the teens dying on rural roads -- maybe its not enough "experience"!


Sandi, oh, Sandi!

She's 12 years old and she "wants to learn to drive" so you just agreed?? There is a reason that adults sometimes have to be the authority figure.

I wonder what else she wants to learn about... maybe sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll?

No wonder so many teens die on rural roads as drivers and passengers.

Walter H,

Response to Mike - when yo start your lessons in the car, if you don't feel relaxed by the middle of the first lesson then change instructors straight away. A big part of the instructors job is to keep you calm and keep everything under control. If you stay nervous then your instructor is not teaching right


I did just that with my daughter. She is almost 13 and can't get her permit yet but wants to learn to drive. I asked my Sister to help since my Mother taught us both how to drive at an early age. She agreed and has been taking Julie, my daughter, to a parking lot and teaching her how to drive. There isn't the conflict of a parent/child and Julie has learned in a relaxed atmosphere, which has worked well.

We live in a rural area and yesterday I actually let her start the car and back out of the driveway by herself and then I sat in the passenger seat and she drove about two miles to the edge of town. She has a definate confidence in her ability to safely control the car. The approach to having a relative or trusted friend teach your child to drive worked for me and I'll do the same with my youngest daughter (10)in a year or so.


A big misconception that parents make is that if their child takes drivers ed, they then know how to drive properly. Too many kids go for a road test unprepared because parents get too frustrated to take them driving. A lot of them have not driven since drivers ed, but Mom and Dad figure they paid enough for the course, the child must have learned the proper methods. Consider having a close friend or relative take your child out. They can give you feed back on things you may not notice, they will have more patience with a teen that is not their own, and everyone will remain calmer and more relaxed. It is not a positive experience for a teen when a parent is trying to teach them and is yelling, etc.


I'm about to start driving school and i'm very nuervous, what could i do to try and relax, i've heard that going in nuervous can prevent the use of many things i learned in drivers ed.


This is a big problem. I had a big row with my son. He lost control going around a corner because he didn't slow down enough. I got mad at him but maybe it was my fault for not telling him to brake more.


I went through the same thing with my husband. He was taking our 12 year old son and a friend to "practice" their driving and I had to put a stop to that. Since then, I've been taking our son to an empty parking lot and teaching him with just the two of us. I let him start the car and back it out of the garage for me but have not let him drive on the street yet even though we have almost a half mile before the next house.


My daughter expressed an interest in driving when she was about 12. While I didn't want to discourage her, I had to use a healthy measure of "common sense". I started taking her to empty parking lots which were on private property, and teaching her the basics. After a number of "lessons" she drove on private property and I sat in the passenger seat so that she could get some real experience handling the car. She has "logged" over 25 hours of driving with me in the car and she has developed a keen sense of responsibility. I have not let her drive on public roads or in traffic but when she starts her drivers ed. at school, she will get an additional 25 hours, with me, after she has her permit. This worked for me as my Mother started teaching me to drive when I was 11 although it was in the country.

Walter H,

Jeanie, 8 hours of driving time seems like very little. Your daughter may be greatly underestimating the task or asking too much of herself. In my experience, somewhere between 30 and 50 hours of driving time is required for someone starting from scratch. You have probably given her some of this time so I’m sure she has more than the 8 hours of instruction you mention.

The key to successful instruction is to break the task down into manageable bits so that the learner has a continuous diet of success in mastering them. Failure is a part of learning. If she is not failing to some extent she is probably not taking on enough new challenges. However, too much failure is bad for the psyche and success helps it blossom. If your daughter knows what she has to learn and feels she is accomplishing it bit by bit she will feel good about driving.

I don’t know the exact circumstances of her learning (city, rural, difficult traffic and so on) but driving is not a simple task and it takes a year or two to become reasonably accomplished (not just pass the test!). A good instructor will not only teach her the basics but will also map out the learning that lies ahead over the next few years. It’s the building of habits that is the most difficult, and most dangerous part, and these take shape over time. That’s why many states are looking at graduated licensing systems.

Hope all goes well.



My 15 yr. old has just completed driver's ed/6 hours of driving. Her instructor requested that she drive an additional 2 hours. I happily agreed and scheduled more time; however, my daughter feels she's a failure and cries when she get behind the wheel now. I have tried to comfort her and assure her that is takes time, practice and patience. She doesn't want to hear that. Need some advice how to help her deal with this minor setback. Thanking you in advance.



Dan -,

Mark, Jonathan,

To get an answer to your question about learner permits and driving in another province/state you could check Organizations listed in our LICENSING>ORGANIZATIONS section here .

In particular, the American Association of Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) web site will provide you with links to contacts in each state. OR, you could try contacting AAMVA itself at this phone number - AAMVA: (703) 522-4200. They could likely tell you where to get the relevant information in each state/province. Licensing rules vary from one jurisdiction to another.


Mark your note Friday June 16. I have similar desire -- from Southern Ontario (Toronto area) to South Dakota and Missouri. Wondering where / on what roads my son, 16 1/2 on a G1 Ontario License, can drive. Thinking to contact State Patrol of some states and learn more?


I'm going on a 2-week trip through 3 states with my 15-year old, and would like him to get some highway driving time behind the wheel. He has a learner's permit for Nebraska, but I can't seem to find out if it would be legal for him to drive in Wyoming or South Dakota. Anybody have any idea? Thanks.


My son is now driving on a temp license. And I have to be with him for 50 hours. I can't handle more than 20 minutes at a time. Please tell me they learn better control of the brake pedal. He nearly decapitates me every time he stops!


My son just finished behind the wheel training and I'm glad I happened upon this site. I wasn't sure when I should let him drive. I now know I should schedule driving "lessons" and have these lessons in comfortable settings for him. Nicki, I am having a hard time dealing with him driving. He's only 16 and he doesn't seem very comfortable behind the wheel (which I guess is normal). I don't feel the 6 hours of instruction has prepared him and now it's up to me.

Walter H,

I think just about everybody has difficulty dealing with a new teen driver. They get a lot of success learning to control the car and then they think they are good drivers.

I read somewhere, maybe on this site, that teens learn habits from their parents and relatives even before they start themselves. Maybe parents should start learning themselves well before their kids are teens.

How about a course for pre-teen parents?



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