Tips for Teaching Your Teen To Drive

As your teenager becomes more interested in learning to drive, it may set off alarms in the back of your head. This is a normal reaction for most parents but by providing support and opportunities to learn, it will lessen those alarms.

It's important for teenagers to develop confidence and learn the skills necessary to get safely through those first few years of gaining experience. Become informed of the best teaching practices for your teenager so they stay safe while on the road.

Let's have a look at some tips to help ensure your teenager develops into a safe driver.


The more your teenager practices the more confident they become. Confidence is essential when they are faced with a challenging situation while on the road. Practice with your teenager some of the following tips:

  • A parking lot is a great place to practice skills such as turning, braking and becoming familiar with the controls of the car.
  • Back roads are great for handling curves, taking left turns, travelling uphill and downhill.
  • Practicing on busy roads should be the next step to learn how to change lanes, merge into traffic, turn left at lights, and other advanced skills.
  • Practice driving in snow, on ice, and while it's raining.
  • Consider how to drive more safely at night (minimizing glare, slowing down, etc).
  • Become familiar with how to use mirrors properly to check for blind spots.
  • Practice full stops at all railway crossings.

Private Driving Schools 

If you have the funds, driving schools are great to teach your teenager the basics of road safety. Most programs only offer 10 to 15 hours of instruction so it is still necessary for parents to become hands on in the learning phase. Be sure to enroll your teenager in a ministry approved driving school. When choosing a school look for the following:

  • Low student/teacher ratio
  • Instructor qualifications and experience
  • Minimum 20 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours behind-the-wheel instruction and 10 hours of flexible instruction
  • Up-to-date training manuals
  • Regular instructor upgrading

Insurance Discounts 

Devices are available that can be installed in the vehicle your teenager drives. It will monitor distance travelled, how often they brake, turn sharply or speed. The results may qualify you for a reduction in your car insurance in Ontario.

Participating in private driving schools would qualify you for a discount in insurance costs so be sure to ask your insurance provider about it when adding your new driver to your policy.


Distraction among teen drivers is the greatest cause for accidents. Before letting your teenager drive, prepare a contract listing the rules they must abide by. If they break the rules, consider taking the keys away for a while. These rules may include:

  • Driving with only one passenger if friends are a distraction
  • Turning cell phones off and keeping them out of reach
  • Always buckle up
  • Always observe speed limits
  • Setting curfew hours such as not driving after a certain time at night
  • Familiarizing yourself with the new cannabis legislation

Graduated Licensing 

In Ontario, new drivers must enter the graduated licensing system. Your teenage driver will obtain experience and skills gradually. It normally takes at least 20 months to complete. Details of the licensing levels are:

G1 License: 

  • Pass vision and written tests
  • Always drive with zero blood alcohol level
  • Drive with fully licensed driver having at least four years of experience
  • First road test can be taken after 12 months with G1 license

G2 License: 

  • Can be obtained after the G1 Road test
  • Can drive without experienced driver
  • Always drive with zero blood alcohol level
  • Road test can be taken after 12 months with G2 license

More information can be viewed here for the G1 and G2 licensing.

Teaching your teenager to drive with a calm and positive attitude will increase their confidence that you trust in their ability. Also remember to be a good role model. Become aware of and improve your driving habits so your teenager is less likely to imitate your bad habits.