EVERY day in B.C., 129 teens get their learner’s licence. With students out for summer break, that number peaks in our province as teens are eager to spend their free time learning to drive and becoming more independent.
In an ICBC survey, 29 per cent of parents surveyed believed their teens had picked up a bad driving habit from them. The most common habits were speeding, not coming to a complete stop, impatience, eating while driving and not shoulder checking. Survey respondents also revealed that if they could teach their teen over again, they would enroll them in professional driving lessons.
ICBC’s top five tips for parents:
- Set a good example: Once your teen has passed the knowledge and vision tests, they’ll get a class 7 learner’s licence and can now get behind the wheel with a qualified supervisor. Review your teen’s copy of ICBC’s Tuning Up for Drivers guide to brush up on the rules of the road, work on any bad driving habits and learn about the restrictions of each stage of the graduated licensing program so that you can make sure your teen follows them.
- Gearing up: The type of car your teen learns to drive on can make a big difference. It’s best to learn on a vehicle that’s a manageable size, has good visibility, an automatic transmission and as many safety features as possible. Begin your driving lessons on roads with minimal traffic and avoid rush hour congestion to help build your teen’s confidence and ease their nerves.
- Call in the experts: To help your teen gain as much driving experience as possible consider signing them up for lessons through a professional driving school if you can. Instructors can be objective without the emotion that’s often involved in parent-teen relationships. If you do choose this route, stay involved and discuss what they’re learning.
- Test it out: To prepare for your teen’s road test, practice driving as much as possible at different times of the day, in different weather and road conditions and in unfamiliar neighbourhoods. That way they’ll be prepared for whatever conditions they encounter on the day of their road test. Teens can also take ICBC’s road ready quiz to help them avoid common driving mistakes.
- Keep them safe: Once your teen has passed their class 7 road test and can now drive without a supervisor, consider creating a family contract. It helps set out your expectations of your teen, the responsibilities you want them to show on the road and the consequences for breaking those rules.
If your teen will be driving your vehicle, review your insurance coverage. If your vehicle is rated in an experienced rate class (all drivers in a household with at least 10 years’ driving experience), you’ll need to change the rate class.
Teens can find the redesigned practice knowledge test, video driving tips and road signs practice test on icbc.com. The practice knowledge test can also be downloaded as an app free from the Apple App Store.