Helping Your Teen Prep for Driving this Summer


The coronavirus pandemic may have slowed down a lot of things in life, but one thing it isn’t likely to slow down this summer is your teen learning how to drive. To help you prepare for this big life step, AZ Auto is sharing some tips to help your teen prep for driving this summer.

If your teen is getting an Arizona Graduated Instruction Permit, they are going to need as much advice and practice as they can get to become safe, responsible drivers. But before they hit the road, it’s important to prep them for the driving experience.

Prep Your Teen for Driving with a Vehicle Tour

Knowing your vehicle inside and out is really important for new drivers. You never know what situation you might come across. For example, if your teen is practicing their driving and all the sudden an unexpected rainstorm occurs, they need to know how to use their windshield wipers, where to turn on the lights, and how to use the defroster.

Review this checklist with your teen on the controls and features of your car. Let them locate each part and then educate them on how it works.

  • Dashboard controls
  • Mirror adjustments
  • Turn signals
  • Steering wheel adjustments
  • Seat adjustments
  • Headlights
  • Emergency lights
  • Windshield wipers
  • Seat belts
  • Gear shifter
  • Emergency/parking brake
  • Gas/brakes
  • Ignition
  • Warning indicator lights
  • Air bags
  • Gas tank
  • Temperature controls

Educate Your Teen on How to Handle Potentially Dangerous Situations

While you can’t always be prepared for every possible situation, you can prep your teen for a few of the more common ones before they even head out on the road. Discuss the best course of action for handling the following situations while driving:

  • Getting a flat tire or blowout while driving or parked (teach them how to change their own tire and/or how to call for roadside assistance)
  • Running out of gas (take them to a gas station and show them how to fill up the vehicle with gas)
  • Facing bad weather
  • Getting pulled over (make sure they know where to find the registration and insurance card)
  • Experiencing sudden car troubles (tell them where the car manual is and what number to call for help)
  • Getting into a car accident (who should they call first if coherent?)

How to Know When Your Teen is Ready to Drive

Unfortunately, there is no clear milestone to show you that your teen is ready to start driving. Obviously, age and your state’s laws will guide you on this, but the decision to let your teen start driving is a personal one.

Take into consideration your teen’s ability to be responsible with the choices they make and their obligations. But ultimately, remember that they are still teenagers. With that will come mistakes and lessons and the best way to learn is by doing.

Real Driving Practice for Your Teen

Once your teen has mastered getting comfortable with the vehicle and knows how to react in potentially dangerous situations, take them somewhere safe and as empty as possible, like an empty parking lot. Let them practice the basics of driving with you in the passenger seat at all times. Give them certain tasks to practice and once each one is completed successfully and repeatedly, advance the tasks to something a little more complex.

Let your teen become as experienced as possible in the basics before taking them to a low-traffic area. They should become proficient in:

  • Accelerating and knowing how hard to press the gas pedal to accelerate safely
  • Braking and knowing how hard to press the brake to brake safely
  • Turning the steering wheel to achieve the necessary turn while staying in their own lane
  • Driving straight
  • Backing up
  • Parking in a parking spot
  • Using their mirrors to monitor surroundings
  • Looking ahead and to the sides to stay aware of their surroundings and potential hazards
  • Keeping a safe distance from their surroundings

Once you feel certain that your teen is accomplished and comfortable with these skills, it’s time to take them to a low-traffic, low-speed area and let them practice on a real road.

Remember that your teen is learning. They will make mistakes. Try to stay as calm as possible while teaching them so they don’t become stressed out while practicing.

AZ Auto can help your Arizona teen get their graduated instruction permit! We offer practice tests you can access from our website here.

Your teen can also take the Permit Test @ Home with your help to setup a free account at AZ MVD Now. Once they pass the Permit Test @ Home, come and see us at AZ Auto. We’ll take a picture, complete the form, administer the written test, and issue the permit.

Find your nearest AZ Auto to call for details and instruction.