A Message to Parents
Teaching Your Teen to Drive
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Thank you for choosing The Parents’ Supervised Driving Program. You’ve just taken an important step to helping your child become a safe driver.
As a parent of four children who have all earned their driving privileges, I know how daunting introducing your child to driving can be. As parents and guardians we often ask ourselves, “Am I doing the right things? Am I teaching the right skills? Are they ready to drive on their own? Will they be safe when I’m not there?”
We’re pleased to partner with Safe Roads Alliance to offer this program. It helps answer these questions by providing a strategy for your driving interactions with your teen, including experiences and concepts you should introduce them to and guidance you should offer. The time you spend driving with your child is some of the most important time that will be invested in your child’s driving development – highway safety and driver education experts all agree that children who spend more time driving with their parents are more likely to be better and safer drivers – so making that time the most effective it can be is critical.
As you chart your child’s path to independent driving privileges, we ask you to do three things:
- Consider the required supervised driving time with your child a minimum, and not the maximum. The more time you spend driving with your child, the more likely your child will be capable and safe when driving alone.
- Don’t let your supervision end when your child earns his or her independent driving privileges. You still play an important role in your child’s driving safety, even after your child has earned his or her intermediate license and may drive alone. Your child is still a young driver and is still developing ability and experience. Talk about where they are driving, when they are driving, and who they are driving with, and help them choose routes, trips, and destinations that are safe for their current level of ability and experience and that gradually increase over time.
- Be a good role model for your child, regardless of who’s in the driver’s seat. Children model their parent’s driving habits – be a model that’s alert, sober, drives at a reasonable speed, avoids anger and distraction, and always wears a seat belt.Thanks again for making this investment in your child’s safety. We hope you and your child have a great experience learning together.
Director, Iowa Department of Transportation