Pick the Right Driver's Ed Program for Your Teen
One of the most important decisions you'll make about your teen could very well be his driver's education program. Many communities offer training program options, so thoroughly investigate your choices. Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Investigate your options. Have your teen find out what programs his classmates participated in, and solicit advice from friends and neighborhood parents. Look for online reviews of your choices as well, and visit their websites.
- Don't be shy. The instructor will have a major impact on your child's safety as a driver, so ask lots of questions — in person — about instructor experience and background, the organization's accreditations, insurance liability, routes used for lessons and other program details. There's no substitute for behind-the-wheel experience, so seek a program with as much actual driving practice as possible. But beware of certain programs that teach emergency driving techniques. The Allstate Foundation has found some of these programs actually increase crash incidents.
- Seek a partnership. Let the facility know that you expect to be involved in the process of your teen's driver education. Ask for details about how much parental involvement you can expect to make sure you're not interfering in their training procedures.
- Ask for input on your continued role. Your teen's instructor is a professional at identifying areas where student drivers need improvement. So ask what you can do to complement the education process both during the program and after it.
- Talk to your teen. Ask him for feedback, including things he learned and what may have surprised him. Celebrate his success upon completing the program, but use the occasion to emphasize that formal lessons are only the beginning of the journey to becoming a safe driver.
Prepared by George Palatine, Allstate Auto Insurance company, Northbrook, Ill.