How do you know when your teen is ready to drive alone? You know your teen best. Your instincts are probably the best judge of all. Remember, even if your teen is legally old enough to get a license, it's your decision whether or not he or she is ready.

Think about these questions:

  • Has my teen had enough practice, in varying conditions, so we are both confident with his or her ability to handle most situations?
  • Has my teen shown he or she can detect hazards and react to them quickly?
  • Have I noticed that scanning for hazards has become habit for him or her?
  • Does my teen always wear a seat belt and remind others to do so?
  • Does my teen not use his or her cell phone or text message while driving?
  • Does my teen wait to pull over to handle distractions or situations that take his or her eyes away from the road? Do I think he or she will act the same when I’m not with him or her?
  • Does my teen speed or drive aggressively?
  • Will my teen know to pull over if upset, frustrated, or angry?
  • Has my teen exhibited responsibility in other areas of his or her life and do I trust him or her to drive my car responsibly?

If you think more time and practice is needed before driving alone, talk to your teen about the reasons why. One possible way to handle it is to make a deal that your teen may get a license, but you don't want him or her driving alone in certain situations. These are all things you can address ahead of time with the parent/teen driving agreement.

For more tips, download Teen Drivers. Honest Talk. Real Solutions: A Handbook for Parents in English or Spanish.