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Are Teens Supposed to Learn To Drive At 16 or 18?

Parents are always concerned about that day when your teen successfully gets a driver’s license. An exciting day for your child and terrifying day for you. Anne Marie Hayes, teen driving expert and author of 3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive, explains why 16 years old is a good age to teach our teens to drive.


Hi. I’m Anne Marie Hayes of the Teens Learn To Drive foundation. Your Teen Magazine asked me, “What’s the most common question that parents ask about teens and driving?” And I have to say that the biggest problem is most of us don’t ask enough questions. I put myself in that category, too.

For example,I thought that I could send my daughter to the best drivers ed program and that would be good enough. I mean, my job was done. And I’ve since learned through my research that that’s not nearly enough. There’s so much that parents need to know that can really help them support their teen drivers. But we don’t know the questions to ask.

What’s the Best Age to Learn to Drive?

One of the questions I do get asked a lot though is, “What’s the best stage for teens to learn to drive. Should you learn to drive at 16, or is 18 even better?” And initially, I looked at the research and I thought, “Well, the human brain doesn’t mature until age 25, so maybe 18 would be better, because then teens are two years more mature, and that’s a better place to start.”

But again through research, I’ve come to realize that 16 really is the better age. And the reason is, at 16 years old, teenagers are still home with their parents. Parents are the biggest influence on teens who are learning to drive, through coaching, monitoring, supporting, and helping them practice. And at 18 years old, youth are ready to leave home, whether it’s go off to college or moving out into their own apartments. So 16 really is the best age for teens to learn to drive.

Anne Marie Hayes is a certified driving instructor and author of 3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive: Lessons for Surviving the First Year of Driving. Learn more at

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