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Sometimes Older Teens Need Extra Help to Be Competent Drivers

The good news:  after a couple of years, and a few hundred hours of experience, most teenagers will be a competent drivers. But for some, teen driving can still be worrisome even after the state awards a license. Sometimes an older teen driver will continue to struggle behind the wheel. So what then?

Competent Driving: After the License

First, try to determine why your older teenager isn’t a competent driver. Ask yourself the following:

1. Is my teenager mature enough to follow driving rules?

Some teenagers don’t drive well because they’re just not mature enough to follow driving rules consistently. Ask yourself, is my teen driver being reckless? Or breaking driving rules, like using his phone? If this is the answer, then revisit your family’s driving contract.

Remember it’s crucial to enforce the consequences you set out in the teen driving contract, which should include taking away the keys for major infractions like texting, speeding, or drinking. Otherwise, your teenager won’t take the teen driving contract—or driving well—seriously.

If you don’t have a teen driving contract and your teenager is behaving irresponsibly on the road, put one in place now. Google “teen driving contract” to get started.

2. Or does my teenager just need a driving refresher course?

Are you terrified when your teen is driving? Maybe it’s tune up time. Some older teenagers just don’t develop into competent drivers, even though they may be responsible and reliable in other areas of their lives. This is also true for adults, of course. If this describes your teen driver, then the answer for you is that your teenager needs additional training. That could come from you. Or it could be a professional instructor for a driving refresher course.

Start with where your teenager received her driver’s education. These instructors typically offer lessons on an hourly basis for any age of driver. The instructor can help assess where your teenager needs improvement. Keep up with these extra lessons until you’re confident your teenager is driving well.

Also be on the lookout for special programs in your area that may offer one- or two-day sessions on advanced driving techniques. These can include focused instruction on, say, driving in the winter or crash avoidance.

Diana Simeon

Diana Simeon is an editorial consultant for Your Teen.