How to Effectively Teach Your Teen Driver’s Ed from Home

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Behind the WheelWhether your teen is home schooled or their high school doesn’t have an adequate program, teaching driver’s education may fall on your shoulders. To prepare them, you’ll need to follow the necessary state guidelines and regulations in addition to giving your kid ample time behind the wheel. Additionally, remembering to stay calm and patient during their learning period will keep stress levels down.

Guidelines and Regulations Refresher

Knowing state speed limits, traffic signals, signage, and regulations are key pieces of information to identify when teaching your child to drive. If you’re going to be their primary instructor, you want to familiarize yourself with all of your state guidelines.
Often states may require parents who are teaching driver’s education to take a refresher course on the basics or fill out certain forms to ensure they are instructing their children in proper road safety. You’ll find a number of classroom courses offered that can help give the parents the right tools for their teens to learn.

Highway Safety 101: Commercial Truck Safety

Commercial truck safety can be lacking in formal driver’s education programs all across the country, and many people don’t understand how critical this information can be to save lives. According to an Orlando law firm, “Around one-third of all truck accidents result from actions taken by the truck driver, but innocent motorists are much more likely to be the ones hurt in these deadly crashes.”

To prepare your teen for highway driving, you need to instruct them on truck safety. Commercial big rigs can often drive aggressively, and your young driver needs to realize the importance of avoiding a potential collision. By checking all vehicle mirrors before changing lanes as well as giving commercial trucks room to handle the road, they can bypass accidental cutoffs and accidents.

Common Hazards for Teens to Avoid Around Trucks

Your teenager will need to understand that they should be vigilant when driving around trucks and they may not be aware of the common hazards associated with driving around big rigs. They should be aware of and avoid these common mistakes:

  • Stay out of the trucker’s No-Zone. That’s the spots behind and beside a big truck where the driver has very limited or zero visibility.
  • Don’t abruptly change lanes abruptly in front of a truck with your vehicle.
  • When a commercial truck is making right turns, don’t maneuver to the right of them.
  • Don’t make a big rig have to brake suddenly or have to make dangerous maneuvers by merging incorrectly into traffic.
  • Make sure you don’t speed up or slow down when a truck merges or change lanes.
  • Make sure you give yourself enough headway when passing–don’t pass unsafely.
  • There’s air turbulence and cross winds that can hit you and knock you out of position when passing big trucks–use caution when passing.
  • Make sure you accelerate enough when you pull out in the road when there is an approaching truck-don’t misjudge their speed if you’re making a left turn in front of them from an intersection.
  • Don’t pull between two commercial trucks.

Quiz your teen on these rules and observe them when they first start driving on roadways around large vehicles. Many fatal vehicle crashes are caused by passenger vehicles, so it is important that they understand driver safety around large commercial vehicles.

Practice Makes Perfect

While it is necessary to teach minors about state regulations from a book or manual, practice behind the wheel is just as beneficial. You can start in a vacant parking lot so they can get a feel for the car. Parents should put themselves in their teen’s shoes and remember what it was like to drive for the very first time. Having compassion, patience, and a lot of time will give your new driver time to relax while adjusting to this new skill.

As your teen gets a grasp on the basics, they can slowly move to low traffic side streets. Practicing in all types of weather related conditions is just as crucial to their safety, so you need to ensure that they can handle anything that Mother Nature throws their way.

The Learner’s Permit

Your child will need to obtain their learner’s permit before legally driving on main roads with an adult in the car. Your city’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has driver manuals with information in regards to the states road and traffic safety laws which your teen will need to study and fully understand, to prepare for the written learner’s permit exam. The DMV will also have the required paperwork to fill out.


Holly Chavez is a multidisciplinary writer who enjoys writing entertaining and offbeat articles for families to enjoy. You can catch up to her on twitter @hollyleichavez


  1. Susie (The Esthetic Goddess) says:

    I taught all 3 of my boys to drive. I believe we had to get 50 hours behind the wheel. I purchased student driver magnets to put on the car to warn other drives who was behind the wheel. When they became more comfortable behind the wheel we didn’t use the magnets but they really did help people have more patience when they saw those magnets!

    • The magnets are a great idea! Here the schools that teach drivers ed have big signs on top of the car letting people know they are just learning. The magnets would be great for parents teaching their kids at home!

    • Holly Chavez says:

      Hi Susie,

      I am going through that right now. I home school my son, and the driver’s ed is up to me and dad. The magnets are a good idea, and I’m going to try it.

  2. I have taught many how to drive and now my youngest daughter Jessica is teaching her cousin Heather how to drive, I think driving should be taught in schools here a person under 25 has to do 120hrs of driving 100 daylight hours and 20 night time hours it is a lot and can take a long time for some to chalk up that many hours.

  3. Paul Graham says:

    Hi Krystle / Hi Holly. Good advice for both parents and young drivers. I taught my son the physical aspects of driving from a very young age on abandoned landing strips, parking lots etc but combined road experience, and regulation testing with the Young Drivers program when the time came for licensing as this is very beneficial for insurance rates. Like many young people he had great confidence in his own abilities.The biggest challenge was to remind him that the danger lay in the OTHER drivers, particularly ones in giant trucks who might have been driving 18 hours straight and whose earnings depended on getting there fast ! Great post and should be compulsory reading !

    • I bet your son was ready when it came for his test! Did he pass the first time? I was kind of scared of driving at first even with a driving instructor. I think it was having someone in the car there with me that bothered me. I hate being judged. I did fine once I was on my own.

    • Paul Graham says:

      Hi Krystle. Yes, he passed first time. I had mixed feelings about that as I didn’t want him to be over-confident but touch wood he has kept a good driving record so far

    • Glad he’s being a responsible driver so far Paul!

    • Holly Chavez says:

      Hi Paul,
      Great feedback, especially regarding the trucks and the defensive driving. I believe my son may think he is invincible at times. I am enrolling my son in a class this fall to help him with his driving in addition to what we were able to help with. I don’t there is enough taught about big trucks–very scary.

  4. We hired a training school to teach my children to drive. When I was in school we took drivers ed and we were trained in school on a stick gear car.

    • I wish I knew how to drive stick sometimes but I’m just fine with automatics. It would come in handy to know both though just in case.

    • Holly Chavez says:

      That’s a good idea. I think a stick shift teaches you how to be more focused driving. We will be taking my son for his driving test this weekend. May fingers are crossed.

  5. Mina Joshi says:

    My husband and I gave our boys lots of driving experience but they also had lessons with driving instructor who has a dual control car.

    • Now I like the idea of a dual controlled car. My driving instructor didn’t have such a thing. I bet some kids terrified him.

  6. I remember when I first learned how to drive; what a great feeling. In NZ the age requirement, back then, was 15 and no learners permit was required. You just had to drive around the block, park the car on a hill, reverse the car and you were legal to drive the streets. I look back on that now and shudder 🙂

    • I loved the feeling of being legal to drive too. So liberating although teenagers think they are invincible and don’t always have the best judgment.

    • Holly Chavez says:

      I know! It used to be pretty easy here before all the red tape got involved with getting a license.

  7. Karoly G Molina says:

    These are excellent tips! My mom taught me how to drive and I know it was a brave decision on her part. The magnet idea mentioned above sounds really good!

    • I’m sure your mom did a great job teaching you. My mom just made me extra nervous.

    • Holly Chavez says:

      Ha ha! I think I gave my mom a few gray hairs while I was driving. I never knew what she was so worried about until now.

  8. I only tried to teach one of my sons to drive once – after that experience it was decided that I should bow out and let my husband take over. So one thing to mention, the parent that teaches, besides being knowledgeable should also be patient and not freak out easily.
    Love your posts – you are always right on with the information.

    • If the teacher should not freak out easily I am def not the one who will be teaching my boys to drive. Thanks for the tip!

    • Holly Chavez says:

      I know. I have to take a few deep breaths with my son. I usually take him out to where it isn’t so busy to drive. We’re glad you enjoyed the posts.

  9. My two kids took classes to learn to drive but I transitioned them to standard transmissions. We all survived! Thanks for the tips.

  10. I dread the thought of teaching my kids to drive! But you’re right. Practice makes perfect and I want them to be as safe as possible. Thanks for the tips!

  11. I lost a friend a year back.This still haunts me…His bike came under a truck! I appreciate you for writing this informative post…

    • I’m so sorry to hear that! That’s awful!! We can never be too safe driving. We not only have to watch out what we are doing we have to be on guard for other vehicles and drivers as well.

  12. Gosh this is so important. Kids are so inthralled by the fact that they can drive, they miss the part about how powerful a car is and how dangerous driving the wrong way can be. It’s not always about their driving, but the need to pay attention to others as well. 🙂

    • I totally know what you mean Susan. The excitement gets in the way of the new responsibility they have and they forget to be vigilant.

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