It takes more than a drivers education course and a few test drives to prepare your teen driver for the big open road. Learning the rules of the road takes time. By teaching your teen driver good driving habits, testing them on what they’ve learned and applying their skills in real life situations – you can feel comfortable in handing over the keys at the right time.

We’ve got 3 ways to test your teen’s driving knowledge:

1. Quiz them on different road signs

Before your teen gets behind the wheel it’s crucial they have a thorough understanding and memory of different road signs. The shapes, colors and meanings of road signs are a vital element of driving safely on the road. The Simple Dollar offers a fantastic set of visual graphics that can be used to educate your teen driver.

Have your teen study the elements of different signs and create a quiz to test them on the meaning of a variety of signs. From basic signs to more uncommon signs, the sooner your teen memorizes them the sooner they will be equipped to take on the open road alone.  

2. Have them break down vehicle features for you

Whether they’re driving your vehicle or their own, it’s important for teen drivers to understand basic vehicle features, where they are located and how they function before shifting into drive:

  • Dashboard controls
  • Seat and steering wheel adjustments
  • Mirror adjustments
  • Turn signals
  • Headlights
  • Wipers
  • Safety features like seat belts and air bags
  • Parking brake/release
  • Hazard lights
  • Starting/turning off the engine
  • Gas and brakes
  • Maintenance indicator lights on the dash (icons like low fuel, oil or temperature gauge)

3. Take them for test drives

Your teen will need plenty of real-life experience behind the wheel before driving alone. Not one drive, or two, but dozens! A huge thing to consider is how much real-life experience they are getting. Have they driven through different elements; rain, snow, fog, etc.? Have they driven at night? Far distances? Highways?

Some of the more basic skills you should test them on towards the beginning of your drives should be:

  • Taking turns – use of signals and speed
  • Accelerating smoothly
  • Braking smoothly
  • Approaching intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs
  • Determining right-of-way
  • Changing and merging into lanes safely
  • Maintaining correct speed
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Looking for and recognizing hazards
  • Sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles and school buses
  • Driving through a school zone
  • How to react to an approaching emergency vehicle
  • Using turn lanes

As your teen driver becomes more comfortable, you can progress to testing them on more advanced driving skills:

  • Merging into traffic
  • Identifying road signs and exits
  • Maintaining an appropriate speed
  • Being mindful of other drivers
  • Navigating toll booths
  • Passing and being overtaken
  • Maintaining a safe following distance

It will never be easy handing over the keys, but when you are able to see your teen has a thorough understanding of the rules of the road, you'll feel much better with them breaking away onto this new chapter of their life. 

Protect your teen driver, add them to your auto policy or purchase a policy of their own:

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Blog Contributor Amy Ingram
Amy Casey
Social Media & Communications Coordinator
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.