Is your teen really ready to get behind the wheel of a car?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer because every kid matures at a different rate. Some are highly independent, some are anxious, some are scatterbrained. So how can you tell?
Try this quiz. Answer honestly about how your child behaves in certain situations to get a sense if they are ready to start driving—or if they could use a little more time before taking their road test.
Teen Driving Readiness Quiz
1. How often do you have to remind your teen to do their homework?
a. It's a daily battle.
b. Once or twice a week.
c. Only for big projects.
d. Never! They've always been a self-starter.
2. What's your teen's relationship with money like?
a. They ask me whenever they need cash.
b. They have a regular allowance and supplement with holiday and birthday gifts.
c. They have a savings account.
d. They have a job and are responsible for a few of their own purchases.
3. How often does your teen talk about getting their license?
a. Only once, because I asked them about it.
b. Actually, it hasn't come up.
c. It comes up more now that their friends are driving.
d. All the time!
4. Does your teen drink or use any recreational drugs?
a. I'm pretty sure they party on the weekends, but we don't talk about it.
b. I'm not sure.
c. Once or twice, but it's not really their scene.
d. No, I'm positive they don't.
5. How are your teen's grades?
a. School has always been a struggle.
b. Mostly Cs and Bs, with an A when they like the subject.
c. Solid As and Bs.
d. Straight As.
6. What's your teen's attention span like?
a. It can be hard to get their attention because they're always looking at a screen.
b. They can sit through a movie but would struggle to finish a book.
c. We have good conversations and they listen when I tell them it's important.
d. They've always been able to concentrate on detail-oriented tasks.
7. Do you trust your teen?
a. Honestly, no. They lie a lot.
b. About as much as you can trust a teenager.
a = 0 point
b = 1 point
c = 2 points
d = 3 points
17-21 points: Your teen is ready for the responsibility of driving!
12-16 points: Your teen is a good candidate for a learner's permit, but you should have a conversation to lay out your expectations.
7-11 points: Your teen may not quite be ready for driving. Why not come up with a plan for them to show more responsibility over the next few months?
0-6 points: Your teen isn't ready for the road yet. Teens are more likely than adults to make errors that lead to serious crashes, so it's definitely okay to say no to driving until they're more mature.
Talking to Your Teen About Driving
Even if you gave your teen high marks on our quiz, it's important to have several conversations about driving before you take them for their permit test. Make sure you lay down your ground rules for driving, including use of cell phones, curfews, places they can go, etc. Your conversation about drinking and driving should be ongoing as well. These are important safety issues to discuss, and your teen's attitude during these talks will provide additional insight into their readiness to get behind the wheel.
When your teen is ready to learn to drive, you can help them prepare by signing up for an online driver's ed course. These convenient classes will help them understand the rules of the road and get them ready to ace their test when the time comes.