Sweet sixteen. It’s a turning point in a teenager’s life. They’re at that age when they get their first whiff of freedom. Enter: a driver’s license. Although it’s an exciting time for teens to start driving, it’s a nerve- wracking and terrifying period for parents. We’re here to ease your worries by giving a comprehensive list of driving tips, tricks and requirements to get your teen drivers out on the road.
Start off by familiarizing your teen driver with the different features of your car, locating the emergency brake and hazard lights
and adjusting the seat and mirrors. It’s best to take your teen practicing around low-speed, low-traffic areas or even parking lots so they become more comfortable with how the car moves. Try coming up with a checklist of tests for your teen like parallel parking, four-way stops or sharing the road with a cyclist.
Once you and your son or daughter feel confident, move onto more advanced skills. Merge onto a highway and drive in different weather conditions. Soon enough, your teen will be ready to roll.
Keep in mind these Florida nighttime driving restrictions:
AGE 16: Cannot drive from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., unless for work or accompanied by a licensed driver 21 and up
AGE 17: Cannot drive from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., unless for work or accompanied by a licensed driver 21 and up
REQUIREMENTS TO GET BEHIND THE WHEEL
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, here’s what your teen needs for a Florida Learner’s License:
- Must be at least 15 years old
- If under 18, need a signed Parental Consent Form (stepparents may not be able to sign unless they have legally adopted said minor)
- Proof of Traffic Law and Substance Abuse Education (TLSAE) course completion
- Pass a vision and hearing test – testing is conducted in a service center
- Pass Class E Knowledge Exam
- Prepare for the exam by studying the Official Florida Driver License Handbook
- Testing options
- The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions about traffic laws and traffic signs. The passing score is 80% or 40 out of 50 questions
- Must provide documents that establish proof of identity, proof of social security number and proof of residential address
REQUIREMENTS FOR TEENS GETTING A FLORIDA DRIVER’S LICENSE:
- Must be at least 16 years old
- Must have a learner’s license for at least one year OR reach age 18, whichever comes first
- A parent, legal guardian or responsible adult over
21 years old must complete the Certification of Minor Driving Experience Form, which certifies that the driver drove 50 hours, of which 10 hours were at night. Tip: Print out a practice log sheet to keep track of your time
- NO moving violation convictions for one year from learner’s license date of issuance
- Must pass the Class E Driving Skills Test
- The vehicle used for the driving test must have a valid registration, proof of insurance and pass a basic vehicle inspection that is conducted by the driver license examiner to determine that it is safe for a driving test
- Must provide documents that establish proof of identity, proof of Social Security number and proof of residential address
Your teen driver has passed their driver’s test and is hitting the roads on their own, but your role doesn’t end here. Teenagers have higher crash rates, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So, it’s important to look into the safest driving features for beginner drivers.
Instead of just looking for any brand-new car to place a big, red bow on, try looking for affordable but trustworthy cars. This can mean a used car, but don’t be alarmed. There’s tons of options out there based on IIHS’ top safety picks.
- Toyota Camry (2012 and newer)
- Volkswagen Jetta (2015 and newer)
- Kia Optima (2011 and newer)
- Ford Fusion (2013 and newer)
- Mazda 6 (2014 and newer)
Insurance tip: Since these inexperienced drivers tend to have higher collision rates, it’s more likely for your insurance to skyrocket. Buying used means lower insurance cost. Some insurance companies also offer student discounts that are good up to the age of 24.
One of the greatest causes for collisions are distracted driving and speeding, according to the NHTSA. Luckily, there are a number of technological measures out there to promote a safer driving environment.
Worried about your teen driving over the speed limit? This app offers a driver report that tells you of your teen’s phone use, speed, braking and aggressive driving on the road.
Tip: Look into your car insurance provider to see if they offer similar driving monitor technology.
Turn on iPhone features like Do Not Disturb While Driving, which automatically detects when you’re on the road. It prevents your teen from seeing texts while driving and sends out an automated message to people trying to reach you, letting them know you’ll get back to them afterward.
FIND MY FRIENDS
Find My Friends is an extra feature that allows you to share your location with your contacts. Your teen can share their location with you for a desired amount of time, so you’re able to see whether they’ve arrived safely if they forget to text you.