In many parts of the US, teens as young as 14 get to learn to drive. It's different in Canada, though — 16 is the legal age to even begin the process. This is a good idea — a 16-year-old has a higher level of maturity, and is likely to be better equipped to grasp the importance of safety rules. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to begin teaching a few basics as early as 13 or 14; early learning can help as long as young learners do not drive on public streets. A deserted parking lot at night, for instance, can be a great place to help a kid get a feel for what a car can do.
When a kid starts early, it helps family members gauge his level
Parents should take an active interest in the way kids in the family learn to drive. Unlike a 16-year-old, a young kid of 14 is far more like to take an adult seriously.
Spending time with a kid at the wheel can help in other ways. When your kid is finally old enough to apply for a license, you'll know about his strengths and areas of weakness. You might even decide to find a driving instructor for specific areas of skill such as parallel parking.
You can do it yourself
Signing up to a training school isn't essential. You can teach your kid to drive; all you need to do is to follow a few simple rules. If you aren't sure how to navigate the process, here is a simple, step-by-step guide.
The steps to getting your kid his license
Step one: The handbook — The first thing that you need to do is to familiarize your kid with the rules of the road, defensive driving, and basic responsible driving behavior. A driver's handbook from the ministry-approved source is all it takes to make sure the rules are learned well. You can also help your child in buying additional materials.
Step two: The learner's permit — Learner's permits are issued to first-timers. Once your kid is sufficiently familiar with the rules, you'll need to apply to the Ministry of Transportation for a learner's permit exam. Your child will be tested for good visual acuity and knowledge of the contents of the driver's handbook. Once your child passes, he is ready to actually learn to drive.
Step three: Learning to drive — Many parents believe that their children are better off learning from a professional. It's up to family to decide.
Once you're confident that your kid has mastered the handling of an automobile well enough to ace test, you should let him take it. It's a demanding test, though.
Canada offers a graduated licensing program — drivers don't get a full license right away when they pass the test. Instead, they receive permission to drive on minor streets. A full driving license arrives when drivers demonstrate that they are able to drive incident-free.
If your kid passes the test, there's nothing else to do but to wait for the results, and celebrate when your kid gets his ticket to freedom.
Jason Livingston works in advanced driving tuition. He likes to share his insights online and has previously shared his thoughts across driving and safety blogs.