Get your teen driver back on track to licensing
State licensing offices in the Northwest now have limited appointments available for testing and licensing of new drivers. If you put your teen's driving education on hold because of the pandemic, this may be the time to get it back on the road!
For specifics in your area, visit the Washington State Department of Licensing or Oregon Department of Transportation sites.
Washington and Oregon allow you to begin the instruction permit application process online for would-be drivers as young as 15. The permit enables your teen to begin vital practice on the road with you (a minimum of 50 hours) as one of the cornerstones of both states' graduated licensing programs.
As you start (or reacclimatize to) driving practice with your child, remember, every teen driver is different. Skills that may have come easily to one child in the family may be tougher for another. During practice, help your child overcome these common mistakes, ranked among top reasons why young drivers may fail their first road test:
- Nerves and lack of confidence. The jitters can show up as driving too slowly, braking too hard, forgetting basic rules of the road and ignoring instructions from the driving examiner. Practice so thoroughly that "muscle memory" can take over if need be.
- Rolling stops. That could be failing to stop completely when making a right turn or overshooting the stop line.
- Following too closely. Despite their naturally quick reactions, teens need to keep at least a few car lengths between themselves and the vehicle in front of them.
- Failing to control speed. That's especially true in school and construction zones as well as residential streets and freeways.
- Improper lane changes. That includes failing to use turn signals, checking mirrors or looking over their shoulder.
Want to know more? Check out PEMCO's teen driver library to help you and your child navigate the road to safe driving.
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