New School Year – New Teen Drivers

teen boy sitting in the driver seat holding keys to his carLearning to drive is a very exciting and terrifying moment for teenagers, and soon the roads will be filled with new teen drivers. Many teens can’t wait for the open road, the windows rolled down and the music blasting, but before they get to the point of burning rubber, there are few hoops they will need your (their parents) guidance through.

In Illinois, six months after they turn 15, they can start the process of getting their permit. This involves having their parent/legal guardian consent to obtain a permit. Your teen must be enrolled in an approved driver education course and must pass a vision and written test. This isn’t the ACT, so don’t stress out, just make some flashcards that go over the rules of the road and traffic signs and they will be golden.

Every state has different requirements when it comes to the permit process. Some states have a grade requirement, an intermediate license, etc. for teen drivers.

In Illinois before teen drivers can move up to their driver’s license, there are a few requirements:

  • This is a given but teens must wear their seat belt.
  • Complete a driver’s education course at a licensed training school. This includes 24hrs of online or classroom instruction and 6hrs of hands-on driving.
  • Have their permit for a minimum of 9 months and they cannot acquire any driving convictions during their permit phase.
  • Must log 50hrs of total driving time; 10 hours must be night driving. Parents/guardians, this is where you come in. Teach them proper driving habits as soon as they interest in practicing.
  • Cell phone use while driving including hands free is prohibited for drivers under the age of 19.
  • Texting while driving is prohibited, no matter age.

Teen girl driving with her dad

Getting their license to drive:

Practice driving with your teen. Take time to practice 3-point turns, parallel parking and merging. This will help your teen feel confident when they take their road test.

Did your teen pass their test the first time? Excellent. Did they pass the third time? Excellent. Now they are an unsupervised, licensed driver; terrifying for you, but very exciting for them. With this new freedom comes greater responsibility. Remind your teen that for the first 12months, the number of passengers is limited to one person under the age of 20 when they drive.

Tips for safe driving:

  • Turn signals are the original instant messenger. We are sure you have seen this reminder around Chicago’s highways. It may seem silly to post but fellow drivers will be grateful for proper turn signal use.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. This always sounds scarier than it should be. In case they get lost, break down or are involved in a wreck; you want to be able to get yourself roadside assistance.
  • Leave the phone alone. Teens and young adults are often bad with playing on their phones. Don’t be a distracted driver. A quick glance at their phone can quickly turn into a fender bender or worse.
  • Keep your documents up-to-date, licenses, insurance and tags all expire. Make yourself a reminder to check these documents aren’t expired.

R.C. Keller & Company will help put you at ease.

R.C. Keller & Company wants you and your teen driver to feel prepared for this new adventure. Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns when putting your teen behind the wheel. We are happy to help.

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