Parenting Perspective: Benefits of Driver's Ed

Lots of other parents make the same decision -- hiring a pro to teach their teen to drive, rather than try to do it themselves.

When Louise Rahr of Berwyn turned 16, her parents signed her up for driver's ed through the StreetSafe Driving Academy.

Her mom, Bridget, explains, " I had a driving instructor when I was 16 and it was never a consideration that we wouldn't have a driving instructor (for Louise) because I did not listen to what my parents said and I knew that my children would not listen to anything that I had to say."

While research on the long-term benefits of driver's ed courses is mixed, Meg Cramer of StreetSafe has no doubts.

She depends on parents to help their teens practice, but says parents don't necessarily make the best teachers.

"Parents learned to drive several dcades ago," Cramer says. "And a lot has changed on the roads since then."

Plus, teaching a teen to drive can put a great deal of strain on even the best parent-child relationships.

"We hear from a lot of parents every day who call us and say, 'I can't do it. It's just too stresssful. There is no way.' " Cramer says. "And I can understand that because, truly, there is a lot of 'dynamic' between a parent and a teen anyway, so it's important to have a third party in there who, not only is sort of removed from that and you don't have that stress level, but secondly, if they're a professional, they're going to know how to teach."

StreetSafe's instructors are off-duty police officers, who offer both classroom and behind-the-wheel training. 16-year-old Louise thinks her parents made the right choice.

"I prefer driving instructors to my parents," she says. "No offense to them but I feel like I get more advice. and it's less emotional."

When looking for a driver's ed program, Edmunds.com suggests finding one that offers both classroom and on-the-road training.

And though these programs can be costly, you're likely to get a discount on your teen's insurance, as well as priceless peace-of-mind, in return for your investment.

For a list of licensed driving schools in Pennsylvania, click here.
For a list of licensed driving schools in Delaware, click here.
For a list of license driving schools in New Jersey, click here.
And to read Edmunds.com's article on how to pick a good driving school, click here.

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