Road Trip Practice Driving for Teens

Road Trip Practice Driving for Teens

Help your teen get his or her practice hours the next time you hit the road.

For parents of teenagers, a road trip can be great way to help novice drivers practice their driving skills. Next time you travel with your family, use the opportunity to help your new drivers become more confident drivers.

“I think practicing for long periods of time on road trips is an excellent skill [for teen drivers] to have that oftentimes gets skipped over,” said Matt Moseley, AAA Minneapolis licensed driving instructor. “Eventually, teens will find themselves driving long distances to college visits, cabin trips, visiting family/friends or any number of other reasons. Prior practice with a supervising adult will ultimately lower the risk once novice drivers face these long road trips on their own.”

Tips when road tripping with teens

  • Don’t rely on GPS alone. It can be confusing and distracting for a novice driver. Take time to help teens get familiar with directions ahead of time.
  • While a teen is driving, the supervising driver must remain alert and aware in case something unexpected occurs.
  • If a teenager appears fatigued, the supervising driver should take over. 
  • Get as close as possible to a full eight hours of sleep before a long drive to stay focused and alert.
  • Stop and take a break every 100 miles or two hours to avoid drowsy driving.
  • Novice drivers in Minnesota are required to log 15 hours of nighttime driving. If the teen driver feels alert and awake, have him or her practice nighttime driving skills. 
  • If you’re driving somewhere remote, stay gassed up. Whenever you have the opportunity, always fill up—even if you have half a tank.
  • If the teen driver is currently taking Behind the Wheel lessons, record the number of hours he or she drives in the official state DVS log.
  • Make sure you are familiar with out-of-state driving laws. Just because a permit is valid in Minnesota doesn’t mean it is valid in other states. 
    • For example, Minnesota teen drivers with permits cannot drive in Wisconsin until they are 16 (the Minnesota age is 15).
  • View a list of graduated drivers licensing laws in all 50 states.