Teen Drivers in BC: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Safe Driving

Teenage girl learning to drive

Teaching your teenager to drive is a significant milestone that evokes a wide range of emotions for both of you, from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and fear. At Atlas Driving School, we understand the challenges parents face when guiding their teens through this critical phase. This comprehensive guide aims to provide parents with essential tips and insights to ensure their teen drivers develop safe and responsible driving habits.

Understanding the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP)
In British Columbia, the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) is designed to help new drivers gain experience and skills gradually. The GLP consists of three stages:

Learner’s Stage (L): Teenagers can apply for a learner’s permit at 16 by passing a knowledge test and vision screening. During this stage, they must always be accompanied by a qualified supervisor (25+ years old) and display an ‘L’ sign on the vehicle.

Novice Stage (N): After holding a learner’s permit for at least 12 months and passing the Class 7 road test, teens progress to the novice stage. They must display an ‘N’ sign and are subject to passenger and nighttime driving restrictions.

Full License: After 24 months in the novice stage (or 18 months with a driver education course), teens can take the Class 5 road test to obtain their full license.

Tips for Parents Teaching Teen Drivers

  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate safe driving habits. Your teen is likely to mimic your behavior, so always buckle up, follow traffic rules, and avoid distractions.
  • Start Slow: Begin in low-traffic areas and gradually introduce more complex driving environments. Parking lots, quiet residential streets, and empty roads are ideal for initial practice sessions.
  • Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to developing driving skills. Aim for a variety of conditions, including different weather, times of day, and road types.
  • Set Clear Rules: Establish rules and expectations for your teen’s driving. Discuss the importance of obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions, and never driving under the influence.
  • Use a Driving Log: Keep a record of driving hours and experiences. This helps track progress and ensures your teen meets the required practice hours for their license.
  • Emphasize the Dangers of Distracted Driving: Teach your teen about the risks of using phones or other distractions while driving. Stress the importance of keeping their focus on the road.
  • Encourage Defensive Driving: Instruct your teen on defensive driving techniques, such as maintaining a safe following distance, scanning for hazards, and anticipating other drivers’ actions.
  • Stay Calm and Patient: Learning to drive can be stressful for both teens and parents. Stay calm, provide constructive feedback, and celebrate progress to build your teen’s confidence.

Professional Driving Lessons

While parental guidance is crucial, professional driving lessons can provide additional benefits. At Atlas Driving School, we tailor our lessons to each student’s needs, ensuring they receive comprehensive training in a controlled environment. Here’s why professional lessons are beneficial:

Expert Instruction: Our certified instructors are experienced in teaching new drivers. They provide valuable insights and techniques that parents might overlook.
Structured Curriculum: We offer a structured curriculum that covers all aspects of safe driving, from basic skills to advanced maneuvers.
Confidence Building: Professional lessons help build your teen’s confidence by exposing them to various driving situations under the guidance of a skilled instructor.
Preparation for Tests: Our instructors are familiar with ICBC’s testing criteria and help students prepare thoroughly for their road tests.

Promoting Safe Driving Habits

Encouraging safe driving habits from the beginning is essential for your teen’s long-term safety on the road. Here are some strategies to reinforce these habits:

Set a Good Example: Continue to model safe driving behavior even after your teen gets their license.
Create a Driving Contract: Consider creating a driving contract with your teen that outlines rules and consequences for unsafe behavior.
Discuss the Risks: Regularly talk about the dangers of speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. Share real-life stories to highlight the consequences.
Encourage Open Communication: Make sure your teen feels comfortable discussing their driving experiences and any concerns they have.


Teaching your teenager to drive is a journey that requires patience, consistency, and dedication. At Atlas Driving School, we are committed to supporting parents and teens through this process with our top-rated driving lessons tailored to individual needs. By following the tips in this guide and leveraging professional instruction, you can help your teen become a confident and safe driver.

Atlas Driving School is proud to serve the Lower Mainland, including Surrey, North & West Vancouver, Richmond, Langley, New Westminster, Burnaby, and Coquitlam.

For more information or to schedule a lesson, contact us at 604-537-3525 or info@atlasdrivingschool.ca. Let’s work together to ensure the next generation of drivers in BC is well-prepared and safety-conscious.