Many parents admit to passing bad driving habits to teens

Vancouver, BC (Aug. 8, 2014) – Now that summer’s in full swing, many teenagers may be eager to learn how to drive and gain more independence. In 2013, approximately 46,000 B.C. teens (aged 16 to 19) got their learner’s licence.

While the idea of having another licensed driver in the house can be exciting, this rite of passage can also be a stressful time for parents. Driving is particularly risky for new drivers because they lack experience. Not only are they more prone to crash but on average, 18 per cent of crashes involving young drivers result in an injury or fatality.(1)

In a recent survey conducted by ICBC, 29 per cent of parents surveyed believed their teens had picked up a bad driving habit from them. The most common habits were speeding, not coming to a complete stop, impatience, eating while driving and not shoulder checking. Survey respondents also revealed that if they could teach their teen over again, they would enroll them in professional driving lessons.

Here are ICBC’s tips to help parents teach their teen to drive and pass their road test:

  • Set a good example: Once your teen has passed the knowledge and vision tests, they’ll get a class 7 learner’s licence and can now get behind the wheel with a qualified supervisor. Review your teen’s copy of ICBC’s Tuning Up for Drivers guide that they received with their licence. This is also a good time to brush up on the rules of the road, work on any bad driving habits and learn about the restrictions of each stage of the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) so that you can make sure your teen follows them.
  • Gearing up: The type of car your teen learns to drive on can make a big difference. It’s best to learn on a vehicle that’s a manageable size, has good visibility, an automatic transmission and as many safety features as possible. Begin your driving lessons on roads with minimal traffic and avoid rush hour congestion to help build your teen’s confidence and ease their nerves.
  • Call in the experts: To help your teen gain as much driving experience as possible consider signing them up for lessons with a professional driving instructor if you can. Driving school instructors can be objective without the emotion that’s often involved in parent-teen relationships. If you do choose this route, stay involved and discuss what they’re learning.
  • Test it out: To prepare for your teen’s road test, practice driving as much as possible at different times of the day, in different weather and road conditions, and in unfamiliar neighbourhoods. That way they’ll be prepared for whatever conditions they might face on the day of their road test. Another great way to prepare is to take ICBC’s road ready quiz that helps teens avoid common driving mistakes.
  • Keep them safe: Once your teen has passed their class 7 road test and can now drive without a supervisor, consider creating a family contract that’s in line with the GLP restrictions. It helps set out your expectations of your teen, the responsibilities you want them to show on the road and the consequences for breaking those rules.

If your teen will be driving your vehicle, check that you have the right insurance coverage. If your vehicle is rated in an experienced rate class (all drivers in a household with at least 10 years’ driving experience), then you’ll need to change the rate class.

Teens can find video driving tips and practice tests on

About the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is a provincial Crown corporation established in 1973 to provide universal auto insurance to B.C. motorists. We’re also responsible for driver licensing, and vehicle licensing and registration.


1. ICBC data from 2009 to 2013.

SOURCE: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia