Whether your teenager's school offers driver's education or not, you have a responsibility as a parent to build on the lessons they bring home. This includes giving them the time and space necessary to apply those lessons and learn practical application of the skills they learn. To do this, you need to take a serious look at your options, and what critical skills they need.

Dealing With Dangerous Road Conditions

Even in states which do offer driver's education in school, most avoid exposing new drivers to adverse weather. This has more to do with insurance issues than anything else, but it leaves teenage drivers unprepared for the worst that nature can throw at them. As a parent, this presents you with an excellent opportunity to build on what's being taught.

Once your teen is comfortable with basic vehicle operations, take them out in the next serious storm that rolls through. Heavy rain, blasting winds, and even ice can be hazardous to even experienced drivers, so it's that much more important for teen drivers to learn what to expect. This will also teach them how adverse weather will affect a car's behavior on the road, and how to adapt to the situation. Just make sure you take it slow, and use low traffic roads for these lessons to minimize the risk to your child and other drivers.

Freeway Driving

Unless you live in a major metropolitan area, the odds that your teen will be exposed to freeway speeds and conditions are marginal at best. As a result, you'll need to give them their first taste of what those conditions feel like and the basics of high speed driving techniques. Vehicles behave differently at high speeds, and without experience dealing with speeds in excess of 55 mph, a young driver can easily lose control of their car.

Unlike other driving scenarios, there's no gentle way to introduce high speed driving. By their very nature, highways and freeways are generally pretty busy at all hours of the day. Start off by keeping the car in the far right hand lane, nearest the off ramps, so that if your child's nerves begin to fray they have an easy opportunity to pull off and collect themselves. Work your way up to traveling at the full speed limit though, so you don't end up scaring them away from the idea entirely.

At their core, the driver's training programs like American Driving Academy available to most teenagers are more than adequate for navigating your immediate neighborhood, and even around neighboring communities. That doesn't mean there aren't opportunities available to build on those skills, and introduce more challenging scenarios without leaving your teen to a trial by fire.