Having a teen who’s learning to drive can be an exciting and stressful time. It’s that balance of giving them some independence, keeping them safe, and having the confidence to lend them your car in the process.
Here’s some helpful info to support you and your teen through the steps of graduated licensing.
Graduated licensing program
The graduated licensing program is a phased approach to learning. It allows your teen to adjust to driving in a safer, more gradual way, so they’re better prepared for what they might face on the road.
As a parent, you can help your teen through the program by encouraging them to use our study guides. We also have resources that provide sample driving sessions to help you cover off key driving skills with your teen.
- Visit the new drivers section for more information about graduated licensing.
- If you’re the parent of a motorcyclist, please see motorcycles.
Resources to help you and your teen
We have online driving guides and quizzes available for your teen to help them study for their tests.
The guides are especially important, as they contain the complete information that your teen will need to know. The quizzes are fun, useful study aids, but they should be used as a complement to reading the full study guides.
Online practice tests
- Family contract
Driving schools can be a great option to help your teen learn to drive safely and prepare him or her for their road tests. When you’re choosing a driving school, make sure it’s licensed by ICBC.
GLP-approved training courses
Taking an ICBC-approved (GLP) driver training course in the L stage, could reduce your teen’s time in the graduated licensing program (GLP). Your teen must be a safe driver with no at-fault crashes, driving violations or prohibitions while in the first 18 months of the N stage to receive six months off. Successfully completing a GLP-approved driver training course could also give them two high school credits.
Whether taking a few lessons to help you on the road or taking an ICBC-approved (GLP) driver training course, professional training could help ensure the success of your teen.
Find a driving school
If you plan on teaching your teen how to drive, it is important for you to consider whether you have the appropriate habits, skills, knowledge, and experience, as well as the patience and time.
To teach your teen how to become a safe and skilled driver, the manoeuvers you will need to teach includes the following:
- intersection manoeuvres (driving through, turning right, turning left)
- backing up
- entering traffic
- pulling over and stopping on the side of the road
- changing lanes
- parking on a hill
- starting on a hill
- angle parking
- parallel parking
- stall parking (driving forward and backing up)
- two- and three-point turns
- merging on and off a highway
- general driving (for example, driving straight, driving on hills and curves)
You will also need to help your teen learn other skills such as speed management and hazard detection.
In order to adequately cover the skills and manoeuvers, each milestone phase should involve at least 20 hours of practice on the road.
- Vehicle familiarization
- Comfortable in light traffic and side streets
- Basic rules of the road and hazard detection
- Comfortable on main streets and in intersections
- Lane changes and stall parking
- Speed management and visual searching
- Comfortable in heavy traffic, highways, and complex intersections
- Advanced hazard perception
- Independent decision making, route planning, and execution
If you choose to teach your teen how to drive on your own, or want to help them practice, we have driving guides that can help you:
- For the information needed to become a safe, competent driver, use Learn to Drive Smart
- For details on the responsibilities involved in getting and keeping your licence, use Learn to Drive Smart chapter 9 – your licence
- For cars and other passenger vehicles, use Tuning up for Drivers.
- For motorcycles, use Tuning up for Riders.
- For helpful information, see keeping your teen safe on the road.
Keeping your teen safe on the road
We know that a parent’s #1 concern is their teen’s safety. Here’s how to keep them as safe as possible while they’re learning how to drive.
Tips for helping your teen learn to drive safely
If you’ll be helping your teen learn to drive, here are some great tips on how to get the most out of your practice time.
Beyond just going over the basics, it’s important that they’re aware of other risks they might face, like vehicle problems, peer pressure, and distractions.
Keeping your teen in low-risk driving environments
- Quiet streets:Take your teen out on quiet streets and in daylight hours for as long as you feel necessary.
- Minimal risk: Ensure your teen’s first challenging drive has minimal risk. If it’s their first time on a highway, take them out in daylight with lower traffic levels.
- Avoid rush hour: Try driving during less busy hours until your teen feels more confident.
After your teen gains experience
- Practice with variety: When your teen is more confident, ensure they get practice in different weather, times of day, and locations.
Questions to ask your teen
- Car maintenance: Do they know how to get gas, check oil and other fluids, tire air pressure and what to do if they get a flat tire?
- Route planning: Have they planned their route in advance?
- Emotional awareness: Could their emotional state or energy level affect their driving ability?
What to do in a crash
- Collecting information in a crash: Leave a crash card in your vehicle. You might even show them this video.
Graduted licensing restrictions
- Know the rules: Remind your teen about the restrictions in graduated licensing. Breaking the rules can cost them financially and add time to their time spent as a learner.
- No electronic devices: Remind your teen about the dangers of distracted driving. Electronic devices aren’t allowed while they’re in the graduated licensing program, even if hands-free.
Insuring your teen
From September 2019, we’re moving to a more driver-based insurance model and you’ll be asked to list who drives your car, such as family members and employees – including learner and novice drivers.
To add your teen to your listed driver, visit an Autoplan broker office. You will need their driver’s licence number and date of birth.
When you have a learner driver listed on your policy, a new additional premium will apply. The learner premium recognizes the risk that a learner driver represents and helps cover the costs of crashes caused by learners. If multiple learners will be using your vehicle, you don’t need to pay the premium for each – it is one cost to cover all learners.
Insurance tips to consider
- Extra coverage: Consider getting more Extended Third-Party Liability coverage, or adding Collision coverage if you don’t have it already.
- Driver-based model: Under the new model, at-fault crashes will follow the driver, not the vehicle. However, crashes caused by learners won’t go on their driving record – we don’t want to penalize learners while they are learning to drive. The learner stage will also not count towards their driving experience.
We encourage you to come in with your teen on their first visit to a driver licensing office. It’s an opportunity for you to learn the steps your teen will go through in B.C.’s Graduated Licensing Program (GLP).
Giving consent for your teen’s licence application
Parental or guardian consent is required for anyone under 19 who is applying for a driver’s, motorcycle or commercial licence. To speed things up, bring a completed Parent/Guardian Consent form to the driver licensing office.
The form is a fillable PDF. You can complete the form on your computer, print it, then bring it with you.
Download the Parent/Guardian Consent form
Not able to come in with your teen?
We understand parents are busy. If you’re not able to come to a driver licensing office with your teen, you can
- sign and date the form, and
- have an adult non-family member witness your signature by completing the witness section of the form.
Your teen can then bring it in to one of our driver licensing offices.
Important: Make sure all the required information on the form is complete. If not, your teen may not be able to start the driver’s licence application process, resulting in another trip to the office.
When your teen goes to the driver licensing office, make sure they bring
- the completed and original Parent/Guardian Consent form (no faxes or photocopies)
- funds to pay for the testing and licensing fees, and
- two pieces of accepted ID.
Why is parental consent required for applicants under 19?
This B.C. law is designed to ensure you agree your teen is ready for the responsibility of driving before they’re allowed to apply for a licence. Your consent also confirms your commitment to ensure your teen receives sufficient safe driving practice.
Why does ICBC need a parent or guardian’s signed consent?
Requiring all forms completed away from a driver licensing office to be witnessed by an adult non-family member, along with requiring witness contact information, discourages fraudulent parental consent applications.
B.C.’s anti-fraud laws also discourage fraudulent applications. There are consequences for making a false application.
What if a teen does not live with their parent or guardian?
If a teen isn’t dependent upon their custodial parent/guardian and is not under the care of the Ministry of Child, Family and Community Services, they may complete an Application to Dispense with Parental Consent.
In most cases, a guarantor, who meets the criteria to witness the teen’s signature, will need to complete the guarantor section of the form.