December 13th, 2019 by

As parents, what most of us want is to see our children succeed and do well in all areas of their lives. A big rite of passage for many teens is passing their driving test. When teens complete their time with their learner’s permit, they can go to the DMV and take a written test and driving test for their license.

It’s a time of a lot of excitement for teens and perhaps some anxiety on the part of their parents, but what if your teen doesn’t pass their driving test?

The following are some ways you can support your teen if they don’t get their license on their first try.

Figure Out What the Problem Was

One of the most important things you can do to help your teen if they don’t pass their driving test on the first try is to identify the problem. You can speak with your teen or perhaps their driving instructor and determine the specifics of the problem. If the issue was the written part of the test, you might be able to get a copy of that so you can see where they missed questions.

Once you have a better idea of where your teen is struggling, you can map out specific strategies.

If your teen isn’t sure of what the problem was, some of the most common issues that can cause teens to fail their driver’s tests include:

  • Incomplete or rolling stops—you should talk to your teen about making sure they always come to a full, complete stop behind the line.
  • Speeding is another problem on driving tests, but many young drivers don’t realize that going too much under the limit can be a problem as well.
  • Changing lanes improperly without turning on the signal, checking the mirrors, and checking the blind spot may cause your teen to fail their driver’s test.
  • Being confused at a four-way stop could result in a failure.
  • Not checking mirrors in different situations during a driving test could lead an instructor to fail your teen.

There are broader issues that can occur that can contribute to more specific problems on the day of a driving test, as well.

For example, being too nervous or anxious could impair your teen’s ability to pass the test, so in this case, you could work with your teen on healthy ways to cope with their stress the next time.

Talk to your teen about what areas of their test they felt the most nervous about, and how they think they could work on alleviating that sense of anxiety.

Practice with Your Teen Behind the Wheel

The more exposure your teen has to being behind the wheel, the more knowledge and experience they will get, and the more comfortable they will be.

If your teen fails their driving test, make sure you practice with them as much as possible and let them get that necessary experience.

In doing so, you can also assess their driving skills and techniques and make sure that you don’t spot any red flags that could contribute to them failing again.

Help Your Teen Study

There are plenty of tools and resources available for teens to take practice tests so they’re ready for the written portion of the driving test. If your teen is studying, work with them, and help them.

An interactive study experience may be more effective than your teen studying on their own.

When your teen does practice written tests, it’ll help alleviate some of their nerves when they go back to the DMV because they’ll know what to expect.

Don’t Wait Too Long for the Next Try

While you do want to make sure your teen is prepared when they go back for their driver’s license retest, you don’t want to wait too long. Sometimes putting too much time between the initial failure and going back to the DMV can cause your teen’s anxiety to build and become worse.

They may escalate the situation in their head to the point that it impairs their ability to pass again.

It can be a good idea to book your DMV appointment ahead of time as soon as possible for the next try, so there’s a definitive date in mind, and your teen doesn’t keep putting it off out of fear.

Frame the First Test As Practice

Even before your teen goes to the DMV you should try to talk with them about their anxieties and also let them know that it’s okay not to pass. The first try can be viewed as a practice and a learning experience. By looking at the first test as a practice run, your teen can use it as a learning experience rather than seeing it as a failure.

You should also let your teen know they can feel comfortable talking openly and honestly with you. It can be disappointing and embarrassing for a teen who doesn’t pass their test, so let them share their feelings with you.

You also want to make sure your teen is emotionally ready to drive. If your teen seems to be nervous in a way that’s out of proportion to the driving test or to driving in general, maybe it is best to wait until your teen feels more ready. Every teen is different and is going to have a different level of readiness when it comes to certain milestones, and this includes driving.

The best thing you can do as a parent of a teen who is preparing to get their license is to help them with both studying for the written test and practicing their driving but also serving as a support system who is willing to listen to their concerns.

Only around 20% of teens pass their driving test the first time, so your teen shouldn’t be too hard on themselves if they don’t get their license the first go-round.

Posted in Tips