Getting in your driving hours

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How to Help Your Student Driver Reach their Required Practice Hours

In order to earn a learner’s permit, driving license in the state of Indiana, qualifying teenagers are required to meet certain driving requirements. These driving requirements consist of 50 hours of driving practice, 10 of the hours which have to come at night. Needless to say, busy parents and busy student drivers might find it hard to meet these requirements in a timely fashion, and any delay is just likely going to translate to a delay in earning that learner’s permit and then, eventually, even earning the official driver’s license.

So what can you do to help your student meet these driving requirements? We put together some ideas and tips on how to reach 50 practice hours. Here’s a closer look:

How to Help Your Student Driver Reach 50 Practice Hours

Short Trips, Errands

A short trip to the grocery store, gas station, hardware store, or carry-out restaurant is unlikely to bank any significant behind-the-wheel time, but keep in mind that every little bit helps. It all adds up in the end and can make for some great practice. So even if it’s just to the local grocery or to drop off a letter at the post office, let your teenager take the wheel. Like we said, sometimes it’s a bunch of little trips that can help them meet their requirements rather than one or two big trips. One good thing about driving short trips and running errands is that they’ll gain experience in busy parking lots and may even have to navigate downtown areas where many pedestrians are present. It’s all good practice.

Commuting to Extracurriculars

If you’re a busy parent or have a busy teenager, then chances are your evenings are spent driving from one activity to the next. There might be dance class, football practice, theater rehearsal, band practice, boy scouts or girl scouts, and more that you have to get your kids to, night in and night out. Try letting your teenager drive to these. With how busy they are and how many activities they’re doing, this is a great way to help them hit their hours. Things can get even busier if you have other children that are also participating in after-school activities. What’s nice about many of these activities is that they likely end after dark, which can ensure they’re able to hit the nighttime driving requirement of 10 hours en route to earning their permit.

Road Trips

Road trips are a great way to bank some serious hours with your student driver. And it can also help share some of the driving load, making things easier for parent drivers as well. So whether you’re taking a ride to grandma’s house hours away on the west side of the state or taking a long, cross-country road trip, make sure that your teenager gets some solid driving practice in. As an added bonus, much of this driving is likely to be on the highway, which is good practice and differs from the city and suburb environments.

Keep in mind that some states do not allow out-of-state permit holders to drive. So always review driving laws of any state you’re driving through. 

Family Gatherings

Getting together with friends and/or family to celebrate a birthday, holiday, or simply to hang out. It’s a great opportunity to let your student driver get behind the wheel to get you there and back. While these may be few and far between compared to driving for extracurricular activities and short errands, they can still make up a significant chunk of your student driver’s driving log. And just think of how cool your teen will feel when your family and friends see them behind the wheel when your car pulls up to the event.

Remember, when it comes to helping your student driver reach their required practice hours, it’s not just one or two trips that will help them meet the 50-hour requirement. There’s likely going to be a lot of short trips that add up to 50 hours in the end. That said, make sure your student driver can gain experience driving in different environments and at different times of the day to give them a more well-rounded experience.

While not required to receive a learner’s permit or license, a driver education course can be extremely beneficial for your student. Not only will it hone their driving skills, but any behind-the-wheel instruction can be counted in the hours. 

Check out the Indiana BMV site and download the driving hours log

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