Long before a teenager reaches legal driving age they’re dreaming of being behind the wheel. Depending upon your child, you may be dreading the prospects of having a driving teenager. Here are the top tips to get your teenager ready to drive and not lose your mind in the process.

If you’re considering teaching your teen to drive, it’s important that you try to remember learning how to drive and how excited you were. By putting yourself back in their “seat,” so to speak, you may have more patience and empathy. These are both needed, as well as a desire to see your teen become a skilled, responsible driver.

Your teen may have driver’s education classes available to them at school. This is a great opportunity to allow your teen to become comfortable behind the wheel without having to be the one who is initially in the car with them. No matter how good the driver’s education class is, you’ll also be responsible for taking your teen out to practice driving.

It’s possible, however, that the best way for your teen to learn how to be a responsible driver is what they learn from watching you. Pay attention to the traffic around you, know and follow the rules of the road, and use proper judgment while driving. If you do these things, your teen may emulate those skills rather than those of their peers.

Talk to your teenager about the responsibilities and dangers associated with driving. You may even want to go as far as to tell them the statistics for teenagers killed in motor vehicle accidents. This will get their attention and hopefully encourage them to be better drivers.

Take the time to provide ample opportunities for your teen to practice driving. Take them driving when it’s raining, when there’s rush hour traffic, and at night. In fact, find as many different conditions they may face when driving as possible. The more experience they have behind the wheel, the better their driving will be.

Establish clear rules regarding driving and be sure to enforce them. One idea you may want to consider is to restrict your teen from having other teenagers with them while driving. Teenagers don’t always use their best judgment and this can often be the case when they’re behind the wheel trying to impress their friends. And of course you’ll want to stress the importance of not drinking and driving.

Let your teen be aware of what you’re doing and where you’re going if you’re teaching them to drive. They’ll be better prepared to handle what comes at them if they know in advance that they’re going to be driving in rush hour traffic, for example.

Consider how mature your teenager is. Do they have to be reminded to put on their seatbelt? Do they react calmly when something bothers them or do they fly off the handle? Do they think they’re invincible? If you don’t think they’re mature enough or are concerned about their reactions when you’re in the car with them, you may have enough reason to ask them to wait to learn to drive.

Consider using these top tips to get your teenager ready to drive. You can also get advice from other parents who have taught their teens to drive, or check with the school’s driver’s education teacher. Between the help you get from others and your own experiences learning to drive, your teen should soon be ready to get behind the wheel.