Years ago, when you brought your lovely – we’re assuming – child into the world, you probably wanted to keep them safe no matter what. When you look at a baby, you don’t immediately think about what safety precautions might be necessary when they start learning how to drive; babies don’t drive. Well, now you’re here, and that baby is getting ready to turn 16, and you need to know how to deal with that.
The thought of your child growing up so fast can be emotional and overwhelming. Driving is a teen’s transition from being a child into becoming an adult, and teaching them how to become safe, independent, and responsible drivers are crucial to their adulthood. As a parent, the best way to go forward is to accept that your kid is no longer a little child and to do your best to teach them how to hone a lifetime skill – driving.
Don’t worry about your age though, you look great.
Let’s talk about some of the ideas and precautions to keep your kid safe while learning to drive and become a teen driver.
Practice Safe Driving
The teens that become the safest drivers are the ones who had the most opportunity to practice. If you want to feel secure in letting your child go out and drive on their own, you have to get in that passenger’s seat first and see how they are doing. Start with the empty parking lot and ease them into shorter drives. Are you guys heading to the store for something quick? Let them drive you. They will be excited to do it.
When you show that you trust their ability to drive safely, you let them know it is ok for them also to trust their capability. You remember learning how to drive and the first few times being a terrifying experience, but each time got a little bit easy, and now you do it as second nature. Your teen has to practice to get to that point. Give your teen the freedom to take the initiative and make his driving decisions. However, let him know that you are by his side to keep him safe and assist him throughout the whole practice driving experience. As a driver’s parent, your role is to coach your teen and help him learn how to drive in an easy, productive, and efficient setup. Avoid upsetting or talking your teen down. They are at a sensitive stage, and your side comments, though innocently given, can discourage them and affect their driving confidence. If you need to correct a driving habit, use the asking approach to optimize learning. Also, praise them for good driving performance to encourage them to practice safe and responsible driving habits.
Some circumstances make it challenging to get them as much practice as possible. If you have a demanding work schedule or are busy with school and extracurricular schedules, sometimes it is not that easy to have a consistent driving schedule. We recommend setting a more extended period, aside from the weekend, to do some extra driving practice. Have a grandparent, family member, or a close adult friend take them out. Learning from different adults can help them absorb more information, and we all know a change from what the parents say somehow sticks a little bit more when they are young. Monitored practice is going to make them safer drivers, and that can bring your stress level down.
Refresh Your Knowledge On The Drivers Ed Manual
After years of driving, we may have started to skip over some of the technicalities we were paying attention to when we first got behind the wheel. Also, if you haven’t noticed, things change. There are some new rules and regulations that we didn’t have to learn before. Back then, there were no cell phones while driving, so we couldn’t swipe left into an accident. If some questions come up that you aren’t sure about, refresh your memory. You can find all driving-related information online.
The written test can hold your kid back from getting his license, just like the actual drive test. There are some intricate details that I am sure we are all a little fuzzy about. Plus, if you read up again on all this information, it is an easy way to slip in teaching moments to your kids. If you are troubled about how they do something in the car, you can use the manual to point out a rule that helps prove your point. If you want to encourage responsible choices when it comes to intoxicants, this is the perfect time to go over what they do to your body and when it is appropriate to drive. Maybe a refresher could help keep you safe too.
The best way to teach your child correct driving attitudes is to set a good example. Follow good driving practices when your teen is in the passenger seat. If you violate even the most simple traffic and road rules, it gives them the idea that doing so is okay.
Safe Cars For Your Teen Driver
Chances are, the car is yours, and you want to protect it so it can protect you. The practice is about driving, but it will be just as beneficial to the safety and preserving of your vehicle if you go over some basic care and maintenance techniques with your new driver. Although some of the maintenance specifics seem obvious, it is better to be safe than sorry. We have seen horror stories of people neglecting little things like tire pressure or oil changes. A young driver should know what to do if they get stranded or need a jump than being left to guess in a serious situation.
Get your teen involved when you are doing minor vehicle maintenance like changing a flat tire, adjusting windshields, or starting and stopping the car engine. By doing this, you give a hands-on demonstration of how a vehicle works and how to maintain it to keep it safe and in good condition. Learning about the basics of how a car operates is a practical skill every young driver should know. A new driver should also be aware that car maintenance is part of their new responsibility.
There are some vehicles that have been deemed the safest for new drivers. Teens may not like it (don’t tell them that I started out driving a Mustang), but some other style options are the safer way to go.
For example, a compact sedan, sure teens may not love being confused for someone’s mom, but safer cars facilitate fewer distractions. When the time comes, they’ll realize that they can actually fit friends in there. Other compact alternatives are a great way to keep your kid safe. A Volkswagen Beetle is a popular car for young drivers, but it is also rated a very safe vehicle. Finally, if they need something slightly bigger, we suggest sticking with a crossover SUV. It will give them space and outdoor ability they might be looking for while also keeping a little more compact to avoid road hazards.
While teaching a young teen to drive, steer clear of sports cars, big SUVs, and trucks, be involved, and brush up on what information you can give them. Safe practice makes safe drivers and relaxed parents.