How To Successfully Teach Your Teen To Drive Safely

How To Successfully Teach Your Teen To Drive Safely

One of the biggest concerns parents have when their kids enroll in online driver’s education is how in the world they’re going to get their behind-the-wheel training. After all, in a traditional driver’s ed course, there is an extensive amount of training done while your child is actually driving with the instructor in the passenger seat. An online driver’s ed course does not include this—how could it? This means that any experience your child gets as a new driver will be with you guiding and advising them.

Perhaps you think back to your time learning to drive with your mom or dad fondly. Maybe they patiently sat next to you as you navigated the roads for the first time, helping you out along the way and calming you. Or you may have terrible memories from that time! If you were taught by someone with a short temper, your driving lessons may have quickly turned into yelling matches. Whatever your personal experiences, it’s time to put those aside; instead, you now must focus on your child’s safety.

An online driving course is just as effective, if not more so, than an in-person driver’s ed course. This means your instruction must also be up to par! When you consider the fact that suddenly your child has grown up and will now be operating a vehicle all on their own, it can seem like a stressful and nearly impossible task. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a few tips so you can help your child learn how to drive with you as their teacher behind the wheel.

Set A Great Example

Yes, your child’s driving education actually starts well before they even consider taking the keys themselves. Whether or not you think it, your child admires you and looks up to, taking cues from your behavior for how they act in their lives. They will watch your every move, and when you make mistakes it’s best to admit to them and correct your behavior rather than adopt a “do as I say and not as I do” attitude. This rarely works with teenagers, and they are much more likely to mimic your actions.

When you’re driving, make sure:

  • To avoid aggressive driving. Yelling, unnecessary honking, obscene gestures, accelerating, and cutting off other drivers—these are just a few of the examples of jarring and aggressive behavior your kids might come to think of as “normal” driving behavior. Aggressive driving actually accounts for over 50% of all driving fatalities.
  • To put down your phone. Cell phones have quickly become the main source of distraction for drivers, and they should really just be put away completely when operating a vehicle. Don’t expect your child to take texting while driving seriously if you don’t either.
  • To follow the rules of the road. If you need to refresh yourself on the rules of the road, then make a point to check out your state’s DMV website for the specific laws your child is learning. Always make sure to avoid excessive speeding, failing to come to complete stops, parking in handicapped spots without a handicapped permit, as well as all other laws. If you expect your child to do it, so should you.

Care For Your Car

Part of being a responsible driver is caring for your automobile. A car that has had its oil light on for weeks or has a smudged, dirty windshield is not a safe vehicle to drive! Before you hand over the keys to your kid, make sure to have a thorough inspection done. Give special attention to the brakes, windshield wipers, and tires, as these can get worn down and make driving more challenging.

Practice Off The Roads First

It’s one thing to start your teen off driving in an empty parking lot where there are no other moving distractions around. It’s another thing to stick them on the road with other vehicles. Part of driving is learning how to maneuver the car, and another part is dealing with traffic, so warm new drivers up to these concepts one at a time.

Rushing into a driving situation on the road could have some dire consequences:

  • Accidents. Even something as simple as knowing the difference between the gas and the brakes is something that a new driver won’t be comfortable with right away. Accidents can happen to even the best drivers on the road, and inexperienced drivers are even more susceptible.
  • Bad habits. You know the saying that “old habits die hard.” Even from the first time a driver steps behind the wheel, they begin to form habits. In their excitement, they may overlook the basics, like adjusting mirrors or using turn signals. These small acts can grow into lifelong, terrible driving habits.
  • Scaring them. Even if they don’t get into an accident, your child may encounter a situation that just plain scares them and makes them less interested in driving altogether. This could lead them to being an overly nervous driver instead of a relaxed one who practices defensive driving.

Have Your Teen Drive In All Types Of Conditions

I knew a young man who went to get his driver’s license, and when asked to turn on the windshield wipers, he had no idea where they were. He had never driven in the rain! You definitely do not want your teenager’s first experience behind the wheel in inclement weather or at night to be completely alone, so accompany them on rides during these times as well. This should, by no means, be their first experience driving, but once you feel they’re comfortable and able to take on a bit of a challenge, sit in the passenger seat while they navigate in different situations. In addition to a good online driver’s ed course, this will make them a much safer driver, both in more dangerous situations and during regular weather and daylight as well.