How To Prepare Your Teen For Better Driving.
Congratulations! It’s time for your teenager to learn how to drive. Whether you’re excited for them, a little terrified, or a mixture of both, it’s important to prepare your teen for better driving by being a part of their learning process. Here are some best practices to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Within reason of course learning how to drive is a bit of a bumpy process!
Make a Plan for Practice Time
Structure is the best way to go when trying to teach a skill, like driving. Take care to plan out the route you’ll be asking your teen to drive. Clearly communicate said route ahead of time and make sure to mention any possibilities for difficulty. If you plan to be teaching specific skills, let your teen know and give a basic rundown of each skill before driving. The DMV recommends also adjusting your side mirror to act as a rear view mirror.
Encourage Their Studies
Whether your child is taking a driving class at school or some third party organization, make sure to offer some words of encouragement throughout the process. These classes are often done during summertime or what a teen would consider to be their free time. As important as practice is, it’s also important to learn principles. Make sure your teen takes instruction seriously!
Here’s a great additional resource for teen drivers learning to drive.
Lead By Example
Do as I say, not as I do is not the right attitude to have about teaching your teen to drive. The best way to reinforce positive behavior and driving lessons is to follow the rules of the road and be careful in your own driving. Your teen will pick up on this.
On a similar note, road rage happens to everyone in some way, shape or form. If you can’t get rid of yours, try to at least keep it to an absolute minimum. You definitely don’t want your teen picking up on this potentially dangerous habit.
It can be nerve-wracking to watch your teen make mistakes, but it’s necessary to stay calm so that you can teach your teen how to be safe. Can you remember learning to drive? It would’ve been a lot harder to get things right if you were worried about making your parent (or instructor) mad just by being inexperienced. Take a deep breath and stay vigilant to make sure you both stay safe behind the wheel!
Talking should be kept to an absolute minimum while driving with your teen. It may be tempting to converse, but your teen has enough to deal with when learning the rules of the road and handling all the distractions already present. On that note, make sure your teen isn’t drinking anything, eating anything, using their phone, or listening to the radio. On your first couple of drives together, they should only be focusing on the road.
For general tips on defensive driving that will help both you and your teen, check out our article on defensive driving.
Give Constructive Criticism
Don’t just tell your teen they were wrong for doing something. Instead, give constructive criticism to help their driving skills improve. First, give a compliment. Then share an area that requires improvement. End on a positive note with another thing they did right during the drive. No hard feelings!
To remove yourself even more from the critiquing process, try installing and using State Farm’s Driver Feedback app. You can share some stats from your drive with your teen in an unbiased fashion that doesn’t make things personal.
Once your teen is a licensed driver, make sure to create rules for them to follow (in addition to and reinforcing the law). Good rule ideas include:
- Don’t drive when it’s too dark out
- Don’t drive with anyone else in the car (besides family) for a few months to a year
- Don’t use your phone while driving
If the worst happens and your teen gets in an accident, try and relax. It’s not the end of the world. These things happen, especially with new drivers. Consult with Attorney Big Al free of charge by calling 1-800-HURT-123 or visit him online at http://hurt123.com/ for more information!