As a parent, you’ll do everything possible to protect your child from harm. However, at some point, they’ll need to learn how to drive, or else you’ll be stuck driving them to and from wherever they need to go for the rest of their lives!
Everyone needs to learn how to drive, but many parents are understandably worried about putting their cars (and their lives) in the hands of teenagers who have little to no driving experience. However, safe drivers are borne from practice. Teaching your child how to drive responsibly will help keep them safe.
Here’s what you need to know before getting started:
Tips for Teaching Your Teenager to Drive Responsibly
– BE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR DIRECTIONS
Teenagers will make many mistakes when driving for the first time, so it’s essential to be as specific as possible with your directions. Instead of giving them immediate notices to “Turn right now,” which will only cause them to panic and drive into the curb, give them advance notice. For example, state that you will be turning right at the next intersection.
Of course, the best way to ensure you are able to give proper directions is by planning each lesson effectively. This can be done with the help of lesson plans.
Here’s another great tip: Avoid using the word “right” when you mean to comment on something they did correctly, as they may think you’re talking about the direction.
– ALWAYS BE ALERT
One of the most important principles of safely driving is being aware of your surroundings. This skill can be attained only over time and with lots of practice, which means your teenager cannot be as aware as you need them to be. While you’re teaching them, be vigilant about the car’s surroundings and alert your teen when they get too close to another vehicle, an object, or the curb.
– ASK QUESTIONS TO GIVE THEM FEEDBACK
People learn better when they have to think of the correct answer themselves. Instead of giving direct feedback, such as saying, “You’re going too fast,” ask them what the speed limit is. Doing this will prevent them from relying on you for feedback every time they do something wrong and encourage them to think for themselves while being aware of their surroundings. Bonus: it can also avoid conflicts because you will sound less confrontational.
– ALLOW YOUR TEENAGER TO SHOW INITIATIVE
Some teenagers are excited to start driving. Others are more anxious due to the sheer responsibility of operating a vehicle. Whatever the reason, allow your teenager to show initiative when it comes to learning how to drive. Once they meet the age requirement, they’ll tell you whether they’re ready or not to start driving. Trust your teenager and don’t push them, as overly anxious drivers shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
If your teen really wants to start driving but is truly anxious to start, consider sending them to a driving school.
– BE ENCOURAGING
Driving can be frightening and challenging for many first-timers, so it’s crucial to be as encouraging as you can. Avoid upsetting your teenager or talking down to them by giving them general comments like “You’re too distracted,” since it will only discourage them. Instead, be specific and praise them when they do something correctly.
– SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
For your teenager to drive safely, they’ll need to learn by example. You’re probably their role model for driving, so it’s important to practice all the principles of safe driving whenever they’re in the car. If they observe you speeding through a yellow light or failing to use your signal light, they’ll think it is acceptable to do so. For this reason, it is essential to be the ideal driver and set a good example for them.
– ENROLL YOUR TEEN IN DRIVER TRAINING
Enrolling your teenager into a driver’s ed program is a great way to build their skills and confidence behind the wheel. No single person is the perfect driver, so it’s important that your teen learns from a licensed driving instructor. Even so, it’s important that a family member (like you!) spends additional time practicing with them outside of the course. That way, you can make sure they have enough experience driving before getting their license.
Teaching your teenager how to drive can be a stressful experience. It immediately gives them more freedom and independence to move around, which naturally makes parents nervous. However, by following these tips, your teen will learn the importance of driving safely, ensuring they are responsible when they’re on the road.
Getting professional driver training is an important part of the learning process for teenagers. Fleet Safety International offers online and in-vehicle driving classes for new drivers to help them feel more confident behind the wheel. Contact us today to learn more about our programs!