Getting Your Teenager Ready to Drive
One of the scariest times in a parent’s life can be the first time their child gets behind the wheel of a car. Teaching your teenager to drive can be a stressful experience, but making sure they have the knowledge to drive safely is invaluable. You should ask yourself a few questions before your teen starts on the path to getting their license. Are they mature enough to be behind the wheel of a car? Do they make good decisions and follow the law? Do you feel that they have the required responsibility of getting their license? If you believe that your teen is ready to start driving, take these steps to insure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
How To Operate The Vehicle
When your teen takes their behind the wheel course, they will be learning to drive in a vehicle that will not be their daily driver. You should go through all of the operational instructions for the car they will be driving on a day to day basis. They should know how to start and stop the engine, operate windshield wipers and turn signals, and understand all of the dashboard information.
Seat Belt Importance
You should always stress the importance of seat belts with your teenager before they start driving themselves. Good seat belt etiquette should start young so by the time they begin driving on their own they are already in the habit of using their seat belt consistently. Not only should your teenager be diligent about wearing their seat belt every time they are behind the wheel, you should also stress the importance of all passengers needing to wear their seat belts as well.
No Cell Phones While Driving
One of the most common distractions for teens while driving are cell phones, especially while texting. Make sure your teen knows that distracted driving is a leading cause of collisions and impart a no cell phone while driving rule to keep them and others safe on the road.
Obey Traffic Laws
One of the most basic, but most important, rules of the road are to follow all traffic laws. Teach your teen to avoid unsafe driving practices such as speeding, aggressive driving and unsafe lane changes. Don’t just rely on your teen’s Driver’s Ed course. Use every trip you take to teach them about street signs, passenger and pedestrian safety and other basic driving skills they will need to know to drive safely.
Basic Vehicle Maintenance
Ideally, your teen should know how to change a tire, fill their car with gas, and other useful information that they might need at any given notice. You won’t always be there to help them so teaching them useful tips on maintaining their vehicle is a good way to keep them prepared for any situation.
Practice Makes Perfect
Encourage your teen to drive often and make every outing a teachable moment. Common practices like parallel parking, parking on hills, turning in and out of parking spaces and making U-Turns are just some examples of every day driving techniques your teen should know. When they are more advanced, practice entering and exiting the freeway, driving at night and driving in various weather conditions.
Sometimes teenagers together in a vehicle can be even more distracting than cell phones. Limit the amount of passengers that your teen can have in their car until they feel confident enough in their driving skill to not be distracted. Check your local laws for underage passenger restrictions.
While your teenager driving may seem scary, rest assured that with a lot of practice your teen will be well prepared to get behind the wheel. By being a good role model while driving, you can teach your teen the best driving practices to keep them and others on the road safe.