The thought of teaching your teenager how to drive has brought fear to the hearts of many parents. One day, you’re teaching them their ABC’s and then boom… they’re ready to hop in the car and drive off to college! Where does the time go so fast?
Well, all parents go through this. Your baby won’t be a baby forever so, in knowing that, you’ll want to prepare them for this next chapter in their life (and yours). It’s bitter-sweet isn’t it? You want them to grow up to be decent human beings but you also want them to stay little just a little while longer… but the time has come, so buckle up and let’s go on this ride to get your teen ready to drive.
What to Expect
As a parent putting your child behind the wheel of a car, you know you are putting your most precious cargo at risk, so you’re going to worry, and that’s okay… that is to be expected. Also, driving is going to be a new experience for them so there’s a chance they may get into an accident or fender-bender in your car. In knowing those potential risk factors, you definitely want to be prepared in the event of an emergency. So make sure you’re precious cargo is covered legally.
Another thing to expect is more so on the personal side. When it comes to accidents or mishaps in the car, your child might feel more comfortable talking to dad about it than talking to you… it’s just one of those things that come with parenting, so be prepared. Dads tend to be more laid back, whereas moms can sometimes fly off the handle with certain things, so if your teen goes to dad about a mishap before you, just let dad handle it this time… it okay that he helps in this way.
Preparing Your Teen
In order to get your teen prepared to hit the road safely, take a look at what you need to do to help guide them down the road to driving success.
Let Your Teen State When They’re Ready to Drive
Just as teens mature at different ages, they also have the desire to drive at different ages. Some teens want to learn to drive as soon as they hit the legal age limit and some are just nervous to get behind the wheel. You can ask them if they’re ready to drive and if they say no, don’t push it any further; just wait for them to approach you about it.
Plan Your Lessons in Advance
Once you start working with your teen behind the wheel, make sure you have a plan in place. Know exactly where you will be going and what you will be doing. You’ll also want to let them know what skills they’ll be working on for that particular trip.
Teach Them Awareness
Instilling in your teen to always be aware of their surroundings is very important. This goes for on the road as well as in parking lots and the such. They need to know that there will be cars in areas that they may not be able to see from their mirrors so they may have to look in the mirrors as well as thoroughly check their surroundings.
To go along with awareness, you definitely want to teach them the impact of distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything from texting and taking selfies to eating and putting on makeup. The most common form of distracted driving is the result of using cell phones while driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one killer of teens in the U.S. are vehicle collisions and accidents. The sad thing is that a lot of these car crashes were preventable had there not been any type of distraction.
As a driver’s parent, it’s your job to coach them through their driving journey. You want to make sure you’re not getting upset or talking down to them. If they’re doing something wrong, try asking them questions so they can figure out on their own what they’re doing wrong. If your teen is speeding, instead of telling them to slow down, try asking them what the speed limit is for the area. That will then force them to slow down and be more observant of speed limit signs.