Teaching teenagers to drive

If you are a parent of teenage children, the day you’ve been dreading for fifteen years may be fast approaching: the day when you have to start teaching your kids to drive. This is a nerve-wracking experience for everyone involved, but knowing what you know about automobile accidents (and the proclivity inexperienced drivers have for getting into them), you might be a bet worse for the wear by the time your teen is strapped in behind the wheel and you are in the passenger seat. Of course, your lessons will likely just supplement those they learn in a driver’s education course, so they might have a good idea of how to proceed long before you have to get in a car and practice with them. But since you will certainly have to correct them at some point, here are just a few tips for teaching them to drive responsibly.

Before you even get in the car there are a few things you should probably do. The first is brush up on the driver’s manual so that you know exactly what your teenagers are supposed to be doing at all times (and you don’t give them outdated, misremembered, or otherwise inaccurate information). You should also make sure you are up to the task. If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, for example, you might not be the best person to help your teens practice their driving skills. In this case you should see if your partner, an older, licensed member of the family, or even another trusted adult (like a relative or friend of the family) is willing to tackle the activity on your behalf.

From there you want to make sure that you provide a calm and informative environment for your teenage drivers. Try to refrain from kicking the floor (as though an invisible break were lodged there), pantomiming turning the steering wheel, and gripping everything in sight (handles, the dashboard, and so on) like you’re about to get in an accident. You might also want to see if you can get ahold of the checklist DMV officials use during the test so that you can make sure your teens are doing everything they’re supposed to (checking mirrors, waiting the proper amount of time at stop signs, etc.).

You may also want to talk to your teens about the rules of the road as well as any additional provisions you have pertaining to this particular privilege. Having friends in the car is often an issue of contention, as is curfew, range, and areas over a certain speed (the highway) so you should probably address these concerns before driving ensues. You’ll also want to discuss calling and texting while driving. Even if your state hasn’t yet passed hands-free laws, the statistics on the number of accidents and fatalities that teens suffer from such behavior is appalling.

Before you start seeking out car and  truck sales to find suitable vehicles for your teenagers (preferably those that have a few dents and dings already), you need to make sure that your kids are road ready. The best way to do this is to spend a good amount of time practicing with them so that you can coach them through difficulties and offer up pearls of wisdom from your own experience. Even if you are convinced that nothing is getting through, you might be surprised to learn that it is your voice in their heads that stops them from doing something stupid behind the wheel.

Thanks for reading this article teaching teeenagers to drive.

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