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A lot goes into teaching a teenager how to drive. You have to start small and let your teen build skills over time. You might practice in a parking lot and review the rules of the road. They have to know where to find the turn signal and which pedal is the brake.
Teaching actual driving skills and rules is important, but there are other things that go beyond the basics that will help transform your teen from a novice driver into an expert.
Talk About Dangerous Intersections Where You Live
All roads are not created equal. No matter where you live, some roads are safer than others. It’s a good idea to talk to your teen about dangerous intersections they may encounter when driving. That way they know to slow down and pay closer attention when they approach those intersections.
It may also be the case that there are intersections near where you live that you want your teen to avoid. Tell them where they should avoid driving whenever possible. Prioritizing safety by avoiding perilous roads is one of the best ways to prevent your teen from getting into an accident.
Talk About Phone Safety
Your teen probably already knows that they shouldn’t use their phone while driving, but they may not realize just how serious it is. Not only could using their phone while they’re driving cause an accident, but they could also end up with a ticket.
Many states have banned the use of hand-held devices. In some cases, the ban is for everyone. In other cases, the ban is for novice and teen drivers alone.
Your conversation has to go beyond just not using their phone. What should they do if they need to use their GPS? Will you be mad if they don’t answer the phone when you call because they’re driving?
Talk about the details of phone safety so your teen knows exactly what to do with their phone while they’re driving.
Take a Tour of the Car
Does your teen know all of the parts that go into a car? Take a tour and identify the different parts that they need to be aware of.
That includes all the functions of the car on the inside, but it may also include other important details.
Just a few things you may want to identify when giving your teen a tour of the car include where:
- To find the spare tire
- The backup and other cameras are located so they can keep them clean
- To find the hatch that opens the hood
- The buttons that adjust the seat are located
- Specialty buttons, like hazard lights, are located
Your teen will be more prepared for an emergency if they know where all the important parts of the car are located. It can prevent possible accidents too because your teen won’t try to figure out what button works the rearview windshield wiper while they’re driving.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Don’t just go wherever the wind takes you when you’re first teaching your teen how to drive. Plan your route ahead of time.
You want to avoid last-minute directions and shouting when you’re teaching your teenager to drive. If you’re making up your route as you go along, you’re likely to ask your teen for a last-minute turn which can end up making them feel frustrated.
You can tell your teen where you’re heading and give them plenty of warning every time they need to turn when you know where you’re going. Not only will you feel more in control, they will too, which can have a positive effect on their confidence.
Let Your Teen Drive With Other Teachers
All teens need more than one trusted adult in their lives. That’s true when it comes to talking about important things, but it’s also true when it comes to driving.
All drivers have different strengths and weaknesses behind the wheel. They might learn better merging skills from their mom, but their uncle is way better at parallel parking. Your teen is more likely to become a well-rounded driver when they have the opportunity to drive with different teachers.
Focus on the Task At Hand
Teenagers don’t always like to talk to their parents, especially about things they feel sensitive about. Getting in the driver’s seat can make them feel like they’re getting in the hot seat if they know you’re going to ask them about that boy at school or whether they decided to try out for the school play.
Make sure your teen is comfortable, and make sure they can concentrate on the road, by focusing on the task at hand. Talk about the car, driving in general, and where you’re headed. Don’t talk about anything that might make them feel embarrassed or frustrated. Save those talks for later when you’re both safely at home.
Talk About Driving While You Drive
You don’t just teach your teen how to drive when they’re behind the wheel. They can learn a lot about driving when you’re behind the wheel too, especially if you talk about driving while you drive.
Point out the road signs you see while you’re driving, why you decide to pass another driver on the road, and if you see someone else doing something illegal. Talk about the things that make you nervous about driving and what it was like when you were learning how to drive a car. Talking about driving while you drive is the best way for your teen to see and experience good driving habits in action.
Teaching your teen to drive can be a nerve-racking experience, but it can also be a positive experience. It can bring you and your child closer together while you teach them important lessons on the road that will keep them safe. When you follow the tips on this list, you can feel good about sending your teen out into the world when they finally get their license.
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