When it comes to parenting, one of the most stressful things can be teaching your teenager to drive. However, you can help make the process easier and safer by keeping a few tips in mind.
Discuss What Causes Accidents
In the United States, the three most common causes of accidents are drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving. Be sure to emphasize to your teen the importance of never driving under the influence, never texting while driving, and the importance of obeying posted speed limits. Although you may not want to scare them, teens still need to realize that even seemingly little actions like this can have huge consequences.
Start Them Off In a Slow, Safe Location
To help your teenagers get comfortable driving, start them off in a quiet location with little traffic. Backcountry roads can be perfect for this; however, parking lots can also help them get a feel for the car and boost their confidence. Once they get comfortable in places like this, consider letting them drive along some residential streets where the speed limit is under 35 mph. This can help give them a good starting point, while still allowing them to gain the experience they need.
Teach Driving in All Weather Conditions
Nearly 21% of all vehicle accidents in the United States happen because of specific weather conditions. From rain to snow, it’s important for your teenagers to learn to handle their cars in all types of weather. Once again, parking lots can be great for this, especially when it comes to driving in snow. It can give them an idea of how fast they can safely go, what sliding feels like, and how they can maneuver safely without the risk of hitting other drivers. Similarly, teaching them how to drive in rain and the importance of never driving through deep water is important. Some roads also may be prone to flooding and causing hydroplaning accidents. Work with your kids so that they can learn to identify these dangers before driving on their own.
Highway driving is unlike driving on any other type of road, and it can be pretty scary for new drivers. Before taking your teen out on the highway, make sure that they understand how to merge safely, how to navigate around large trucks, and how to check their blind spots when making a lane change. You should also teach them the importance of recognizing different signs so that they understand how to read them properly.
Limit Distractions Until They Get More Experience
Once teenagers get a taste of driving, it’s inevitable that they’ll want to drive around blasting music with their friends. The global car audio market, expected to be valued at over $52,397.5 million by 2027, proves just how important stereo systems are. And while your teen might want to blast the latest hits, you should try to limit distractions like this until they have more experience behind the wheel.
Similarly, you should set an example of having them put their phones away or turn them off while they are driving to prevent the temptation to check any incoming messages or answer any calls. Make sure to do this yourself when driving to set the example and show them that it’s not just a rule that teenagers should follow.
When it comes to teaching your teenager how to drive, the situation can be nerve-wracking, but ultimately rewarding. Remember how eager (and scared) you were to start driving and remember that your teen is probably feeling the same way.
Make a point to set a good example, and take the time to teach them about what they need to know to stay safe on the road. By doing this, you can help give yourself peace of mind for when they start driving on their own.