For some parents, the time when their kid turns old enough to drive is paralyzing. It’s a little unsettling sitting in the passenger’s side of a vehicle being driven by someone who has never driven before, so the hesitation to teach is understandable.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of driver’s education classes in high school. Some parents are left with no other option than to personally teach their kid to drive.
If you’re one of the many parents who are struggling a bit with the notion of teaching your teenager to drive, take heart. Here are a few tips that will help you get the process started, and hopefully leave you feeling a little more comfortable with the task.
Start by presenting a reliable role model
The best foundational teaching for your teenage driver is to set a reliable standard of safety. When you are the driver, wear your seatbelt. Use your turning signals to turn. Don’t yell obscenities at other drivers. Don’t tailgate, and don’t drive like Speedracer.
If your teenager sees that mom or dad drive like a maniac without suffering consequences, they won’t believe you when you try to teach them about the dangers of driving. Set the standard for your kids, and be a good driver.
Teach your teen what to do if they’re in an accident
It’s important that you teach your teenager what to do if they’re ever in a car accident. They need to understand the legal implications of an auto collision, and the steps to take to stay within the bounds of the law. Safety is the first concern, however, so teach them simple first aid and to move the vehicle to a safer spot if it’s possible.
Don’t yell at them while they’re driving
The first driving lesson with you and your teen could be a little shaky, but you have to keep your cool. Yelling at your teen driver will only get them frazzled, and it may place you both in danger.
Talk in a calm tone to your teen, and direct them every step of the way. If they seem to be veering off of the road, call attention to it before grabbing onto the wheel.
Resist the urge to over direct
Resist the urge to try and mold your teen driver into a perfect textbook auto operator. They may make a wide turn, forget to signal, or press the brakes too hard. It’s okay.
Driving is a learning process. You as well as any other adults understand that life brings new lessons in driving. You can help your teen by presenting them with various driving situations as you teach.
Drive at night. Drive in the rain. Drive in heavy traffic. Drive on the interstate. Just don’t nag, huff, or grip the “oh poo” handle like you might die in the next few seconds.