How To Teach Your Teen To Drive
If you have a teen you have probably started to think about teaching them to drive. This can be a scary and challenging task, but one that is certainly possible if you know what you are doing. It will require knowledge and most importantly patience. The tips below will help you make sure your child is ready to hit the road on their own.
Before You Hit The Road
The learning starts long before you ever actually hit the road. It is always a great idea to just sit in the car with your child and allow them to get the feel for the driver’s seat. They already have their permit so they are likely familiar with the basic controls of the car, but it is a whole different experience to sit behind the wheel. Explain to them the basic functions of the car, things like turn signals, wipers, hazard lights, etc. After they feel comfortable sitting there with the car in park or not on you should take them to an empty parking lot. It will probably take a few empty parking lot trips until they are confident driving the car and making turns and ready to hit the road.
Time To Hit The Road
Moving your teen from the parking lot onto the real roads with other drivers is a huge step. Obviously, it is a good idea to start out in the neighborhoods before hitting the major roads or highways. The first time they pass a car on the road will certainly be nerve wracking, so it is a lot better if it is done at 25 MPH than on a higher speed road. The slow pace of neighborhoods also allows you to talk to your teen more and explain different things about the roads. The stress of the major roads isn’t the best time to explain things to your teen as they will already have enough to worry about. Once they handle turns well, are confident accelerating and decelerating, and you feel they are ready to make the jump you can hit the main roads.
Moving On Up
Now the real fun begins. It is time to leave the neighborhood and hit the major roads and highways. It is a good idea to take your teen on some bigger roads that they are familiar with for their first few trips. It will make them feel more comfortable if they know the turns of the road and traffic patterns. There is a good chance they will be tentative when first hitting these roads. Long stops at stop signs, waiting too long at lights, and driving under the speed limit are all typical actions of new drivers. The only way for them to become more comfortable driving on major roadways is for them to do it. Think about when you started driving. You likely got less and less nervous as the days passed and you made more and more trips. The same will happen to them and your support will only speed up this process. Make sure you stay calm no matter what is happening on the road when your teen is driving as commotion made by you will only add to their stress.
Other Things To Think Of
There is no telling what your teen could encounter on the road. Make sure you have them prepared for any situation. This means you should have them drive on major highways and merge while still learning so they are not doing it for the first time on your own. You should mix it up and take your teen out driving during the day and at night so they can adjust to headlights and nighttime driving. It is a good idea to take them out in the rain when possible so they can get used to this. If you live in a more densely populated area it is always a good idea to take them out during rush hour once they are more comfortable driving. No matter what challenge they will face on the road it is always made easier if they have encountered it while having your support before.
The idea of your child on the road may be a scary one, but you will rest much easier knowing that you’ve prepared them fully and properly. As with anything else in life, bad driving habits are hard to break once they are developed, so it is important you take no shortcuts when teaching your teen to drive. Learning to drive is much easier when you have the consistent support and advice from a teacher, so be patient and stay calm when teaching your teen to drive!