If teaching your teenager to drive strikes fear in your heart, listen up because we’ve got some useful tips for making the experience a lot less stressful.
Yes, it’s frightening to think that you’re going to be letting your child take control of one of your most expensive assets. But being able to drive is something we all should be able to do. Here are a few things you should know about teaching your teen to drive.
Don’t push your teen to start driving as soon as they’re legally allowed to. Everyone operates at a different pace, so let your teen take the lead. When your child says they are ready to learn to drive, draw up a plan ahead of the first lesson.
Let them know what you’re going to be doing and where you’re going. Tell them what skills they will be developing.
First things first
Have your teen read the car manual, and make sure they know how the seatbelts and lights work, how to use the windshield wipers, and how to start and stop the engine.
They should also know about refueling, how to change a flat, and what to do in an emergency. For example, when should they phone somewhere like the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
Getting into the car
The correct hand position is essential. Instead of the 2 o’clock/10 o’clock stance, teach your child to place their hands at the 9:15 position for maximum control. Teach them to keep their arms relaxed for quick responses compared with tensed muscles.
Tell your child how important it is to stay focused on driving. That means no smartphone within reach. Using a cellphone while driving is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all times. It’s important to get into the habit of ignoring your phone while you’re driving at the very beginning.
Give positive reinforcement
Nobody responds well to negative comments. Make sure you praise your teen when they do well. Positive reinforcement helps positive behaviors become habits. Keep the atmosphere light.
Teach the basics
Your teen needs to know the basics of driving. These include steering, which isn’t as easy as it looks, braking, parking, safe turnings, and all the things that we drivers take for granted.
Remember that practice makes perfect. If your child is struggling with something, come back to it another time. Avoid making it into a big issue or your teen might become overly anxious.
Driving alongside others
Once the basics have been mastered, your teen needs to learn to drive safely in the midst of other drivers, pedestrians and parked cars. Start practicing on a residential street and gradually moving to a street with multiple lanes.
Your child should learn how to change lanes safely, maintain a safe driving distance, and deal with various intersections. S/he should know about driving according to the speed limit and road signs encountered.
Parking is usually the bugbear of novice drivers, and many accidents occur while parking. Take your teen to an empty parking lot and have them practice parking. Then move on to a residential street. They should know how to parallel park, reverse park, park on a hill, and how to make a three-point turn and a U-turn.
Go beyond the basics
Once your teen has a good grasp of the basics, it’s time to go beyond the easy part of driving. The best time to learn how to deal with a crisis is to practice doing so before the real thing happens. This might be time for your teen to have a few lessons from a professional who can teach them advanced driving skills.
Filed under: Life