Top Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive
Guest post by Sarah D.
Many parents fear the day that their child slides behind the wheel of a car. Even though the majority of teens attend some kind of program to learn the rules of the road and how to operate a vehicle in compliance with those rules (and in relation to other drivers), parents are still on the hook for practice hours and for setting the house rules. And you should do everything within your power to ensure that your teen driver operates in a safe and responsible manner. So here are just a few tips to help you keep him on the straight and narrow where driving is concerned.
The best place to start is with the driver’s manual. You may want to go over it yourself in order to refresh your own memory so that you can give your teen good advice when he starts to drive. You should also help him to study for his written exam (once he passes it he can legally get behind the wheel and start practicing). And you’ll probably want to sign him up for a driving course so that he can get proper instruction without you freaking out and kicking the floorboards every time you think he should brake or grabbing the wheel to correct his steering. Letting your teen learn the basics with a professional at the outset could make the situation a lot easier when you get in on the passenger side and let him take the wheel.
That said, you will have to practice with him at some point, and things will go a lot smoother if you’re not making him nervous, so try to remain calm yourself and avoid being overly critical. When he makes mistakes, let him know, but follow up with clear, concise, and immediate suggestions for how he can improve. Then have him try them out. If, for example, he’s having an issue with over-steering when he takes corners, practice that action until he gets it right. And don’t be afraid to set ground rules for using the car.
Many parents will make “house” rules concerning curfew, having friends in the car, driving on highways, drinking and driving, and so on, generally to ensure safety while a teen is getting comfortable with this new skillset. But you may not know quite how to enforce such rules. Luckily, you aren’t alone in this struggle, and there are tools to help parents that want some measure of control over teen drivers. For starters, there is Ford’s MyKey system that lets you program a key for your teen driver in order to set a maximum speed and volume controls for the car. And Hyundai’s BlueLink can be programmed to call you when your teen driver exceeds speed limits, breaks curfew, or travels outside set geographic boundaries in the car.
The final tip when it comes to creating a responsible driver is monetary. By making your teen get a job to pay for a portion of expenses (loan payment, insurance, registration, gas, and even repairs to the bodies or car engines of any family vehicles he might damage) you will give your teen added incentive to operate in a safe manner. And you’ll also teach him the value of hard work and the privilege associated with driving a car.
Sarah Danielson is a contributing writer for ASAP Motors, where you can find Dodge motors and a variety of other car parts and accessories.