Teaching your child to drive can be scary, especially when you consider the high accident rate for teen drivers. Most of these accidents occur during the first few months than a teen drives solo, so it’s important to know that you’ve armed your son or daughter with the knowledge they need to be a safe driver once they hit the road.
1. They Can Learn at Their Own Pace
There’s always a lot of peer pressure to start driving when you’re a teen, but most young drivers are way more anxious than they let on. If your child isn’t ready to get their learner’s permit and jump in behind the wheel at 15, that’s perfectly okay.
2. Staying Calm Matters
In fact, staying calm could be their number one tool in staying safe on the road. That applies to Mom or Dad when you’re in the passenger seat, too. Teach this one by example.
3. Texting and Driving is Serious
Sure, everybody knows the law and everybody’s heard the statistics. But it’s still remarkably easy to reach for that mobile phone when you’re behind the wheel. This is another one they will learn from watching you.
4. Other People Don’t Obey Rules
You can teach your teen how to follow traffic laws, but they’ll soon see that other drivers aren’t always that responsible. A specialist from Valley Driving School recommends that parents point out bad driving behaviors while on the road and discuss how to avoid them. Teens will soon learn that a little defensive driving goes a long way.
5. Always Anticipate What’s Ahead
A huge part of safe driving is being able to spot obstacles and react early. This means knowing how much time you need to brake once you spot brake lights ahead, or knowing you might have to stop for that car pulling out of a driveway.
6. Your Concerns are Reasonable
The protective paranoia of a parent with a teen driver can really frustrate the teen, but the things you’re worried about have merit. Explain to them why you worry. You don’t want them to run a stop sign or brake too late when you’re not around.
Remember, plenty of parents have taught their teen to drive in the past, just like your parents likely taught you. Luckily, there are lots of safe driving apps and new tools to keep an eye on your child when they’re driving. But none of them are a substitute for the right conversations, which your teen will not soon forget.