So the time has come. Your teenager has secured their learners permit. While this is a coming-of-age moment for them, they’re still going to be heavily reliant on you for guidance and training during their formative months on the road.
In fact, most states require learner drivers to log a specified number of hours behind the wheel under the stewardship of a parent or guardian by law. Given this onus on you to play a significant role in teaching your teen how to drive, you may well be wondering what’s the best way to have your child drive safely.
But fear not, this quick-fire guide will show you how to encourage your teenager to drive safely, both before and after they have gained their driving license.
How to Conduct Safe and Effective Driving Lessons
The driving lessons you take with your teenager are a crucial opportunity to nail down safe and considerate driving habits. Many of the driving patterns taught doing this early phase of learning will stick with them for life. So let’s take a look at best practices for these lessons.
Start Slow and Steadily Build Up
The last thing you want to do as a parent is to rush your child through the learning process. While you might like the idea of one of your children gaining independence, their safety is obviously the priority here.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start in wide-open spaces such as empty parking lots or quiet side streets where there is little chance of encountering other traffic. Once they have built their confidence and you feel comfortable, then, and only then, is it time to progress to medium or high-traffic roads.
Remain Calm and Patient
It’s important to remember that mistakes are going to be made. Remember, you were a learner driver too once. Raising your voice or instilling panic in the car helps no one. When things go awry, help them navigate the situation and pull over later, where safe, to explain what went wrong and why.
Keep an Eye Out for Hazards
Teen drivers are understandably nervous. With so much adrenaline running through their veins, they might not be focusing on what’s going on around them. While they are concentrating on the road, you must be surveying the broader landscape as you approach intersections and during other essential maneuvers.
That watching brief goes for other vehicles too. Larger vehicles such as trucks can’t react quickly to late lane changes, and becoming involved in a trucking accident will permanently dent their already fragile confidence.
Invest in Professional Instruction
While you may think you’re the best driver on the road, it’s always worth investing in at least some form of formal driving education for your teenager. Instructors not only have intimate knowledge of the most important aspects when it comes to taking the test at your local DMV, but they will also help to instill safe driving habits that will last a lifetime.
Let’s be honest; teenagers don’t like listening to their parents. So if you’ve been wondering how to encourage your teenager to drive safely, an experienced driving instructor is perhaps your best bet.
What About After They Receive Their License?
In many ways, the hard work starts after they’ve passed their driving test. With the confidence boost of a passed test, teenage drivers can overestimate their abilities and wind up making mistakes. That’s why it’s essential to sit down with your teen after they’ve obtained their license to set some ground rules and outline your expectations.
It’s wise to implement measures such as nighttime curfews, limit the number of passengers they can take (you can start with zero for an extended period), and underline their financial responsibilities in the case of damage to the vehicle or insurance costs. You can then lift restrictions once specific milestones have been met.
These conversations, along with the steps taken above, will be crucial to successfully encouraging your teenagers to drive safely. While some of these steps may be challenging for either you or your teen, they will help to ensure their safety, which should always be the most crucial consideration.