Helpful Tips for Parents of New Teen Drivers
July 6, 2007
Ok, listen up parents! It is up to you to help your teenager become a better driver. That means some sacrifices on not only their part but yours as well. In other words, you have to take the time for extra instruction (besides what a driving school will go over). After all, aren’t a few extra hours a good investment in your teen’s future?
While your teen is ultimately responsible for his or her driving, you can help lay the building blocks for a safe, spotless driving record. Now before getting into the different helpful tips, just remember this: lead by example. How do you expect your own teenager to obey traffic laws on important safety measures if you don’t do the same? That means no unnecessary speeding, no rolling through stop signs and no multi-tasking while driving.
Ok, with the mini-lecture over, here are some of those helpful tips you should consider when teaching your teenager how to drive:
- Begin your first driving lesson by not leaving your driveway. Go over each and every button, lever and knob that your teen driver would have to operate. Go through simulations on how to use them, especially without looking. Obviously, the safest recourse on the road is to operate those gadgets without taking your eyes off the road.
- Don’t rush progress. Automatically hopping into a busy neighborhood or even on the highway is a no-no with new drivers. Choose a large parking lot and set up cones in different configurations. Practice backing up into a parking space; learn parallel parking. Practice driving in reverse.
- Once the parking lot trials are over, segue into streets with light traffic. You may have to get up early in the morning or try later in the evening to avoid the heavy commuter traffic or lunch time traffic.
- After you feel comfortable with your teen’s driving on light traffic streets, take a valium (just kidding!) and start your teen’s first lesson on the highway.
- Keep in mind that your teenager will feel self-conscious driving with you at first. Foster an open communication with him or her. Ask questions that need replies. This will keep the comments rolling.
- Plan your driving journeys in advance and give your teenager advance warning when he or she needs to turn.
- Most importantly, keep your cool. You teen will not be an effective driver if you get upset.
Many of the helpful tips above are easy to remember and much of it is common sense. However, it does bear repeating as often as necessary. And while you are teaching your teenager to drive, start looking into driving schools for them so they can gather even more experience in a safe setting without your presence.
Create your own customized Parent-Teen Driving Contract online based on the recommendations from the Driver Education Handbook for Parents. Our interactive tool will help you and your teen compose a practical contract of rules regarding driving expectations and car privileges that both parties can agree on.