Teaching Your Teen To Drive During the Christmas Holiday Season
December 14, 2009
The Christmas season is supposed to bring out the best in us but, for drivers, it seems to bring out the worse. The mad rush to commute from work, get to the mall, and complete our shopping in a reasonable amount of time, makes this season one of the most dangerous driving periods of the year. With the arrival of the Christmas shopping season, parents, whose children are learning to drive on a learner’s permit, may be reluctant to let their teen drive in such a crazy driving environment.
Only you can decide whether or not your teen may be prepared to drive during this season. For a teen who only has a month or so of driving experience, it is probably not a good idea to allow them to drive in heavy Christmas traffic. However, for a teen with a good deal of driving experience, it is probably the best time to allow them to drive while you are in the seat next to them to give them guidance. This season presents a great teaching experience and an opportunity to open up a dialogue about how not to drive.
Before you and your teen venture out to the mall, you would be wise to discuss the driving environment and let the teen know what he or she can expect. You will need to exercise a great deal of patience, both with each other and with the other drivers on the road.
What kind of driving experiences and teaching moments can you and your teen expect?
This season brings out the worst in drivers. If a driver cuts you off, tries to steal your parking space, or is honking the horn when you can’t move, don’t give into the urge to retaliate by gestures, honking your horn, or flashing your lights. You may wind up pushing an irate driver over the edge into a road rage situation where the other driver may try to attack you in some way. Both you and your teen should keep your cool, pay attention to your own safety and get out of the way of an irate driver as quickly as you can.
Remember that you can’t take the right-of-way, you can only give it up to someone else. If there is a conflict with another driver trying to take the right-of-way, it is much safer to give it to them.
Several problems will be encountered at intersections. First, and most dangerous, will be those impatient drivers who will step on the gas in hopes of beating a red light. Many drivers will deliberately run the red light. Once your light turns green, don’t be in a hurry to go. Have your teen look in all directions to make sure that no one is trying to run the red light before proceeding.
The other issue you will have to contend with are those drivers who pull forward into intersections when traffic ahead is stopped and wind up blocking the intersection when the light changes. Your teen will need to stop at the stop line before the intersection and wait until traffic ahead has cleared enough to allow her to proceed completely through the intersection.
There is probably no time of year where we encounter more pedestrians on the road. Remember that pedestrians in a crosswalk, whether marked or not, always have the right-of-way. Pedestrians can’t move as fast as a car can, especially when they are burdened down with packages, so don’t expect them to jump out of your way. Remember also that pedestrians may not hear you coming. Their minds are occupied just like yours. Their ears may be wrapped in a muffler or a hat or the pedestrian could be totally deaf.
Be careful and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
Additional Driver Safety Tips for the Holiday Seasons: