Living the family life means that, eventually, you’ll have to figure out a way to teach your teenager to drive. Not all high schools have driver’s education classes, and why pay for lessons when you can do it yourself?
There’s always a bit of fear when you’re in the position to teach someone how to drive, and your fear is clearly justified. Thousands of drivers are injured in a vehicle collision each year. Take the time to spare your child the added danger of ignorance, and teach yourself how to be a better driving instructor:
Remember monkey see monkey do
Teaching your kids to drive starts long before you ever actually begin the formal process. Your kids learn a good portion of what they know about everything from watching others. Your kids will watch how you drive from a very young age.
Be a good role model when your kids are in the car, and they’ll have safe driving instilled deep in their minds. Always wear your seatbelt, and require the same of your children as they grow. Don’t indulge in your road rage in front of the kids, etc.
Don’t rush the process
You and your child will likely want to take the training wheels off a little too early, but resist the urge. Your teen may be able to handle the basics of driving, but there is much more depth to being a good driver than simply understanding the simple mechanics of the vehicle.
Experience is the best cultivator of a safe, responsible driver. The longer you spend teaching and guiding your teen through various driving situations, the better off they will be once they are on their own.
Think about how you word your guidance
Make a conscious effort while speaking to your teen about their driving skills. Constructive criticism is great, but handle your words with care. If you make your teen feel like they are being attacked, they will stop listening.
Also, don’t put your teen in a position they are not prepared to handle. For example, don’t take them out for their first time driving and direct them onto the interstate.
Teach your child to recognize a hazard
As your teen is driving, talk to them. Use a calm voice, and consistently explain to them the various road hazards they encounter along the way. For example, brake lights ahead signal that you may need to slow down.
A car pulled over on the side of the road typically means that you should move over to the other lane. Teach your teen how to handle a situation when that’s not possible. It’s important that they feel competent, as losing your wits while driving can lead to some pretty serious situations.