Driving with teens? Teaching your teen to drive responsibly.
It’s the time many parents dread. Your teen is getting ready to drive. While it can be stressful teaching a new and inexperienced driver, you can play a role in making this milestone go smoothly. Plan ahead and you both will be able to embrace the moment.
Help your child to be prepared
One of the best things you can do is to make sure you and your teenager are prepared. Many schools offer driver’s education classes that will provide your children with:
- A skilled instructor
- A vehicle that is equipped with controls for the instructor as well as the driver
- Hours of supervised experience
- Classroom instruction concerning safe driving habits
In addition to providing your son or daughter with instruction, you can take classes that are geared for parents in order to better equip your child with the necessary skills. You should also make sure you know your state’s regulations regarding teen drivers. Your teen will be required to have a licensed driver to supervise while he or she is driving until the requirements for getting a license have been met. Once your son or daughter has his or her license, there may be a cut-off time when your teen is no longer able to drive at night. This limitation is generally removed at a certain age.
Practice makes perfect
Once you have learned how many hours your teen is supposed to practice prior to taking a driving test, consider doubling it. A young driver without experience can never get too much practice. Start easy. You may begin in parking lots and on rural roads. As your child becomes more accustomed to driving, take on more challenging conditions. Head to suburban and urban location. While your teenager is behind the wheel, stress important skills, such as:
- Always scan your surroundings
- Coast to a gradual stop
- Watch the speed limit signs
- Practice following other vehicles at a safe distance
- Don’t engage in road rage
Be sure to give your teen the opportunity to practice parallel parking, three-point turns, and hand signals in the event that a turn signal is not functioning.
Keep your cool
You need to model good habits when you are driving with your son or daughter. The same holds true when your teen is behind the wheel. You may be tempted to yell or overreact. It isn’t easy to be in the passenger seat with a new driver. If you are calm, your son or daughter is more likely to stay calm as well. If there is a problem, as your child to signal appropriately, slow down, and pull over at a safe location. Discuss your concern with your young driver. You may need to model a technique before your teen tries again. Praise your son or daughter when making good choices on the road. Keep a running commentary going about what to look for, what to do next, and how to deal with a challenging situation. If you have a hard time keeping your cool, consider asking your spouse or another member of your family to take turns with your teen for driving practice.
Turn to an expert if there is an accident
Accidents happen on the road. Whether it is your teen driver’s fault or caused by someone else, enlist the aid of a car accident lawyer in your area. For example, if you live in New York you might search for a car accident lawyer in Albany. Your lawyer will gather documentation about the accident, including police reports and eye-witness accounts. From that point, your legal professional will determine the best course of action to take. Your teen’s best interests will be a priority.
The best drivers are observant and have years of experience. They don’t let their emotions take the wheel. You can lay the foundation to help your child to be a successful driver. Resist the urge to buy a car right away for your young driver. Consider it to be a goal that must be earned. Be clear about your rules for your son or daughter when borrowing your vehicle. When your teenager has successfully passed the road test to be a licensed driver, remember that you are still in charge until your child is ready to be responsible on the road.