How to teach your new driver to be safe on the road?
Photo by JÉSHOOTS
As a parent, one of the most significant milestones you and your child will face is when they become old enough to start driving. While it can be an exciting time for both you and your child, it can also be a stressful one, with concerns about safety and responsibility at the forefront of your mind.
Yes, the truth is, it’s TERRIFYING!
But, before you abandon all hope of ensuring the safety of your child (and sleeping soundly at night!), we’re here to help! You absolutely can teach your child good driving habits that will exponentially improve their chances of being a safe, alert driver.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the things a parent should keep in mind when their child becomes old enough to drive, from preparing your child for the road to setting rules and boundaries, and ensuring your child stays safe while behind the wheel. Let’s dive in!
Start preparing your child early
It’s never too early to start preparing your child for driving. Even before they turn 16, you can start instilling safe driving habits by modeling them yourself, talking about traffic safety, and encouraging your child to ask questions and be curious about the rules of the road. Even mundane moments–like moving your child up to the next size of the car seat–can become teaching moments where kids learn the significance of car safety. And by the way, the simple act of making sure your child is in a car seat, and making sure it is fitted properly, can go a long way towards teaching your child the importance of car safety.
If your child is older, you can also enroll your child in a driver’s education course, which will provide them with the knowledge they need to become a safe and responsible driver. These courses are offered at most high schools and often include a combination of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel training.
Set rules and boundaries
Before your child gets behind the wheel, it’s important to set clear rules and boundaries about what is expected of them as a driver. This can include everything from wearing a seatbelt and avoiding distractions while driving to limiting the number of passengers in the car and not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Be sure to explain the reasoning behind each rule and discuss the consequences of breaking them. Make it clear that driving is a privilege, not a right, and that it can be taken away if your child doesn’t follow the rules.
Choose the right car
Choosing the right car for your child is an important decision. While your child may be dreaming of a flashy sports car, it’s important to choose a car that is safe, reliable, and affordable.
Look for cars with good safety ratings and features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. You may also want to consider a car with a smaller engine, as these are generally less powerful and less likely to encourage reckless driving.
Practice, practice, practice
Practice is key when it comes to becoming a safe and confident driver. Spend plenty of time practicing with your child, starting in a quiet parking lot and gradually working up to busier roads and highways.
It’s also a good idea to practice driving in different weather conditions, such as rain or snow, as well as at night. This will help your child feel more comfortable and confident in a variety of situations.
Monitor your child’s driving
Even after your child has passed their driving test and received their license, it’s important to continue monitoring their driving. Ride along with your child occasionally, and provide constructive feedback and praise when appropriate.
You may also want to consider using technology to monitor your child’s driving habits, such as a GPS tracking device or a smartphone app that monitors speed, acceleration, and braking. These tools can help you identify areas where your child may need improvement and can provide a basis for ongoing conversations about safe driving. If you’re looking for something a little more budget-friendly, a “student driver” magnet or bumper sticker can go a long way in alerting other drivers to be more careful and patient when driving near your child.
Be a positive role model
Finally, it’s important to remember that you are your child’s primary role model when it comes to driving. Make sure you are setting a good example by following traffic laws, wearing your seatbelt, avoiding distractions while driving, and never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
By modeling safe driving habits yourself, you can help your child develop the skills and mindset they need to become a safe and responsible driver. Whether we like it or not, our kids see what we do much more clearly than they hear what we say.
The bottom line
In conclusion, when your child becomes old enough to drive, it’s important to start preparing them early, set clear rules and boundaries, choose the right car, practice regularly, monitor their driving, and be a positive role model. With these things in mind, you can help your child become a safe and responsible driver, and give them the skills and confidence they need to navigate the roads with ease. Remember, driving is a significant responsibility, and by working together with your child, you can ensure that they are well-prepared for this exciting new chapter in their life.