Turning 16 is a right of passage for a teenager. Once they can get their permit, they already feel older and more in control of their own lives. For the parent, it’s stressful! Your hear of all of the horror stories of teen accidents and it makes you highly nervous about letting your teen drive by themselves or drive at all. At the same time, you know they need to grow as a person and be more independent. Here are some ways to make sure you’re teen is prepared to take on the road and to give you some peace of mind.
Make sure that you have your teen practice as much as possible while you have the chance to be in the car with them. Practice in all types of weather, that way you can be confident that your teen knows how to handle all driving conditions. Some parents have only done the minimal driving with their teens, maybe because the nerves become shot from the stress of teaching them to drive or that there’s the excuse of no time. Make time, the more prepared the teen, the less chance of preventable accidents.
Some helpful tips from kidshealth.org for when you’re just starting to teach your teen how to drive include: Use of an empty parking lot in the beginning. This will help your teen get a feel for steering, braking and accelerating, with limited chances of hitting anything. This is also a chance for them to know where the functional things are, such as:windshield wipers and windshield wash sprayer, lights, turn signals and defroster. This would be a good chance for teaching how to drive a standard as well since there is level of difficulty in driving a standard. Hopefully you can get a chance to have them drive in dry and wet surfaces, so they can get the feel for the braking and tires in the two different weather conditions.
After they have gotten the hang of the basic stopping and accelerating, take them to streets with minimal traffic and obstacles to teach them how to do visual checks, stoping and other driving techniques after they learn the basics of stopping and accelerating.
When they have gotten more comfortable with those streets, then move to streets with more traffic, so they can get the hang of changing lanes, merging into traffic, onramps and off ramps, turning right on red when permitted, defensive driving, watching out for the other drivers while maintaining proper driving technique and other more advanced driving techniques.
Next, when comfortable, make sure to take them into different driving conditions, such as; construction, rain, night time, and dusk and dawn. The more that you can teach them and be there for them when they are learning, the more prepared they will be when they are driving on their own.
When I was learning how to drive, my Dad taught me how to change my oil, change tires, check the oil, check and add windshield washer fluid and how to jump my car if the battery would die. He taught me that I need to know my car, need to know where everything is located and that I need to do that with any car I would have in the future. He made sure that I had an emergency kit in the trunk of my car with the following items; Flares Jumper cables First Aide kit Blankets Rope Flashlight Radio
In this day of age with cell phones, I think every teen driver should have a cell phone. If something would happen and they would need help, having a cell phone can help them majority of the time, they can contact help and keep you informed of what is happening and where they are.
Making sure your teen is as prepared as possible can help ease your mind and keep them safe. The more you teach them and let them practice while they are driving with you, will make them better drivers and safer drivers. Keep calm and prepare you teen to drive!
For more tips, visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/driving_lessons.html By: Tara Givens