Teen Driving Tips
It can be hectic and scary when your teenager is learning to drive, or has already passed their test and received their license to be out on the road. You can make it more enjoyable and reduce stress by following a few driving tips that can help your child be a better driver.
Start Driver’s Education Early
Even though the limit for a teenager to drive is 16 in most states, you can start teaching your child earlier than that yourself. While they cannot legally drive the vehicle themselves, of course, you can start by showing them what you know as you are driving yourself. Set a good example and explain the importance of safety behind the wheel, such as keeping a good distance between you and the car in front of you, the use of turn signal’s and obeying traffic laws. Explain what situational awareness is to your teen. This is the act of being aware of not only what you are doing, but what the cars are doing around you, as well. When your teen is old enough to take a class, enroll them in a driver’s education course. They will learn valuable driving lessons, and you may also enjoy a discount on your car insurance if they have taken this class.
When your teenager does receive his permit, go slow. Start off by taking them to a large, empty parking lot to get used to the feel of driving. Teach them in a vehicle that is automatic, and not a stick-shift, as learning to drive a manual vehicle demands a whole other set of skills. Let them operate the car around the parking lot, showing them how to slowly stop the vehicle, how to turn slowly, the use of all the signals, and how to park. You can also take this time to teach the basics of parallel parking.
Once your child is somewhat comfortable behind the wheel, slowly take them out into the back roads of your town. Again, go early or late to miss traffic.
Unfortunately, the best teen driver on the road can fall short when it comes to emergency situations. This includes driving on ice, panic braking and skidding. These situations are accidents just waiting to happen, even for adults who have been driving for years, so it is important that your teen learn how to react when it happens. Look for a driving course where these skills are also taught. Speak to your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find classes near you. If you cannot find one, make sure to include these types of situations in with your training. You can take your teenager out on a snowy, icy day, again to a deserted parking lot, and have them drive in these conditions. Have them brake hard so they can feel how the car skids, so they have a better understanding of what will happen out on the road around other cars. Explain what hydroplaning is to them, and advise them the best times to just pull off the road and wait for a storm to subside.
Of course, we all know not to drink and drive. Drinking and driving for a new driver can be so much more dangerous, as they are just getting started on the road. There should be zero tolerance for dangerous and irresponsible driving from your teen, and parents need to follow through on their threats. Explain that there will be no drinking and driving, as well as no use of drugs before driving. Even the use of an over-the-counter medicine can cause reaction time to become slow, so make sure you know what medicines your teen is taking before getting behind the wheel. Another tip for good behavior behind the wheel of the car is to make your child pay for his or her own insurance. Nothing prompts the good behavior of a child who has to spend their own money on their insurance, as they will certainly almost drive more carefully to avoid any accidents or tickets. If any tickets are received, the child should pay for them on his own, as well as have his driving privileges revoked for a certain amount of time.