How to Teach Kids About Safe Driving at a Young Age

Have you ever experienced a backseat driver? My seven-year-old loves to tell his daddy and me how he thinks we ought to be driving. Whether we're stuck in traffic, sitting at a red light, or just waiting our turn to safely turn across an intersection, his motto is always 'Go, go, go!'. It's not always possible or safe to 'go, go,' go,' so we do our best to explain why we can't do that in the present situation, which usually frustrates our young son. 

We don't expect our son to know everything there is to know about safe driving at such a young age, but we also don't shy away from teaching him the rules of the road. Raising a safe driver means starting to explain what a big responsibility driving is, even at a young age.

Start when they're little...

You can put early safe driving lessons into place before kids even realize they're being taught something that'll be important down the road. When you get into the car, talk about the things you're doing, like locking the doors and checking to make sure seatbelts are on. When you reach a stop sign or stoplight, start with 'red means stop,' and talk about the stop sign... even if your child is rear-facing and can't see it. 

You can also talk about the other colors on a traffic light and what they mean. Continue the lesson at home by playing Red Light, Green Light, the fun children's game that has them stopping, going, and walking slowly until they reach the goal line.

Kids are more observant than you think!

Don't discount that kids are observant. They're really more astute than adults are sometimes! Don't hesitate to teach your kids about the workings of your car. It's important for them to understand why there are child safety locks on doors, why they have to sit in car seats, the importance of wearing seatbelts, etc.

Safety matters.

When I was growing up, my mother and grandmother were the ones I spent the most time within the car. After my grandmother bought a new car, I distinctly remember her having conversations about ways we could help keep the car clean, and ways we could help make sure that she was always driving safely. My sister and I agreed never to yell or shout in the car, as it might startle the driver and cause us to have an accident. 

Involve your kids in everyday conversations about safe driving. I like to talk to my son about the things that pop up while we're on the road together, like why we have to stop for school buses, or why we can't always pass slower cars. Simply by putting these safe driving practice rules into his head at a young age, he'll have a head start when he's ready to start taking Driver's Ed and eventually take the wheel himself.

What are some of the ways you're teaching your own kids about safe driving?

Brought to you by Central Ave Nissan.

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