Best Practices for Teaching Your Teen to Drive


If you're a parent, you certainly know that there are so many ups and downs, and joys that come along with raising children. It's your responsibility to keep your child safe, to provide for them, and to teach them life-long skills and important life lessons. When kids are little, they love to emulate what their parents are doing, and driving is something they pick up on at a very early age. Babies love to make 'beep beep' sounds, and toddlers enjoy pretending to drive, just like mom or dad.


The years pass by far too quickly, however, and before parents know it, their babies are teenagers, asking to be signed up for Driver's Ed, or studying to take their driver's license test. While this can be an emotional time for parents, it's best to take a little time to reflect and think back their own teenage years when they were learning to drive. This can help put the situation and journey ahead into perspective before mom or dad becomes hyper, bossy, afraid, etc.

Teaching a teen to drive can be a challenge, and while a good part of that takes place in a classroom or on the road with a private instructor, there's also a good amount of teaching responsibility that falls to the parents or guardians of the child. Knowing what to expect before you get into the car together, with your child at the wheel can help everyone feel more relaxed and make room for a more pleasant experience on all fronts.

Do yourself a favor and brush up on current laws. This will help keep you and your teen driver on the same page. You'll know what they're learning about with their instructor, and you can easily piggyback on that and reemphasize rules and laws when you're with them one on one.

Keep distractions at bay. When you're in the passenger seat, keep the stereo turned off, smartphones out of reach, and remove anything from the dash or front consoles that might cause a distraction to your young driver. The goal is to help them stay focused so they can learn how to devote their full attention to keeping their eyes on the road.

Start with the basics. You might get a few eye rolls from your teen, but it's always important to start out with the basics before starting up the car for a driving lesson. Check that your seatbelts are on, there are no emergency lights on the dash, mirrors and seats are properly adjusted, and that your driver is comfortable, but not too comfortable.

From there, ease into simple driving. An empty parking lot is a great and safe place to practice. It's even a good idea to practice how to drive in a parking lot (as many seem to forget), practice parking, backing into a space, etc. Other good things to practice are parallel parking, 3-point-turns, and what to do in an emergency situation.

Schedule weekly practice sessions with your teen while they're going through their private instruction. They'll get even more of an opportunity to practice with you once they have a learner's permit. If you have questions, just reach out to your child's driving instructor so you can receive helpful answers that will help not only your child but you, as well.

This is such a special time in a teen's life. Being prepared and entering into the situation with positivity can help parents and kids have a wonderful experience, and lead to excellent young drivers.



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