You may remember your parents giving you driving lessons. Typically, one was always much better at it than the other. The one which was calmer, explained road rules clearer and didn’t make you want to give up driving altogether.
Learning to drive is a major milestone for most teens – and a major headache for parents! Developing some good habits now can turn an unpredictable teen into a good long-term driver with good long-term habits.
Lead by example
So often when adults first get in a car, they do everything but drive. Fiddling with the air conditioning, changing the music or looking in the mirror. Focus on the task at hand.
Remember, if you try to beat the lights, check text messages or follow too close to other cars, your teen will think this is the norm.
Ask them questions
Instead of abrupt responses, ask them questions like “what’s behind you?” “what’s your speed right now?”
Get them thinking about things they need to check and be constantly aware of while driving. You won’t always be there to think for them.
Create the right environment
When you are just starting with lessons, find a large quiet carpark or quiet street so your teen can ‘get the hang of things’ without having to deal with other distractions. It’s important to introduce them to real life traffic eventually (entering and exiting motorways, driving in the rain), but for now, it’s baby steps.
Pick a time when both of you aren’t overly tired or due to be somewhere else. Turn off phones and make sure your teen has been fed.
If emotions are running high – stop. Gather yourself and head home. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Consider proper driving lessons
It’s amazing how a few one-on-one driving lessons with an instructor can improve their driving. It takes away that emotional connection you have with your teen and they can also feel more comfortable about asking basic questions.
Driving with a trained instructor can be the perfect opportunity for him/her to venture into high-stress driving conditions such as motorways, peak-hour traffic and wet roads.
What tips do you have parents of teenage drivers? What hasn’t worked for you? Share your tips and tricks on how to prepare and build their driving skills.
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