Teens on the road: parental advice on teaching the kids how to drive

photo by CC user statefarm on Flickr

Oh my… it’s the moment most parents dread the most: the day their teenager has a permit to drive on the road. I’m sure the very thought of this has some of your hair turning gray, but teaching the kids how to drive doesn’t have to be so stressful. If your teen is going to be driving soon, chances are you’re going to be the lovely instructor behind the wheel. Aside from saying a prayer before you get in the car, here are some tips to ensure that they learn to drive defensively and safe while on the road:

Get Insurance Coverage

Before your teen ever gets behind the wheel of your car you need to make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage. Some policies may require you to add them as a driver so that your insurance kicks in should an accident occur. While this could make your premium go up, it’s much better than the cost of paying for an accident that wasn’t covered.

High Risk Drivers: If you’re a high-risk driver yourself and require an SR22 form to be filed on your behalf, you may be concerned about the costs. The good thing is that there are affordable insurance rates for both you and your teen. Simply search for SR22 insurance quotes online to see how much you can save.

Before the First Lesson

Once you’ve made sure that your teenager is properly insured you’re ready to start your first driving lesson. Prior to each class it is a good idea to do some of the following:

Determine where you’re going to go – Quiet streets or vacant parking lots are best in the beginning as you want your teen to get familiar with the mechanics of the car.

Break the lessons up – In other words, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t very well expect to teach your teen everything there is to know about driving in one lesson. So determine what you will learn first. Maybe you do turning one day and then parking another day.

Take a deep breath (or two) – It may be scary being in the passenger seat as your teen is in control of the car, but it is very important that you remain calm. Take a few deep breaths and remember no quick movements or loud screaming while they’re driving as this could cause an accident.

On the Road

Once your teen is in the driver seat and has properly checked the mirrors and buckled up for safety you’re ready to hit the road. Hold on tight and keep these tips in mind as you travel:

·  Give advance warning – Let your kid know ahead of time what you want them to do so they don’t have to react last minute.

·  Keep talking to a minimum – The fewer distractions there are the better

·  Explain mistakes as they happen – Should your teen make a mistake, ask them to pull over and address the matter right then.

·  Keep an eye out for impending danger – Accidents, road blocks, and other potential hazards are bound to turn up. Since your teen is not yet skilled enough to pay attention to these things, it will be up to you to pay attention.

·  Stick to the book – We all have a way of driving that may or may not be “by the book”. However, if you want your teen to pass the test, it is important to put your ego aside and teach them as it was instructed in the driving manual. If it’s been a while since you’ve read the book you may want to download a copy or pick one up from your local DMV.

After the Lesson

Once you’ve made it safely back home, thank your lucky stars and then have a conversation with your teen. Go over the lesson, explain any mistakes they made, and of course talk about the things that they did right to boost their confidence. Also, make sure that you ask for their input. Were they comfortable? Are there things they want to try again? This lets you know how well they’re progressing.

Momma doesn’t want to think about her little baby growing up, but it’s happening right before your eyes. If you’re going to be teaching your teen how to drive, these tips will ensure that you two remain safe behind the wheel. Don’t stress so much over the crazy things they do and simply try to make it a bonding experience that you can look back on for years to come.

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