While every teenager is busy counting down the days until they can get behind the wheel of a car, every parent is busy worrying about their child’s safety. It is completely normal to be nervous about teaching your teen to drive, but it is important to put your fears aside so that you can do your best to instill good driving practices. Here are PermaPlate’s top five tips to help ensure a positive driving experience for you and your child.
Discuss the Drive Ahead of Time
Before heading out on the road with your teen, we recommend deciding on a route ahead of time and discussing what skills you would like to focus on. Working on parallel parking? Choose quiet side streets with curbs. Practicing left turns? Start with an area that’s not too busy and slowly work up to those loud, congested roads.
Keep Your Cool
Even though it may be hard, remember to keep your cool while you are out on the road. Learning to drive is stressful enough as it is, add a shouting parent to the mix and it is easy for your child to get discouraged. Pay close attention to the road as your teen drives, giving them advanced notice for turns and lights that have just changed.
Also, instead of talking as you drive, have your child pull over to discuss mistakes or miscommunications. Instead of talking down to your teen, try to maintain a calm, positive tone. As much as kids hate to hear those “when I was your age stories”, this is a great time to pull one out. Share your most embarrassing driving story with your teen and remind them that driving is a skill that improves with time and lots of practice.
Review the Session
After you get home, talk to your teen about the session, complimenting on improvements they have made and noting things that you would like to continue to work on with them. Don’t forget to ask your child their opinion, discussing what skills they aren’t yet comfortable with and how they would like to work to improve them. If your teen wants to spend an hour making three point turns over and over again, let them! Driving is all about confidence and if this activity will help them feel more prepared for the road ahead, then sit in the passenger’s seat and provide all the support you can.
Lead By Example
Now that your teen is learning what to and what not to do on the road, it is more important than ever to follow the rules of the road when you are behind the wheel. Sure, some drivers may feel comfortable speeding or even hitting the gas when they see a yellow light, but you wouldn’t want your child picking up on these traits while they are learning! Stay on your best driving behavior to help your child stay on theirs, and remember to talk about the importance of putting away your cell phone before getting behind the wheel.
Consider Drivers Education Classes
Whether you are having a hard time teaching your child or just want to ensure they are learning the rules of the road the right way, drivers education classes are a great way to improve your teen’s driving skills. Not only are the instructors trained to prepare teens for their road test, but they are also a stranger, and having someone who isn’t you tell your teen what to do can always help them to listen.
Teaching your teen to drive can be tough, both on your emotions and your vehicle – which is where PermaPlate comes in. Our automotive protection products can keep your car looking like new, even when facing a first-time driver.