Ready to teach your teen to drive? Yeah, no one really is. You are about to embark on an anxious quest.
Don't sweat it; a lot of people have been in your shoes, and a lot have had no idea what to do, either.
Teaching your teen to drive takes remarkable patience and adherence to rules you might not have followed for some time -- speed limit, low music volume, proper turn signals, etc.
With these things in mind, these are the areas you want to focus on when educating your child on the rules of the road.
Set a Good Example
It's all well and good to lay down the law about obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions, and focusing solely on the road. However, if you have a habit of air drumming while driving 80 miles per hour, those lessons won't gel.
Teens mimic behavior more than they do your words, so be sure both align.
Teen drivers don't possess the situational awareness due to a lack of experience. Because of this, loud music, passengers, and phone alerts can hold more of their attention, lessening their reaction times in traffic. And this makes them higher risks for accidents, so it's important to limit their distractions by enforcing these rules.
Have them place their muted phone face down in the console. This reduces their temptation to peak at the screen
Prevent them from having other passengers in the car when they are first earning their road chops.
Reduce the music volume in the vehicle--many newer vehicles come with parental controls where you can set limits on volume
Shape Experiences Around Them
Driving around neighborhoods is a good place to begin, but you'll also want to account for where your teen will drive when you are not in the vehicle.
This can include school, friend(s) houses, work, and/or church. Ride with them the first few times so they are comfortable and become acclimated to doing these routes.
Another aspect of the experience is the weather. Since weather changes in a blink of an eye, it's important they are ready for all contingencies.
To do this, find an empty parking lot when it's raining or snowing and have them practice basic maneuvers such as braking and turning.
What this does is helps them gain a feel for the vehicle when this happens, and it provides them with experience so they can confidently master the road with time.
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