It’s that time…you have a teen driver. Over the years, your children have come to you for help with a myriad of things. You supported your children in learning their ABCs, as well as how to pet a dog safely and tie their shoes. It all seems like child’s play compared to the most nerve-wracking lesson: teaching a teen driver.
It’s natural to be concerned about how today’s distractions in cars will influence your child’s driving ability. Providing them with the appropriate knowledge can help them in recognizing the risk. Even if you delegate the hard work to a driving school (a wise decision that might lower your insurance rates), you’ll almost certainly have to get into a car with your teenager at some time. But teaching your teen driver doesn’t have to be a super stressful experience if you remember these three rules of the road.
If you lose your cool, you’re going to create a bad experience for your child. If you’re constantly yelling and stressing out, your teen may even eventually be afraid to drive, not because they’re afraid of what’s on the roads, but who’s in the passenger seat. Don’t push your child too hard or too fast. An argument in the car can cause your teen driver to adopt aggressive driving habits.
Yes, you want to teach, and your inclination is going to be to say something, as you lurch forward and back while your teenager gets used to the brake and gas pedals. But whatever you say should be as pleasant and supportive as possible.
Not only do you want to model good driving techniques, but you also want to model safe driving behaviors. This is a formative period for your child—and a dangerous one. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than any other age group.
Be Sure to Practice
Because teaching your teenager can be stressful, you might find yourself – consciously or subconsciously – finding other tasks to complete instead, like cleaning out the garage you were ignoring for years.
The more your teenager practices, the more likely they will become a safe and responsible driver. If you plan on getting your child their own car, it is great to practice in that so they will be comfortable in the future.
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