Virtually every teenager looks forward to the day they begin to learn to drive with happy anticipation, and virtually every parent looks forward to that day with trepidation. Parents may focus their fear on different things such as the safety of their child or the increase in the cost of car insurance. Many parents find that a generous slice of their concern relates to something more internal; their ability to teach their child to drive. If you are a parent facing this experience for the first time, keep these tips in mind:
Stay Calm and Positive
There is nothing worse than a panicking parent yelling at a panicking teen driver; that just insures the situation will get worse. To avoid those dangerous situations, give instructions well in advance, and phrase them with the location first and the directions last. Using the phrase “bring the car to a halt” instead of “stop” will help your child know there is no need to jam on the brakes. Always use “correct” instead of “right” to avoid confusion when answering questions. Instead of “Stay in your lane!” try asking a question such as “What lane do you want to be in?” This helps new drivers learn the process of constantly being aware of what they are doing and what is going on around them that is required of good drivers. Always give praise when it is deserved.
First Things First
It is important that new drivers learn the simple steps of driving first, and master those one at a time before moving on to more difficult things. Help your teen develop good habits before they ever turn the ignition on by teaching them to adjust the seat, mirrors and steering wheel, as well as familiarizing themselves with the location of the headlights switch, turn signal and wiper controls. Start actual driving lessons in an empty parking lot so they will be comfortable with how to control the vehicle before they have to also deal with traffic. Encourage them to stomp on the brakes in a safe location so they'll be accustomed to the odd pulsing feel of anti-lock brakes before they are needed in an emergency situation.
Still don't feel confident that you are up to the job? Consider a professional driving school like North Shore Driving School Ltd. for your teen. Instructors at driving schools are experts in teaching defensive driving techniques, and insurance companies know it works and often offer lower rates for those who have taken driving lessons from a qualified instructor. Another possibility is a high performance or racing driving school. These classes are a lot of fun, and also teach essential techniques such as skid control and recovery in a safe environment.
Whatever you choose, enjoy this special time with your child. It is one of the last major milestones of childhood before they are out on their own as adults.