It’s a coming-of-age milestone. Time for you to start teaching your teen how to drive. It’s an anxious time for both you and them. However, the process can be made a little easier with some well thought out steps that help to teach your teen driver successfully.
First, start out simple by practicing in an empty parking lot. Try to pick something big to give your teen more space to maneuver. Also, pick a time when there won’t be much traffic or cars driving into the lot. Start with basics like finding the gas and brake pedals. Practice with your teen driving straight, backing up, and turning. If you drive a standard, then gear shifting maybe included in the first few lessons. Keep initial lessons short, 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient for beginners.
Patience is the key in these first weeks or months. As your teen starts to pick up basic skills proficiently, then you can start moving on to more advanced driving lessons like parking and starting to take them around your neighborhood streets. When your teen gets to the point where they start driving on streets, start them on low-speed, low-traffic areas. Place some kind of sign in the back window that signals a student driver is at the wheel. Of course, avoid taking your teen out to drive in any bad weather situation or on roads in bad condition. For more advanced student drivers, you can increase the lesson time to 30 or 40 minutes, depending on the comfort of your teen.
For the best experience for you and your teen, plan ahead which roads you both will take. Tell your teen in advance what you are planning. This includes all turns and stops before your teen makes them on the road. Keep distractions away from your teen during a lesson by keeping unnecessary talking to a minimum. No iPods and no cell phones on during the lesson.
If your teen makes mistakes, have them pull off to the side of the road at the first safe moment and explain calmly what they did wrong and the correct maneuver to make. If you see your teen start to get afraid or overly anxious, end the lesson for the day. Take over the wheel for them and drive home.
Of all the aspects of teaching teens to drive, freeway driving can cause much anxiety for both you and your teen. When he/she is ready to start learning the freeway, pick a day/time with little to no traffic. Practice merging, lane changing, and driving in faster lanes.
In addition to your individualized driving instruction, you should also use a trusted and licensed driving school to reinforce good driving practices and to teach your teen information needed to pass the state’s written driving test. Also, your teen’s school may have a driver’s education course that can help you.
We hope these tips will help the process of teaching your teen to drive. For more information, click here.
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