Tips for Teaching Your Teen To Drive

6Your teenager may be extremely excited to start learning how to drive. You, on the other hand, are likely filled with trepidation. Since you will be playing a big role in your teen’s driving education, you should know how to go about informing your child about the road. Here are some ways to get started on the right foot.

Begin With a Tour of the Vehicle

You want your teen to understand every aspect of the car he or she will be learning in. Begin by showing how the seat and mirrors can be adjusted so that your new driver can alter them as necessary to be comfortable. Next, you want to go over all of the controls, even if they seem self-explanatory. Make sure to cover all of these:

  • Gas and brake pedals
  • The engine starter
  • Emergency lights
  • Windshield wiper
  • Headlights and turn signals
  • Dashboard controls
  • Warning lights

You also want to talk to your child about the vehicle's registration and insurance. These items should always be kept in the glove compartment.

Start Safe

A teenager’s first experience driving should not be on an actual road. Instead, find an empty parking lot and practice there. This will give your child a chance to simply try out applying the gas and brakes. The student can also get a chance to practice parking. When you are demonstrating how to park, it is good to start in a parking lot with no other cars so that you do not have to worry about accidentally hitting something.

Move Up to Low-Speed Areas

After you have had a few lessons in a parking lot, your teen is ready to hit the streets. However, you do not want to go on a freeway right away. Start with city streets, preferably ones with a speed limit no higher than 35 mph. This will allow your teen to learn how much distance is needed to come to a complete halt at a stop sign. This is also a good time to talk to your child about keeping an eye on any pedestrians and driving with more caution when it is raining.

Implement Lessons

Once your teen has the basics down, you can customize each driving excursion to involve a new lesson. For instance, you should find an intersection in your city that has a yield sign, so your kid can learn about right of way. Sometimes your teen will get an unexpected lesson. For example, while you are driving, an emergency vehicle may come down the street with the sirens blaring. Use this as an opportunity to inform your teen how to safely pull to the side of the road until the vehicle passes.

Get on the Highway

After your teen has gotten plenty of experience, you are ready to venture out onto a highway. The first time you do this, try to pick a time of day the highway will be less crowded. You do not want your child’s first experience driving on a high-speed road to be during rush hour. Since the lanes will be less crowded, this is a great opportunity to show your student how to merge into other lanes, get up to 65 mph and check for blind spots. As your teen is driving, make sure he or she keeps plenty of distance between your car and the vehicle directly ahead. Tailgating should be avoided at all costs. 

Make Whatever Rules You See Fit

Once your teen gets a driver’s license does not mean he or she can do anything. Make whatever rules you think are appropriate. This can include designating times when your teenager can take the car and where your child is allowed to drive to.

Learning to drive gives your teen more freedom, but you are still in charge. With your guidance and regular lessons, your kid will learn to be safe and capable on the road.