4 Tips for Teaching Teenagers How to Drive
1. Know Where You’re Going
After a few practice sessions in a parking lot, your teen driver is ready to take the car for a spin on an actual road. Before you let your teen driver turn the key in the ignition, advise him to look at a map and figure out the best way to reach his destination. This is a good opportunity to share advice on how to choose routes based on traffic flow, time of day, and other considerations.
As you prepare to leave, tell the teen it’s easy to make mistakes, potentially dangerous ones, when drivers fail to map out their route ahead of time. This advance planning allows teens to anticipate turns and change lanes or make other adjustments as necessary to get where they’re going safely.
2. Be a Good Passenger
Don’t engage in too much chitchat while the teen is driving. Dish out advice before you have a training session. Offer the majority of your feedback after you arrive at your destination. Anyone teaching a teen to drive has likely emphasized the importance of avoiding distracted driving. Follow your own advice and don’t become a distraction by talking too much while a teen is behind the wheel. At the same time, be willing to speak up if you see the teen driver is about to encounter any kind of danger.
3. Keep Your Cool
It’s easy to get upset when a teen driver makes a mistake. However, it’s important to remember that negativity often causes other people to stop listening. Speak from a place of empathy and tell the teen driver about a time when you made a similar mistake. It’s an opportunity to provide encouragement and share the wisdom you’ve gained from your errors on the road. If you sense the situation is becoming tense or stressful, ask your teen to pull over so you can both calm down. Remind the teen driver that it’s never a good idea to be behind the wheel when you’re upset or angry.
4. Set an Excellent Example
When teens are learning to drive, they become more aware of the behaviors of drivers with whom they ride. That means you need to set an example of what it means to drive without distractions. It also means you should stay calm when you’re headed down the road, keeping your frustrations and anger in check. You should model the driving habits you want your teenagers to develop as a new driver.
Teaching a teenager to drive is exciting because you immediately see the results of your instruction. Just remember to be supportive and always prioritize safety.
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