The moment to drive has arrived.
You blinked, and your baby grew up into this sloth-like teenager sitting in the drivers’ seat next to you. You spent most of your life protecting them, and now your life in their hands for the first time ever. How do you handle yourself while teaching your teen to drive? We’ve come up with some tips for parents getting into the passenger seat with a teenage driver.
1. Make sure they have their permit
Teenagers can obtain a drivers permit by taking a multiple choice driving test, and passing a drug and alcohol education test. It may also help to get your teen driver a manual to help him or her study before their official drivers’ test.
2. Allow your teen to observe you driving first
Create scenarios in which you can demonstrate the three-point turn, parallel parking, parking uphill, and downhill, parking in a parking lot or on the driveway, turning at an intersection, and by demonstrating a U-turn. Teach them how to use their turning signals, how to turn on headlights and the wiper blades. Then be sure to answer any questions they may have.
3. Study with your teen
Using practice tests, quiz your teen on road signs and road rules. The more studying teens do, the more confident they will be behind the wheel.
4. Allow your teen to drive around the neighborhood first
A teen will have more confidence while driving in a familiar area. Allow them to back out of the driveway for their first time, and take a slow spin around the block. They can practice using turn signals and stopping safely. Some people drive better with music, so be open to the idea, but also be sure to keep the music down low so that they can hear you at all times.
5. Remain calm and talk to them, not at them
Your teen’s anxiety will peak when you start to flinch or yell. So try your best to remain calm in the passenger’s seat. Try to give them positive feedback and reassurance that they are doing well. Try giving them instructions ahead of time. They are listening to you and will likely ask many questions about every move they make.
6. Driving through night hours, rain, and snow
It’s important that your teen learns how to drive through multiple weather conditions. Try to take your teen out for a drive in the rain and/or snow. Teach them to become a defensive driver and how to handle adverse weather conditions. Did we mention that it’s important to stay calm?
7. Allow them to drive further and further
Once you feel comfortable with their driving, take a risk and test their driving out on the main road with other drivers. This will allow them to drive longer distances with obstacles. They will learn how to react to other drivers and use the road rules and signs. Practice parking in shopping plazas and allow them to pull up to a gas pump for their first time. Let them pay for gas and let them experience the entire gas station process.
This all that you can do to prepare your teen for the drive ahead. Remember to stay calm and collected, it plays a major factor in driver education. Good luck!
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