6 Tips for Teaching Your Teen to Drive
Sending your teen out on the road for the first time can be challenging. Long before your teen takes to the road alone, however, you have the opportunity to spend many hours with them in the car and on the road. Thanks to your efforts, you can teach them how to handle a vehicle safely and improve their confidence. While teens are three times more likely to get into an accident than drivers in their twenties–and may cause more damage to the vehicles involved and to themselves out of inexperience–a teenager who receives a great driving education may be more prepared for everything that can happen on the road. These tips can help develop confident, successful teenage drivers who are able to safely navigate on the road and handle many of the challenges thrown their way. Taking these steps now can prevent you from needing a law firm like Gina Corena & Associates to help you after an accident.
Tip #1: Document what conditions you drive in with your teen.
Depending on when your teen gets his/her learner’s permit and how long he/she holds it before going after his/her license, you may have a limited number of weather conditions in which he/she gets to drive. Carefully document those weather conditions so that you have a solid understanding of when your teen has driven and under what conditions. You may want to consider if he/she has:
- Driven in the dark
- Driven at dusk
- Driven on wet roads
- Driven on snow/ice
If your teen doesn’t have the opportunity to navigate all of those conditions before testing for an official driver’s license, take your teen out in those conditions a few times when they do occur. Learning how to drive in those conditions safely now can prove invaluable later on, when your teen is out on the road alone.
Tip #2: Leave plenty of time for your teen to practice.
Learning how to drive takes time. For some teens, it’s an intuitive skill: they jump behind the wheel for the first time and quickly adapt their existing skills to handle the challenges on the road.
Others take a little longer to get the hang of it.
Give your teen plenty of time to practice on the road. Starting out in an empty parking lot will allow your teen more room to maneuver–and potentially make a few mistakes–while still learning how to safely operate a motor vehicle. Gradually increase the difficulty of roads your teen drives on until you feel confident that your teen can handle major highways and peak traffic times.
Tip #3: Recruit help.
You do not want to have to teach your teenager how to drive alone—not just because teaching a teen how to drive can prove stressful, but because different teachers may approach the driving process from different angles. One experienced driver might have different tips or strategies that serve your teen well on the road, while another provides clear advice that helps him learn how to drive the car for the first time. Ask your spouse to take on at least part of the responsibility of teaching your teen to drive, or recruit a trusted friend or other loved one to help make those lessons reality. Your teen will have a better foundation for learning how to drive when you share that teaching responsibility.
Tip #4: Model safe driving practices.
When your teen has his/her permit in hand for the first time, he/she may suddenly start paying more attention than ever to your driving habits and behaviors. Hopefully, you started modeling safe driving a long time ago. If you did not, however, now is the perfect time to start. Show your teen how to make safe decisions on the road, from maintaining a reasonable speed limit to ignoring your cell phone and other devices while on the road. Explain some of the choices you make: why you come to a full stop when going through a stop sign even when you see no other cars around, for example. Your teen has likely absorbed many of your driving behaviors and practices already, but will likely acquire more now that she has her permit.
Tip #5: Practice responding to dangerous scenarios.
As your teen drives, ask questions like, “What would you do if the car in front of you slammed on its brakes suddenly?” “What would you do if that car over there suddenly pulled out in front of you?” “How would you respond if that car suddenly swerved into your lane?” Defensive driving means thinking critically and knowing how to respond. Teach your teen to prepare for potentially dangerous scenarios on the road. Always keep in mind that it’s impossible to predict other drivers perfectly, and have a plan in place for how to respond.
Tip #6: Bring in professionals when needed.
Professional drivers education courses can often offer help for teens who struggle to learn how to drive. While any teen driver can benefit from a drivers education course, teens who are struggling to learn how to drive from their parents may benefit even more. You may need a professional drivers ed teacher if:
- You want to save money on your auto insurance. Many insurance companies offer a discount for teens who have taken drivers education courses.
- Your teen doesn’t seem to “get it.” After multiple hours behind the wheel, you still feel that your teen isn’t safe on the road.
- Your teen is fearful and lacks confidence even in good road conditions.
- Your teen is struggling to learn specific, needed driving practices. It’s one thing to struggle to learn how to parallel park. It’s another thing entirely to struggle to learn how to navigate a standard parking lot or how to behave in intersections.
- You and your teen just aren’t a good “fit” when it comes to teaching them how to drive.
Teaching your teen to drive can prove stressful, but you can remove some of that stress by going in prepared. With these tips, you can make it easier to help your teen learn to drive safely. If your teen does get into an accident, especially an accident that is another driver’s fault, you may need legal assistance to protect your teen and their rights. Contact Gina Corena & Associates at (702) 680-1111 to learn more about the help we can offer after a serious car accident.