Assisting your teen on how to drive: A Parents Guide
Getting behind the wheel for the first time can either be very exciting and or nerve-racking for your teen. This all starts from what they have seen or experienced on the road while growing up. Teaching your teen to be a safe and considerate driver can make the difference between life and death. This is not an easy task but it`s important enough to focus on when it comes to your child’s safety.
Now the question is what can you as a parent do to help your teen learn to be safer drivers?
1. Lead by example
We need to realize that our children will in most cases model exactly what we do and that goes for something as simple as driving your car. If we have a tendency to weave through traffic, talk on our cell phones or being impatient you should not expect anything less from your teen. While your teen is still in the learning stages of driving they might not be as comfortable behind the wheel, but eventually they will get comfortable and that is usually the most dangerous time. Show them how to be alert and handle different traffic situations no matter what stage they are at. So, be the example you want your teens to follow.
2. You need to start slow
Assisting your teen on how to drive can also be nerve-racking for you and your lack of patients or inability may have a huge affect on your teen’s performance and confidence. Start in a quite parking area explaining how each pedal and control works. You cannot use any machine or tool without knowing how it works firstly. This area will be good for “stop and go”. Take each action in stages and give gentle, constructive critiques of their driving. Avoid shouting and freaking out on your teen. This will without a doubt only worsen the situation.
3. Take the next step with great caution
Start doing small trips on the public road close to home or area they are familiar with. Residential areas work best with a lot of stops-and-go and turns and MINIMUM TRAFFIC FLOW. This will give them the confidence to use higher gears by going a little faster eg. 30km/h. TIP: Instead of doing example 3 hours at a time once in 2 weeks, rather focus on doing this 30min each day. You will see a massive improvement by focusing for a short while more regularly.
4. Prepare your teen for bigger challenges
Before moving in to more difficult areas like traffic circles and traffic lights make sure your teen understands how each area works and how they need to approach and handle it. It is best if you actually demonstrate for them before giving them the chance to try it out. Always keep a copy of the road rules and signs in the vehicle to study with your teen during these sessions. Practice doing safe lane changes using the mirrors and blindspots, moving off on an incline and all general rules like speed limits and following distances. If you are uncertain about any of these rules and procedures, please contact a driving school to assist you briefly.
5. Set realistic goals
Lastly be sure to set realistic goals and expectations for your teen. Don’t go to the next level if they aren’t ready. Just like anything in life, they will most probable fail a few times as long as they keep failing forward. Encourage them continuously and praise them when they succeed. You as the parent are responsible and will ultimately be the person who determines the outcome for your teen.
Final note: Please don`t forget about having some fun during this process. It`s already a extremely stressful situation for both you and your teen, so try to bring in a little humor to relax the atmosphere. Tell the rest of the family what a great job your teen did on their first lesson and see how they blossom.
And remember: never stop learning!
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