Teaching your teen to drive is a big milestone for the whole family. However, when it comes to playing the part of a teacher, you may not know where to start. Thankfully, there are some great tips that can help you teach your teen all of the important things that they need to know about being a safe driver.
1. Emphasize Safety Before They Get Behind the Wheel
Annually, there are over 1.25 million people who are killed in car accidents and 20 to 50 million who sustain injuries or become permanently disabled. These statistics aren’t something you can overlook. Before your teen gets behind the wheel, make sure they know the full extent of their responsibility. Not only are they responsible for their lives while driving, but the lives of their passengers and nearby drivers. Because of this, they should know never to text and drive, drive under the influence, or allow any other distractions to interfere when they’re behind the wheel.
2. Teach Them About The Vehicle
To understand how to handle the vehicle they will be driving, they should be aware of how to keep it up. A car that is not regularly maintained can be a hazard in and of itself. Make sure that your teen knows the importance of checking fluids, cleaning the car, setting the mirrors, and that they understand what all of the dashboard warning lights mean.
Teens should also know where to go if they need an oil change or any maintenance done. You should also be aware that when it comes to teen drivers, dents can and will happen at some point. However, most dent repair isn’t costly, and depending on the size and amount, the cost is usually under $100. If your teenager has a job, you can also talk to them about the importance of saving up in case they need repairs like that.
3. Parking Safely
Most people will spend up to 17 hours a year looking for parking spaces, and this can be especially tedious if you don’t trust your parking skills. Teens and even some adults have trouble with parking, particularly parallel parking. Even if your family has a car with a self-parking feature, you should still teach your teen the basics of parking. It will be tested during their driving exam after all.
Find a safe place in either an empty parking lot or on a slow street near your home and have them try parking. Practice makes perfect and having first-hand experience is invaluable.
4. Driving in Different Conditions
Another thing that you should teach your teen is how to drive safely in a variety of conditions, including snow, rain, and on busy streets and highways.
Preferably, when it comes to inclement weather, you should find a deserted parking lot and have them test their driving skills there. This will eliminate the risk of them colliding with something or getting into an accident if they panic. Similarly, you should try to take them out on a highway or freeway during the hours when traffic is at its lowest. This can help them learn valuable skills like merging, changing lanes, and using cruise control (if your car has it).
5. Emergency Skills
When teaching your teens, you should also show them what they need to do in the event of an emergency. For instance, teach your teen how to safely change a tire in the event that they get a flat. You should also make sure that they have all the necessary emergency contact numbers on their phones. Keeping a first aid kit in the car is also recommended. While hopefully, they will never have to use these skills, they can be invaluable if the need does arise.
Setting Your Teen Up For Success
When it comes to teaching your family how to drive, these tips are an important starting point. By teaching your kids these essential skills, you can help them become safer and more confident drivers once they start driving on their own. It can also give you peace of mind that your teen is going to be safe.