Learning to drive can be scary for both the new driver and their parent! Make this life event fun and safe by following the advice below.
Your child probably didn't learn to walk or learn how to ride a bike in just one day. Driving is the same way. Regular practice will help your child improve their skills and gain confidence in their abilities. Be available for practice sessions whenever possible. The more time you spend now, the less worry you'll have once your child has their license!
While it may be tempting to only practice on clear, sunny days, your child needs time to practice in all kinds of conditions. You may be able to choose when to practice, but your new driver won't always be able to choose the conditions they drive in. Don't avoid practicing just because of a little rain, sleet, or snow. If you live in a cold climate, your child will lose whatever skills they've gained while waiting for a thaw, and they won't be prepared for typical conditions when they're driving on their own.
Relax! Most teenagers are excited about learning to drive, but actually getting behind the wheel can be scary for them too. A little caution is good at first, but if you're obviously freaked out, your child won't feel comfortable behind the wheel. Pay attention and give advice when necessary, but try to avoid clinging to your seat and slamming on the imaginary brake!
Before hitting the road, take your child to an empty parking lot. Some schools have a driver's education lot designed for driving instruction, and these lots will be empty on the weekends. Even if there isn't a driver's ed lot available, school parking lots can be a good place to practice when school's out. Look for an empty parking lot that isn't abandoned. A closed business's parking lot may seem like a great idea, but the asphalt won't be well maintained and there may be other hazards like broken glass.
Once your child has mastered the basics, try neighborhood roads. Lower speed limits and low traffic will help your new driver practice the rules of the road in the safest way possible.
Gradually work your way up to busy roads. Allow your child to drive you to the store or on other errands to help them practice regular driving. Once you both feel confident, take a brief trip on a highway. For the first drive on the highway, choose a time that isn't normally busy and only travel to the next exit or two. This will help your child get used to merging on, traveling at highway speeds, and exiting. Go a little bit further each time, but wait until your child feels confident with their skills before taking a longer trip.
Most teenagers are excited about getting behind the wheel, but very few are interested in studying the rules of the road. Stress the importance of knowing traffic laws and regulations and take time to go over them with your child. Remind them that there's more to earning a driver's license than just operating a car. To earn their learner's permit and license your teenager will most likely need to take a written test. Make sure they're prepared!
Many parents worry about their teenaged drivers. By following the steps in this article, the only thing you'll need to worry about is getting a chance to use the car!