by Jackie Edwards
If you’re a parent and your teen is turning 16, you know that sooner or later, you’ll have to teach your child to drive. According to data,
most parents in the US spend 40 hours or more supervising their child as they practice their driving skills in preparation for getting a license. While most parents teach their children the basics such as parking, making turns, and merging into traffic, it’s also important to teach teens how to drive safely. In a research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that six teens ages 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries. To protect your child against car crashes, there are certain things that he needs to know before he goes on the road. Here are 5 ways to teach your teen to drive safely.
It may be convenient to teach your child how to pull out of the driveway and just drive on his very first day of practice driving, but it’s better to let him start slow. With your teen riding shotgun, head to an empty parking lot, then switch places. Teach your child how to adjust his mirrors, start, stop, and turn. You should also remind him to place his hands at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock position on the wheel and to relax his arms while driving. Once he masters these skills, you can head out to a spacious area with fewer cars before moving on to streets with heavy traffic.
Allow your teen to master certain routes
One of the best ways to teach your teen to drive safely and confidently is to let him master certain routes. If he’s using the car to get to school and work, then let him master those routes. Having a built-in instinct while he’s behind the wheel lessens the risks of getting into serious accidents. You may also want to teach your teen to master an alternate route in case of an emergency.
Remind your child to stay focused
Staying focused means keeping his smartphone out of reach and not doing anything else while he’s behind the wheel. This means no texting, answering phone calls, or taking selfies while he’s driving. Remind your child to turn off his phone and keep it in the glove compartment for the duration of his trip.
Practice at different times and in all types of weather
To keep your teen safe, have him practice at different times and in all types of weather. Night time driving requires more focus and presence of mind than daytime driving, so allow your child to practice during the evening and even late at night during the weekends. If your teen’s skill has improved, let him practice driving in the rain and snow.
Teach your child what to do in case of scary driving situations
Oftentimes, first-time drivers panic when faced with scary driving situations, and this leads to accidents and car crashes. Remind your child to stay calm and have a plan of action in case he gets into any frightening situations while he’s on the road. For instance, if someone is tailgating him, the best thing to do is to pull over and let the other driver pass. During a yellow light, remind your teen to use his best judgment before taking a course of action. And if he ever feels like he’s being followed, tell your teen to head to a highly populated area, stop, and make a phone call to the police.
Children grow up fast, and while we can’t stop them from exploring the world, we can keep them safe while they’re on the road. Follow these tips to teach your teen to drive safely and instill good driving habits that he’ll use for years to come.
This post was derived from a longer piece co-written by the author of this post, Jackie Edwards. For the original post, click here.
About the Author:
Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in finance and banking, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she's not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.
Note: If your teen in Georgia wants to get their driver's license at the age of 16, they will need to complete the Joshua's law requirements of the 30 hour driver's education class and 6 hours of behind the wheel driving lessons with a certified driving school. For more information on driving lessons or teen driving packages with 1 ACT Driving Schools, click the links below.